In this interview, Kate Bolton 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 North
Why did you choose to apply to the Legal Trainee Scheme (LTS)?
I chose to apply to the LTS because I have always had an interest in criminal law and want to make a difference in society.
Being a Crown Prosecutor affects individuals in everyday life, including victims, families, and the public as a whole. I feel proud to work for an organisation that assists individuals in difficult times of their lives to ensure that their experience with the legal justice system is as smooth and unobtrusive as possible.
I was also in contact with a few individuals on LinkedIn who worked at the CPS who assured me that it was an excellent place to work with interesting law areas and the potential to have a rewarding career. Overall, my primary reason was my interest and background in criminal law and the opportunity to make a real difference to real people in society.
What was the application process like?
The application process was thorough but fair. The initial stage involved updating and uploading my CV, ensuring it reflected my past experience.
I found the second stage the hardest as the video interview involved thinking on my feet and ensuring that I came across as passionate and genuine in a short amount of time. I enjoyed the final interview as this involved researching a legal issue and presenting on this topic. I was then asked questions by the panel, who were friendly and ensured I was challenged as to my point of view to give the best answers possible.
Overall, I found the process incredibly rewarding. It reassured me that I wanted to work for the CPS as the panel and individuals I came into contact with were all approachable and inspiring.
How did you prepare for each element of the application cycle?
For the first stage, I ensured that my CV was as up to date as possible and particularly drew attention to how each part of my experience applied to the Crown Prosecutor role.
Secondly, I did a lot of background research about the CPS, its values, and how I suited those values for the video interview. I made sure that I was honest in my answers so that I came across as genuinely passionate in applying to the CPS and wanting to make a difference.
We were given a legal topic to research for the final stage, so I made sure I did extensive legal research. Additionally, there had been a legal change the day before my interview, so I ensured that my research was up to date and relevant by checking the news. I prepared for the personal questions about my background and interest in the CPS by researching the organisation and noting down how my experience applied to the role and what would make me a good Crown Prosecutor.
Overall, I ensured that I was well-prepared and showed my genuine passion throughout the process.
What are your favourite aspects thus far? Would you recommend LTS, and if so, why?
I would absolutely recommend LTS as every day is varied and exciting. I enjoy the variety of assigned tasks, from reviewing CCTV and body-worn footage to meeting families and going to court to observe trials.
My favourite aspect so far is the human element to the role – you are constantly in contact with victims, their families, barristers and so forth. I enjoy communicating with all parties to increase confidence in the CPS and the justice system.
I would recommend the Legal Trainee Scheme to anyone with a real passion for criminal law and who wants to make a difference to people’s lives. Everyone I have met has been so friendly and I have already been provided with many opportunities to advance my knowledge. I have also been trusted to review cases and use my own judgement to assess whether a case should be prosecuted, and this has been thoroughly rewarding.
What myth about prosecuting as an employee of the Crown Prosecution Service would you like to dispel?
I would like to dispel the perception that the criminal justice system is in complete disarray, and I would like to restore the public’s hope about Crown Prosecutors in delivering justice.
Everyone that I have met is completely dedicated to their cases, and they are extremely thorough. They ensure that each case is decided fairly and that each charge is considered carefully before proceeding. The thought and hard work that goes into deciding each case should not be dismissed, and I would like the public to have more faith in the work that prosecutors do.
What tips would you give to future trainees?
The main tip that I would give to future trainees is to take every opportunity that comes your way. Although I have only been here for three months, I have been given so many opportunities to work on various cases.
I would also say that the CPS Legal Trainee Scheme is unique in that you are given flexibility on how you structure your training period. I have used this to my advantage by spending over six months in the homicide team as I am interested in specialising in homicide in the future. Others are using their period of recognised training to spend time doing two external secondments in a completely different law area.
I would say don’t waste time and fully immerse yourself in the CPS as everyone has an interesting case to share and useful knowledge to impart!