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The duties an assistant attorney has depends on where he works. In many jurisdictions, a person may have this title while working for a district attorney or attorney general's office. This type of attorney may work for a public defender’s office as well. Depending on where he works, an assistant attorney may argue cases in court, offer advice, create petitions, and carry out policies. An attorney with this title may provide legal representation for government agencies as well.
Assistant attorneys usually work for the government. Some work to see that criminals are prosecuted on behalf of the government and that defendants have legal representation even if they cannot afford to pay for it. Others work to ensure that public policies and procedures are carried out and represent the government in a variety of legal matters.
When an assistant attorney works for a district attorney’s office, his job typically involves the prosecution of crime. He may work to secure a guilty plea from a defendant or argue a case in court when a defendant pleads not-guilty. His job is to secure a conviction and appropriate punishment in the cases to which he is assigned.
A person may also work as an assistant attorney in the public defender’s office. His job typically involves defending accused criminals who do not have their own legal counsel. He works to help an accused party avoid conviction and secure fair sentencing if he is convicted. Often, this type of attorney also helps accused criminals negotiate lighter sentencing by pleading guilty or providing information prosecutors want about other crimes.
When an individual works as an assistant attorney in an attorney general’s office, his job often focuses on implementing the attorney general’s policies. He may also argue cases in court related to the attorney general’s policies and matters important to the public. A person in this position may advise government agencies and work to protect the interests of a government’s citizens. In most places, assistant attorney generals are expected to be knowledgeable about the law, not only as it applies to civil matters, but also to criminal and procedural matters.
No matter where an assistant attorney works, he will typically have to spend some time preparing petitions. He will usually have to be skilled at conducting legal research as well. A person needs a law degree to secure a position as an assistant attorney, and significant experience is typically required.