Article

What does an Assistant District Attorney do?

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

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

An Assistant District Attorney is a lawyer who represents the state in criminal prosecutions.

Assistant 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 charges to file
  • Meets with victims and witnesses to discuss their cases
  • Prepares cases for trial by selecting jurors, interviewing witnesses, and working with expert witnesses
  • Represents the state or county in court during trials, hearings, and other legal proceedings
  • Negotiates plea bargains with defense attorneys
  • Prepares sentencing recommendations for judges
  • Supervises and trains junior prosecutors
  • Lobbies for changes in laws at the local, state, or federal level
  • Community outreach to educate the public about the criminal justice system

Assistant District Attorney Job Requirements

The job requirements for an Assistant District Attorney vary by state, but most states require that candidates have a law degree from an accredited law school and be licensed to practice law in that state. Many states also require that candidates have experience working as a prosecutor in the criminal justice system. Some states have certification programs for prosecutors that candidates can complete to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in this area.

Assistant District Attorney Skills

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Public Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Organizational Skills
  • Multitasking
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasion

Related: Top Assistant District Attorney Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Assistant District Attorney

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to become an Assistant District Attorney, as the specific requirements vary from state to state. However, there are some general steps that all prospective Assistant District Attorneys should take in order to increase their chances of being hired.

First and foremost, it is important to obtain a law degree from an accredited law school. Many states require that Assistant District Attorneys have at least a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, although some may allow candidates with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree to apply as well. In addition to completing a rigorous law school curriculum, it is also beneficial to participate in extracurricular activities that demonstrate one’s interest and commitment to public service, such as working on a political campaign or volunteering for a local nonprofit organization.

After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, the next step is to gain relevant work experience. Many Assistant District Attorney positions require at least two years of experience working as a prosecutor in a district attorney’s office; however, some states may allow candidates with less experience to apply for entry-level positions. In addition to prosecutorial experience, many employers also value candidates who have worked in other areas of the legal field, such as public defenders’ offices or private law firms.

Once you have obtained the necessary education and work experience, the next step is to prepare for the hiring process. This typically involves completing an online application and submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, and writing samples. In some cases, candidates may also be required to participate in an interview.

If you are interested in becoming an Assistant District Attorney, taking these steps will increase your chances of being hired for the position. While the specific requirements may vary from state to state, obtaining a law degree and gaining relevant work experience are essential for all prospective Assistant District Attorneys.

Related: Assistant District Attorney Resume Example

Related: Assistant District Attorney Interview Questions (With Example Answers)