Angie Rowan, Senior Crown Prosecutor, Merseyside
When I joined the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 1986 as an A1 caseworker the possibility of becoming a prosecutor had not even occurred to me. I completed O Level and A Level law qualifications part time in order to develop understanding of my role. As my interest grew I enrolled and completed my part 1 Ilex course by correspondence which led onto completing my law degree at Liverpool John Moores University.
I was promoted to Designated Caseworker (DCW) in 1999, not aware that this would lead to actually becoming a lay prosecutor standing up in court and representing the CPS. However after presenting guilty pleas in the Magistrates Court I realised I could go all the way and qualify as a lawyer; something I had never thought I could or would achieve - even as a law graduate. I completed my Legal Practice Course (LPC), studying in the evenings, and graduated with a distinction in 2003. I completed my training contract with the CPS and began my new role as a CPS Crown Prosecutor in December 2004.
Working my way up through the CPS provided me with invaluable experience. As a DCW (now called Associate Prosecutors) I worked on cases ranging from Gangland style murders to multimillion pound drug cases - gaining understanding of all Crown Court procedures and building relationships with the judiciary and the bar. The knowledge and experience I gained during my time working as an admin grade within the organisation has greatly improved the level of service I can now provide as a lawyer.
The support and encouragement I have received from the organisation is astonishingThroughout my employment with the CPS the support and encouragement I have received from the organisation is astonishing. Without the financial assistance of the department I would not have had the chance to complete my legal qualifications. Over and above the monetary support, the encouragement to develop that I received is what has really driven me to progress, enabling me to realise my potential and carry out a role I never dreamed of prior to joining the CPS.
Working as a lawyer for the CPS I experience a wide range of cases and love the variety my role provides. I like the fact that when you are in court you never know what sort of cases you are going to get. This variety extends into the responsibilities of my role. I spend my time both in Youth Court (as a Youth Specialist I cover the majority of Youth Courts in Liverpool) and Adult courts dealing with remand cases and trials. I spend one day a week in custody suites dealing with pre charge advice and cover police stations of an evening (between 5:30 and 8:30) every 3 weeks. I also spend one week in three in the office preparing new files and trial cases and liaise with victims when charges are altered or dropped.
Beyond these day to day duties I was involved in the launch of the law scholarship scheme an initiative very close to my heart. This led to some amazing opportunities; including giving a speech to launch a new legal training initiative, in both the House of Commons and Downing Street a definite highlight, there are not many people who can say they have stood drinking champagne on the Prime Minister's balcony during their career!
In addition to such a challenging and varied role, being employed with the CPS has other advantages. The personal benefits provided are significant; the reassurance of a fantastic pension, flexible working, an excellent rate of pay, support in terms of sick absence and maternity provisions and 30 days annual leave all make the CPS a very attractive employer.
Finally I would have to reiterate that a career within the CPS provides opportunities to develop and progress with fantastic support every step of the way. I have been here for over 20 years and still enjoy the challenges I face and the role I perform.