Could you be one of the next generation of top prosecutors in the country?


The sky is the limit for those applying for this year's legal trainee scheme - that's the message from the top lawyer in the Crown Prosecution Service in the South East.

Chief Crown Prosecutor, Jaswant Narwal, is a former legal trainee and this year's scheme is now open for applications until Thursday 23 February.

Jaswant joined the CPS in 1989 and her previous roles have included Head of the Old Bailey Trials Unit and Deputy Head of the national Central Fraud Division.

For Jaswant, one of the attractions of working at the CPS is the variety of opportunities within the organisation. "Every role has different challenges, from being an advocate in the magistrates' or Crown Court, reviewing cases or working in the specialised divisions such as counter terrorism, proceeds of crime, fraud or the international teams. You can be dealing with local issues such as neighbourhood disputes which become criminal and anti-social behaviour then murder, organised crime or cybercrime.

"For those joining the CPS, the sky really is the limit. I'm proof of that, having started as a legal trainee and now having risen to become a Chief Crown Prosecutor, one of only a handful in the country."

She is also passionate about the other support the CPS offers staff. "The CPS is there from day one beginning with work inductions and placements during legal training. It's such a family friendly and a flexible organisation which meant that I could develop a career path, pursue my dreams and have a family. As a woman I wasn't forced to choose a career over personal goals."

Jaswant has some advice for those considering applying for the Legal Trainee Scheme. "Candidates need to show passion and commitment and an understanding of what the CPS does. They need to have good people skills, be flexible and be prepared to take on challenging casework. It's a competitive process, so ensure you detail any work experience and take the opportunity to watch how criminal law courts work, as they all have public areas to sit and see the proceedings. Finally, don't forget the basics of good grammar, spelling and using examples to back up what you say."

The Legal Trainee Scheme offers more than 30 positions to those interested in becoming qualified barristers or solicitors. Candidates must have a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree, but this does not have to be in law. For those with a degree in another subject other than law, they will also need to have completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Common Professional Examination (CPE). Candidates also need to have completed or be due to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) or Legal Practice Course (LPC) to enable them to start with the CPS in November.

For more information, visit the Crown Prosecution Service website.