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Oliver’s week at Matrix

My week at Matrix has been extraordinarily diverse, with every day bringing something different. I arrived on the first day expecting to spend a week photocopying, but I quickly realised that my week was going to bring many new experiences. Everyone I talked to was incredibly welcoming, informative and helpful, and were willing to answer any questions I had about what they do. I would like to thank everyone that took time out of their day for me during this week, and in particular Tristan, who organised the week’s programme for me.

My week began with an induction, which comprised signing a confidentiality agreement and being shown around the office. I then followed Faiza on her morning rounds of the two Matrix buildings, before being assigned a desk for the rest of the week. The rest of the morning included small administrative tasks around the office, distributing mail and finding flights and accommodation to far-flung locations for two barristers on their work trips. That afternoon, I was introduced to the LSS team, who support the barristers on the legal side of things. I was given an overview of their work, before being set my own tasks – to research and summarise Supreme Court judgments, which I then discussed with Rebecca from LSS.

I spent most of the second day at the Old Bailey. Having researched that day’s cases in the morning, I made my way over to the courts, where I spent a few hours watching the fascinating trial of a top heart surgeon, who was being prosecuted for many different charges of sexual assault and harassment against some of his colleagues. I was fortunate enough to see one of the witnesses, the surgeon’s wife, give evidence in court. It was particularly interesting to compare the different styles of the two barristers, with the cross-examination asking challenging leading questions, whereas the defence sought to build up a credible picture of the witness. In the afternoon, I returned to Matrix, where I spoke with Eric from the Fees & Finance Team, who explained what he does to me. He also showed me some of the eye-watering sums some barristers can earn, which may have convinced me to pursue that career!

On Thursday, my third day (due to a Bank Holiday Monday), I met Aaron Watkins, a barrister at Matrix. He was appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in two extradition cases, which we discussed both before and after. We also talked about how he himself became barrister, and paths into the job. Aaron was exceptionally informative, and certainly clarified my ideas about what the job entails. I went back to Matrix that afternoon, where I met Amy from the Practice Team and Sara from the Marketing Team. This gave me an insight into how Matrix distinguishes itself from other chambers: it provides a modern chambers, a world away from the stuffy and archaic institutions that some chambers can be.

I spent the morning of my last day back at the Old Bailey, seeing the closing stages of the trial of the heart surgeon. I found the judge’s advice to the jury particularly interesting, as the judge had to instruct them on how to take into account all of the evidence that they had heard. The jury then went to deliberate on the verdict, which (at the time of writing) is yet to be announced. I grabbed a bite to eat and returned to Matrix. I was given the task of preparing for a mock interview for a position in the office, which Tristan then held. Having had hardly any interview practice beforehand, this was an extremely useful opportunity, and my interviewers gave me helpful feedback.

Overall, then, my week at Matrix has been rich with exciting new experiences, which have taught me a lot both about working in a professional environment and about how law chambers work. The week has truly inspired me to seriously consider a job in the legal profession, and I urge everyone even curious about law to think about coming to Matrix.