My week at Matrix has been an incredibly interesting, fun experience which went far too quickly! Within 30 minutes of arriving at Matrix, we were on our way to Westminster Magistrates’ Court to meet Aaron Watkins, and watch his case about an extradition. Although the case had to be adjourned until June (due to the Brazilian government!), it provided a really useful insight into what interactions in court between barristers and the judge actually look like, and I realised how different the idea of a hearing in my head is to reality. For example, I thought that it would be extremely formal and that the language used would be very technical and hard to follow, however, the way Aaron presented his case was much more conversational, and had a lot of engagement directly with the judge.
On Tuesday and Thursday we also went to court – but this time, we accompanied Rhodri Thompson QC to the Court of Appeal, where he was doing a very different type of case – a very complex, but interesting, competition law case. Having never seen an appeal case before, I really liked seeing the differences between them and more typical court cases. Three parties were being represented by five QCs, the other four being Graham Read, Pushpinder Saini, Dinah Rose and Meredith Pickford, and this was an incredible opportunity to see so many fantastic lawyers in action together.
For the rest of the week we were based in the chambers, with Eric from the Fees and Finance team organising us by making sure that we had sat with and learnt about every team, and that we always had a related task to do. Everyone in the office was really friendly and the atmosphere was great to be in, because everyone seems to get on really well with each other and genuinely enjoy their job. It was also clear from speaking to every team that no two days are really the same, as Richard told us, one minute you could be taking bundles to court and the next going shopping for somebody! The tasks we were given were challenging and very varied research tasks, which showed how much diversity there is in terms of work in the legal sector, and demonstrated that many more jobs exist within it than just solicitors and barristers.
Going to a coffee shop with a trainee called Michael Etienne was a very fun and useful experience, because he told us all about how he came to be at Matrix – from going to university, studying the Bar course and all of the work he has done since – and shared his advice with us, as well as answering all of our questions.
On Friday afternoon I was given a mock interview for the role of an OA (Office Assistant). It was really fun and challenging, as it made me think very quickly on my feet, but both Tristan and Amy were really nice and provided some very useful feedback for the future.
Coming to Matrix, I knew it would be very interesting, but I thought we would be mainly just shadowing different people and going to court once or twice, but I was very pleasantly surprised to be treated like everyone else on the team and to be given so many different things to do including the three incredible trips to court, all of which were really useful and enjoyable, and also taught very important things you would need to know, and know how to do, if you worked anywhere within the legal sector. There wasn’t a single boring moment and I am really grateful to everyone at Matrix for this, as well as being sad that it’s over so soon!