AGO celebrates National Careers Week

During National Careers Week, we are celebrating the diverse roles and opportunities that can be found at the Attorney General's Office

Abigail Ryan, Parliamentary Clerk

Before I started at the AGO, I completed a War Studies and History BA at Kings College London, before undertaking a Law Conversion masters course and the Bar Practice Course following that. I started working at AGO just after finishing my Bar exams in May 2023.

There were a lot of transferable skills I took from my Bar course that help me in my current role, such as public speaking, being analytical, and producing concise and accessible written content. I also was a student advisor for the University of Law’s family law pro bono clinic, which helped improve my communication and interpersonal skills. This proved extremely useful as I work with a variety of people from a range of backgrounds and seniority in my day-to-day role at AGO.

At the AGO I am a Parliamentary clerk and have an important role co-ordinating all of the activities of the AGO and the Law Officers that require Parliament engagement. I co-ordinate activities to support the Law Officers’ appearance at Attorney General’s Oral Questions – monthly sessions where the Law Officers answer questions from MPs in the House of Commons. I watch and take readouts of Parliamentary debates, help co-ordinate briefings for Parliamentary Business and Legislation committee, lay papers and Written Ministerial Statements in Parliament, and provide parliamentary handling.

The AGO is a collegiate environment. The department is not so large and you can get to know the other teams well. Everyone supports you and your career development. It is a fast-paced environment but this allows you to be challenged and stretched and you will be right in the thick of it – working on a variety of things. Overall, I’ve found working in AGO fun and deeply rewarding and I would encourage people to join.

Raphael Gray, Lawyer – Domestic Law Team

I left university in 2014 having studied history.  I don’t think I had a strong sense as an undergraduate of what I wanted to be except I knew that I didn’t want to be a lawyer.  I talked myself out of that particular prejudice by reflecting on the things that I enjoyed most in my degree: structured thinking and persuasive writing,

I trained as a solicitor at a corporate firm before moving to the Government Legal Department shortly after qualifying.  My first role in government was working on transport issues before moving to the AGO.

I received a fantastic education as a trainee.  I learned a lot about the importance of presenting myself clearly whilst never losing sight of the small details.  But the corporate world just wasn’t for me.  I’m motivated by public service and am continually fascinated by politics and policy making.  Transport was a great introduction to government.  It’s a big, operational department and exposed me to all sorts of advisory, contentious and parliamentary work.

I joined the Domestic Law Team at the Attorney General’s Office a year ago.  I work on the public law side, which is small but has an incredibly diverse portfolio.  Departments approach us whenever they want formal advice from the Law Officers on a domestic legal issue.  We also advise the Law Officers on charity, inquest, family and even royal and ecclesiastical matters.  It’s exhilarating but also means that some days can be very intense. 

If you’re interested in law and politics then working for the Attorney General’s Office is a great thing to aim for.  It puts you right at the heart of government and lets you take part in some fascinating conversations.

Rachael Davies, Corporate Services Team Manager

Having graduated with a law degree from the University of Kent in 2015, I wanted to build a career in sectors that worked closely with the law. I was interested in public and regulatory law and began my career at The General Dental Council, where I worked as an Usher managing hearings. 

In 2016, I joined the Association for Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) as Hearings Officer, where I managed regulatory hearings and all associated listings. At the ACCA, I developed my knowledge of regulatory matters as well as expanding my skills set in project management and continuous improvement. I drove continuous improvement and led on an array of projects, from establishing new standard operating procedures to leading a cost saving project.

Having spent several years at the ACCA, I reflected that I wanted to be a driving force for change and that there was nothing I liked more than a challenge. I am someone who constantly likes to engage with new and dynamic ideas – I thrive off the freedom to innovate and make decisions.

In 2021, I began my role at the AGO as a Correspondence Officer, before becoming Corporate Services Team Manager in October 2022.

I have improved corporate processes around HR and recruitment, management information and stakeholder engagement. I have also led on the development of the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme application – driving forward digital innovation at the AGO.

My time at the AGO has significantly contributed to my professional and leadership skills. Being part of a close-knit, small department with so many massive responsibilities has given me the challenge that I need to develop.

And my career path has given me the confidence to be proud of what I have accomplished – anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it, and you don’t have one path you must follow.

For those of you who wish to move from the private sector to the Civil Service, and indeed, within a fast paced, small ministerial department such as the AGO, I have found that you are given the opportunities to develop and learn new skills and explore new avenues with less barriers.

So… my final thoughts… if you are willing to put in the work and can demonstrate a commitment to teamwork in a fast-paced environment, take the plunge and come join us!

Craig Jackson, Policy and Sponsorship Lead – Criminal Justice and Crown Prosecution Service

I recently marked my 11-year anniversary of working for the Civil Service which has, unpredictably, flown by. I left university with a politics degree and not much of a plan for what should come next, other than I knew I wanted to work in the public sector.

My first role was a VAT compliance officer in Edinburgh. After two years of this, and two further years doing corporation tax in London, I was very sure that a lifetime of maths was not for me. And so I was exceptionally pleased when I was accepted onto the Civil Service Fast Stream! Quite predictably my first posting was with HMRC.

However, it was on this programme that I first came to work in the criminal justice system. I have since spent six years working in similar roles and now work for the Attorney General’s Office as the lead on criminal justice policy and sponsorship of the Crown Prosecution Service.

As one of the smallest government departments, AGO is a truly fascinating place to work. As a small organisation with a wide-ranging portfolio, colleagues are constantly working on varied and interesting topics, often directly with Ministers and on issues that hit the front pages. While the work is by necessity fast-paced, the nature of the department means it is very close-knit and supportive.

Although it has become rather hackneyed to say, this is the first role in which I can honestly say that no two days are ever the same.

From: Attorney General's Office