Krystal A. Crittendon was born and raised in the city of Detroit. She was educated in the Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1981. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Wayne State University and her juris doctor from the Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University) in 1994.

Prior to earning her law degree, Ms. Crittendon worked as a Caseworker for the State of Michigan’’s Department of Social Services, where she worked while attending law school at night. Upon completion of the bar examination, Ms. Crittendon was hired in 1994 by the City of Detroit Law Department as a staff attorney. From 1994 to 2005, she was a member and served on the executive board  of UAW 2211, the Public Attorneys Association.

She held several positions within the Law Department before being appointed Corporation Counsel by then-Interim Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. in January of 2009. Ms. Crittendon was then appointed Corporation Counsel by Mayor Dave Bing in May of 2009 and reappointed by Mayor Bing in January of 2010. Ms. Crittendon served as Corporation Counsel until January of 2013.