In this interview, Laura Atherton 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: North West
Why did you choose to apply to the Legal Trainee Scheme (LTS)?
I applied because I wanted to help people, whether vulnerable children or victims of serious crime. After seeing a prosecutor chief a vulnerable child so expertly and sensitively, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
What was the application process like?
The application process was intensive but straightforward. The difficulty level of each stage progressed the further you got, but at every stage, I felt supported. There was a really helpful Q&A session where I was able to ask whatever questions I wanted before the final interview, and I found that useful as I was able to elevate concerns that I had. The interviewers in my final interview were very kind and genuinely wanted me to do well, and I felt very comfortable.
How did you prepare for each element of the application cycle?
For the multiple-choice questions, I did the practice questions provided, which helped my understanding. For the first interview, I ensured that I had a copy of my up-to-date CV to plan answers to questions with the relevant experience quickly.
For the final interview, I did several research hours and collated it into a single word document for ease of use. I also did mock interviews with my university, which helped me understand how properly tailor my answers to give the information I needed to provide for the question asked.
Most importantly – I always made sure I took a few moments to relax and breathe! Preparing for something so important can be very stressful, so to ensure I could give my best all the time, I made sure my brain had time to rest and process what I had already done. It helped me make sense of things!
What are your favourite aspects thus far? Would you recommend the LTS, and if so, why?
I have enjoyed attending court remotely and watching trials – that has been my favourite thing so far!
I would recommend the Legal Trainee Scheme – not only is it incredibly interesting work, but you are also very well supported. I have an amazing supervisor and line manager who have supported me every step of the way and have always answered my questions, and if they couldn’t, they referred me on to someone who could.
What myth about prosecuting as an employee of the Crown Prosecution Service would you like to dispel?
I am unsure of any myths, but one thing that I learned which I did not expect is how much learning and support available – I knew there would be some, but I did not realise that the CPS had such detailed learning resources (Prosecution College) as well as how much support I’m getting not only off my supervisor and line manager but by the North West Team.
What tips would you give to future trainees?
Never be afraid to ask questions – everyone has them. Your questions are not silly or stupid. To do your job well, you need to make sure you know what you are doing, and if asking questions is how you enable yourself to do that, then do it. When I have asked questions, people have always been happy to answer, and I learnt from it!