When many people think of a lawyer that specializes in criminal cases they think of the courtroom. Even though there can be a lot of exciting days within a court room, this is not all an attorney does. The law is a complex system, and it requires a lot of knowledge and research. Because of this there is a lot for an attorney to do when they are not in the courtroom. With the amount of preparation required, a criminal lawyer may find himself or herself taking files and other work home to work on throughout the night. There are many times where there will seem to be not enough hours in the day to complete all of the work that needs done.
Law school study of criminal law falls into three categories: substantive, procedural, and constitutional. Substantively, you will be involved in determining what actually a crime is; procedurally, in the details of prosecution; constitutionally, in the protections set up for the defendant because the state or federal government is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The glamorous side of the law! Homicides; Miranda rights; Law & Order, O.J., Kato, and Lance. In fact, Criminal Law is so glamorous that it's actually two classes: Substantive Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. In some schools, the two are taught as separate courses, but in others, they are combined (too bad, you still only get credit for one class). Think of the separation this way: Substantive Criminal Law, which is generally referred to simply as Criminal Law, is whether what you did was a crime (and if so, what crime); Criminal Procedure is, generally, what the government can do to prove it. Or think of it this way while you watch NYPD Blue: Substantive Criminal Law dictates what evidence the police need to find, while Criminal Procedure lets you tick off which constitutional rights Detective Andy Sipowicz has violated on the way there.