The chief crown prosecutor in the south east is encouraging graduates to follow in her footsteps as the CPS looks to recruit 30 legal trainees.
Jaswant Narwal started as a legal trainee herself in 1989 and rose to her current job after holding a senior post in the fraud division and heading the Old Bailey Trials Unit.
Her current brief includes responsibility for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) across Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
The CPS has almost 100 staff, including some part-timers, at its offices in Dyke Road, Brighton. They handle thousands of criminal cases every year and the Brighton offices house the South East Complex Casework Unit.
About 22,000 cases are brought before magistrates in Brighton, Crawley, Hastings, Horsham and Worthing. And about 2,200 cases are taken to the crown courts in Brighton, Hove, Lewes and Chichester.
In all, Jaswant Narwal is responsible for 258 staff in the south east – or 226 full-time equivalents. And she has 95 staff – or 85 full-time equivalents – in the Brighton offices.
She said: “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.
“The CPS is there from day one, beginning with work inductions and placements during legal training.
“It’s such a family-friendly and 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 CPS legal trainee scheme offers more than 30 positions to those interested in becoming qualified barristers or solicitors, with a starting salary of just over £23,000 outside London.
Candidates must have at least a 2:2 degree although it doesn’t have to be in law.
The trainees selected will take up their jobs in November. Applications have to be in by Thursday 23 February. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.