In this interview, Jadesola Sodipo answers some questions about what made her become a CPS legal trainee. She also shares some information about the process of applying, her motivations for wanting to join the service, as well as tips that we hope will make this application round a successful one for you.
Area: London South
Why did you choose to apply to the Legal Trainee Scheme (LTS)?
I chose to apply to the LTS as I was working as a paralegal for a month before I applied and liked the CPS atmosphere. I liked the way we dealt with victims and witnesses, and how our advocates, both internal and external, fought for justice for their cases. I also liked the diversity within the CPS instead of the self-employed bar and felt I could be more comfortable.
What was the application process like?
The application process for me applying in 2019 was a four-stage process:
- Civil service situational judgement test (testing your judgement in workplace scenarios and rating the outcomes best/worst).
- Verbal reasoning test (reading non-law related texts and answering the question with the only answers being ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘cannot answer’).
- A video interview (answering three questions one by one that pops up on the screen; you get five minutes thinking time and two minutes speaking time, and you cannot re-record your answers).
- Final interview with a 30-minute written assessment, five-minute oral presentation, and a 30-minute panel interview (your written/oral assessment will be based on a legal topic you are asked to research about a week beforehand).
How did you prepare for each element of the application cycle?
I prepared for each element of the cycle by taking practice verbal reasoning / situational judgement tests beforehand. I also researched the CPS and what sort of values they were after, what sort of experiences some of their employees had and understanding why I wanted to be a Crown Prosecutor. I researched and studied the civil service behaviours they included in the advert and ensured I had relevant working examples and could demonstrate key skills. I then researched the research topic for the final assessment thoroughly and researched the CPS Full Code principles.
What are your favourite aspects thus far? Would you recommend LTS, and if so, why?
No two days are the same. Some days, I could be dealing with serious violent offences, sexual offences, offences against children. The next day I could be dealing with simple low-level offences such as drink/drug driving, shop thefts and public order offences. I like the people I work with; they make the job easier!
I would recommend the job because if you like criminal law and advocacy, then this is the best place to learn and develop whilst on your feet. You are in court three to five days a week from 10am to 4pm or later and are dealing with cases with different facts, different outcomes ranging from very serious to minor offences. You learn a lot about yourself and every day you succeed in a difficult court makes you a better advocate and better person, and you learn a lot from the people you work with.
What myth about prosecuting as an employee of the Crown Prosecution Service would you like to dispel?
The myth I would like to dispel as an employee of the CPS – just because we are prosecutors doesn’t mean we want to put people into jail! We present cases in a fair, honest, and unbiased way regardless of the offender or offence. If there isn’t enough evidence, then we will not continue with a case; if an offence is in the lowest category of the sentencing guidelines, then we won’t find something to make it sound more severe or place it in a higher category.
What tips would you give to future trainees?
My tips for future trainees are to make sure you know why you’re applying with the CPS and do your research about what we are about and what our aims and ethos are. Be prepared for how intense being in court can sometimes be, but do not be afraid to ask questions along the way as your training period is vital.