A lawyer and attorney are synonyms for each other. I have no idea what the previous poster is rattling about. I am a paralegal and I can tell you that the two terms are used interchangeably.
A paralegal is defined as a person, either through education or experience, that performs substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. The term paralegal and legal assistant are used interchangeably as well; however, as the field moves forward, the term legal assistant is reserved for those that are truly just an assistant and perform very little to no legal work. This isn't always the case as there are plenty of legal assistants out there with 30+ years of experience that prefer the term legal assistant. From my experience, paralegal is the term used for those that possess a college degree in the paralegal field.
Criminals don't often have much money, so you can figure that in criminal practice, you will do a lot of appointment work at the fixed rates paid by the county. Of course, you may be a prosecutor, working for the district or county. Criminal law is a specialty, just as any other field of practice. If you are attracted to trying cases, you get a whole lot more court time in criminal law. But keep in mind that there are a lot of different kinds of "criminal" practice. Many attorneys working in criminal appeals on the government side may never set foot in a courtroom. I guess the biggest "con" in defense is that nearly every one you represent is guilty, but the issues can be interesting, and there is a real need for criminal attorneys who really know what they're doing.