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Jaswant's top five tips for applying to the LTS

  1. Aim for and maintain high standards throughout and following the application process - as this will be expected by the CPS
  2. Ensure you properly explain why you want the legal trainee role
  3. Be true to yourself and let your passion and willingness to learn show
  4. Demonstrate a wider strategic understanding of the criminal justice system
  5. Use strong examples to support your statements

Legal Trainee Scheme 2017

Q&A with Jaswant Kaur Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS South East and former legal trainee

Jaswant Kaur Narwal

Jaswant Kaur Narwal has been with the CPS since 1989, holding a number of varied and important posts including Head of the Old Bailey Trials Unit, Deputy Head of the national Central Fraud Division, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Lincolnshire and Chief Crown Prosecutor for Sussex. As well as Chief Crown Prosecutor for the South East, she is currently the national lead on youth justice.

As a previous legal trainee, Miss Narwal is passionate about encouraging budding lawyers from all walks of life to consider a career with the CPS.

Here she offers an inside look at her illustrious career to date and advice on applying for the Legal Trainee Scheme (LTS).

 

 

Q. You've been with the CPS for almost 28 years - what has kept you here?

The CPS is one of the country's largest law firms so I am able to be involved in varied and diverse criminal work. The satisfaction I get from being able to deliver justice and make a real difference to the lives of victims and witnesses is immense.

Q: What achievements are you most proud of?

Qualifying as a barrister and working my way up to become a Chief Crown Prosecutor is something I'm very proud of. Also handling some of the most serious casework including so called honour based violence and hate crime; leading a team of lawyers responsible for prosecuting all homicide offences across London; testing new legislation as crime trends change, such as forced marriage, stalking and harassment on social media; and ensuring nobody is above the law such as when I prosecuted police corruption cases.

Q: As someone who has progressed to lofty heights at the CPS, what inside knowledge can you share about the career opportunities that are available?

I don't think people realise how many opportunities there are within the CPS. Every role in the CPS 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. The CPS really does allow you to shape your career and be successful in your own field.

Q: Remembering back to when you were a new law graduate, why did you want to complete your legal training with the CPS?

The support the CPS offered, and still offers, is incredible - beginning with the 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. The variety of the work and the fact that the CPS is a national organisation means opportunities are also available geographically. The entire CPS offering made for an appealing proposition and choosing to complete my legal training here is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Q: What do you consider to be the qualities a candidate needs to successfully apply for the LTS?

The CPS is looking for potential in new legal trainees so showing passion and commitment is vital. Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of what the CPS does and how it fits into the criminal justice landscape. They should be prepared to be flexible, take on challenging casework and have good people skills.

Q: What advice do you have for any prospective legal trainee candidates on the recruitment process or types of activities that can help in securing a pupillage or training contract?

It’s a competitive process as the standards for working in the public service are equal to those in private practice. I would advise candidates to go back to basics with the application in terms of good grammar, spelling, accuracy and using relevant examples to support any assertions. Address the questions concisely and be up to date with the politics of criminal justice. Detailing any work experience is valuable in this process as is watching how criminal law works in practice. The courts all have public areas so sit, watch the proceedings and learn.