“Five days that confirmed my desire to become a barrister”

My name is Bethia and I completed my weeks work experience half way through my first year of A-levels. I was already set on a career in law and had an idea that I wanted to specialise in sports law but my week at matrix showed me exactly what it was going to take to be barrister and it confirmed to myself that it was the right path to me.

When I arrived on the Monday I was a tad nervous but soon felt welcomed by the very friendly reception staff. I met the other two young people on work experience with me for the week and was able to read some case law and complete some critical thinking tasks that challenged me in areas of the law I hadn’t come across in detail before.

I knew I would be shadowing Guy Vassall-Adams who has only recently been appointed silk and I got to read through a skeleton argument on media restriction in a criminal case. I was more than eager to get to court and see how the arguments were to be presented. I immediately found myself questioning arguments and considering my stance on the case. Being able to talk with guy and read through his skeleton beforehand was an opportunity I wouldn’t have on a normal court visit.

I was then back off to court the on the Wednesday, this time shadowing Tim Owen QC. The case was very compelling and it really divided your own opinion. I often found myself swinging from one side to another and questioning my own personal values. Tim was more than helpful and was even able to find the time to discuss the case with me afterwards which was another invaluable assumption. I began to consider whether I would eventually want to go on and become a judge as their characters really stood out in the courtroom whilst interrogating barristers and giving their opinions on submissions.

On Thursday we weren’t in court but we spent some time preparing for a mock interview Matrix had organised for us. We then did a few quick office tasks until lunch. After lunch we met up with two barristers; first trainee Eleanor Mitchell and then barrister Andrew Smith. This one on one time with the barristers was definitely the peak of the week for me as I was able to see a more personal side to them. Thy spoke about how they’d reached this stage of their careers and where they were looking to progress in the future. Andrew specialises in sports law so he was able to give me a lot of information in the field which was particularly useful for me. Both said to contact them via email if we had any questions in the future so my week at matrix on reflection has definitely provided me with priceless future contacts.

On my final day I went back to the Royal Courts of Justice. We met law student and clerk Josh who answered any questions we had and gave us tips on how to pick a good case to sit in on when visiting court. We got to witness a corporate dispute, a compensation case, a successful appeal based on faulty identification and a man who had missed his hearing and represented himself!

Overall, I must say I couldn’t be more grateful for Matrix offering me this placement. I have learnt so much from just watching and being in this fast paced legal environment. Meeting and talking with barristers and QCs has not only raised my aspirations but has provided me with some real role models who excel in their profession. I feel very lucky for this opportunity and if you get the opportunity I would wholly recommend you to take it.