Richard Payne & Co , Solicitor, Criminal Defence, Housing, Mental Health and Immigration Law, Cardiff
Career Change Story
I am a Senior Crown Prosecutor Advocate with higher rights in the Crown Court.
I moved from private practice to the CPS in 2003 after being informed that there were upcoming positions in the Merthyr Tydfil office. I applied for a position as a Crown prosecutor and had to undergo a lengthy interview chaired by a panel of senior lawyers.
The main motivation for my move was due to the fact that I wanted to specialise in Criminal Law rather than continue to be a jack of all trades in private practice. The starting salary in the CPS was considerably more than I would earn in my high street firm and the prospects were better. The CPS also offered an attractive pension scheme that was not available in my firm.
Career Change Reflections
I enjoy my job but it has its good and bad days. If public speaking is not for you or you prefer non contentious work, then the CPS is definitely not the right job. If you find the prospect of being publicly berated by an irate judge daunting, even though you've only had possession of the offending case for a morning, then the CPS is not for you. The CPS is ideal if you want to practice Criminal Law, on the side of the Crown, and enjoy a huge and diverse caseload which is often in the public domain.
The CPS is an organisation that utilises a large amount of administrative staff who carry out routine paperwork on behalf of the lawyers. This considerably reduces the amount of "paperpushing" required and leaves me with a far more adversarial working life.