District Attorney

Take legal action against criminals on behalf of your community.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$75,000 – $165,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do District Attorneys do?

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Law & Order,” you know exactly what the District Attorney does, because the show’s opening credits tell you: When Police Officers arrest people, District Attorneys take them to court.

As a District Attorney, you don’t just prosecute criminals, however. You serve as the “Lawyer in Chief” for your community, which means your job is defending and representing the public. An appointed or elected public official — depending on where you live — you’re responsible for punishing state crimes committed against the citizens in your jurisdiction, including theft, assault, and murder. You do not prosecute federal crimes; U.S. Attorneys do that.

To prosecute criminals in your community, you first gather and analyze evidence to determine whether or not there are grounds. Whether or not you take a case to trial is entirely up to you. If you think the evidence is weak, or if you have reason to believe you’ll lose, you may decide not to prosecute the case, since doing so could waste the court’s time and money.

When you do pursue the case, you’re like any other Litigator — just more important: You review trial options, gather testimony, organize evidence, present cases to Judges and juries, select jurors, argue motions, and question witnesses, all with one goal in mind: winning your case.

Should I be a District Attorney?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Criminal District Attorney, Federal District Clerk

    How to become a District Attorney

    Most District Attorneys have a Doctorate or a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaf9&chl=||||master%27s+%288%25%29|doctorate+%2892%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,92
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