What does a District Attorney do?

Learn all about District Attorney duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a District Attorney.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A district attorney is a lawyer who represents the state in criminal prosecutions.

District Attorney job duties include:

  • Reviews police reports and evidence to determine if there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and if so, what specific offense has been committed
  • Confers with victims and witnesses to determine the facts of each case
  • Charges defendants by filing criminal complaints or indictments
  • Represents the state or municipality in court during trials and other legal proceedings
  • Selects jurors and tries cases in court
  • Argues appeals of cases that have been tried in lower courts
  • Prepares legal documents such as search warrants, subpoenas, and motions
  • Meets with police officers and prosecutors to discuss active cases
  • Performs administrative duties such as training new prosecutors and keeping records

District Attorney Job Requirements

District attorneys are lawyers who represent the state or federal government in criminal and civil cases. In order to become a district attorney, one must first obtain a law degree from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam. Some district attorneys may also choose to obtain certification in a specific area of law, such as criminal law. Most district attorneys have several years of experience working as prosecutors or defense attorneys before being appointed or elected to their position.

District Attorney Skills

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Writing
  • Research
  • Public Speaking
  • Persuasion
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Time Management
  • Negotiation
  • Conflict Resolution

Related: Top District Attorney Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a District Attorney

The first step to becoming a district attorney is to complete an undergraduate degree. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field is typically required. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you will need to attend law school and earn a Juris Doctorate degree. After you have completed law school, you will need to pass the bar exam in order to be licensed to practice law. Once you are licensed, you can begin working as an attorney. Some district attorneys may choose to specialize in a specific area of law, such as child abuse cases or white collar crime. To become a district attorney, you will likely need several years of experience working as an attorney. Some district attorneys are elected to their position, while others are appointed.

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