What Are the Different Types of District Attorney Jobs?

Lori Kilchermann

There are several district attorney (DA) jobs that help the office to take on large workloads that are common to the position. The DA typically has one or more assistant district attorney (ADA) staff members who actually take cases to trial. To better aid the ADA in gathering information for trial, several district attorney office jobs are filled by paralegals, law students and clerks. While not certified lawyers, these district attorney staffers are able to research, gather information and speak with prospective witnesses about the issues of the trial. Occasionally, district attorney jobs will include counselors to work with traumatized witnesses and victims.

District attorneys represent the state's case in criminal trials.
District attorneys represent the state's case in criminal trials.

Many district attorney jobs are filled by individuals who do not posses a law degree or those who have not yet passed the bar exam in their area. Along with secretaries, clerks and other positions, the DA oversees a large staff to do the legal work of the people. While most district attorneys are elected in the United States, the other district attorney jobs are often appointed by the DA. Deputy district attorneys (DDAs), paralegals and law clerks are commonly hired by the DA to assist in the trial work of the office. The DA acts as a leader, or supervisor, in most matters of the office, while the ADA or DDA actually take the cases to court.

Many district attorney jobs are filled by individuals who do not posses a law degree.
Many district attorney jobs are filled by individuals who do not posses a law degree.

In most areas, the DA decides which cases will go to trial and which cases do not warrant the department's time and effort. The DA will meet with the ADAs and go over the facts of the case, providing guidance as to what should be done. Any plea bargaining or reduced charge offers made by the ADA typically come straight from the DA. Many small caliber cases that enter the caseload of the DA's office are handled by the district attorney office staff, such as recent law school graduates and legal clerks.

The district attorney jobs filled by workers who are responsible for the bulk of the research, case investigation and witness interviews are typically not bar-certified lawyers. The paralegal is a trained individual who is schooled in the proper method of research and case study, however, he is not a law student. This position is an often invaluable part of the office. Other district attorney jobs that do not require a law degree are secretaries, investigators and photographers. In many cases involving domestic abuse or sexual assault, the district attorney jobs that are filled with counselors and medical staff are used to offer expert testimony during a trial.

In most areas, the DA decides which cases will go to trial and which cases will not.
In most areas, the DA decides which cases will go to trial and which cases will not.

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