Silvia’s unforgettable week at Matrix

For someone that is constantly questioned on the reasons behind why I would like to pursue a legal career, I can undoubtedly state that my week at Matrix has been incredibly beneficial in dismissing all doubts and answering all questions regarding the lives of barristers and their support teams, whilst solidifying and motivating me on the correct pathway to becoming a barrister in the future. Law has always appealed to me greatly as I am always trying to advance my knowledge through numerous taster days and other opportunities, yet Matrix has been the best source so far in terms of experiencing the busy lives of those teams supporting barristers to the intensity and emotions felt in courts, and I feel as if I have had an genuine first-hand experience as to what being a barrister consists of and what is required of me to be successful in the legal field.

I was warmly greeted on the first day by a team of incredibly approachable and friendly staff, with the community at Matrix being so close-knitted and welcoming, and after an unbelievably short induction I was whisked away to a local tribunal court in which I got to witness Chris Buttler defending an individual in an immigration asylum dispute, turning incredibly interesting when he undertook a complex but heated cross examination of witnesses. The intensity of the cross examination did bring to my attention the amount of preparation needed to be successful in court, and to see a lawyer who genuinely enjoyed their job in practice gave me a realistic portrayal of the confidence and determination needed to win a case.

My second day consisted of me going to the UK Supreme Court, which was one of the most valuable and unquestionably fascinating parts of my week. I travelled to parliament square with two of Matrix’s Office Assistants, receiving a report on the case in the morning to familiarise myself with it, who explained what their duties were and the necessity of their roles to barristers due to their responsibilities of transporting documentation to court. In the Supreme Court, I witnessed Karon Monaghan QC and Tom Linden QC debating a discrimination case in terms of employment, just as intense as the first day in which I saw more involvement of the Lords with the lawyers, asking analytical questions and proving again the amount of knowledge and preparation needed to even present a side in court, and within the hours of opening statements, it emphasised the passion and willpower all Matrix lawyers have.

On the third day, I went to a High Court in which Gavin Millar QC was presenting his case, again with numerous lawyers and reporters present since the case was one which received much public attention. Being part of such an important and well known trial really increased the buzz around the legal proceeding, and therefore Matrix did provide me with an amazing day! I came back to the office, and then met Rachel, who works in marketing and showcased her responsibilities in the firm such as coordinating events, and then I was able to participate in my own marketing task to get a feel of what working in the office is really like. Then I met Shams, who is part of the Legal Support Service, and I obtained a much broader view into the work and preparation done behind a case, realising how important their role is to a barrister as they assist in finding resources and cases the barrister may urgently require. I was allowed to view Matrix’s library, in which there was shelves on shelves of books and reports. I then proceeded to undertake a Legal Support task in which I had to find my own case and write a brief report on it, whilst also reading the European Convention on Human Rights and being allowed to display my own opinions on which law I think is the most important, and what law I would change, learning how to support my own judgements.

Overall, my week at Matrix has been nothing but eventful, from going to incredible courts and trials to working in the office in such a friendly yet professional environment. From meeting Zuwaina, the receptionist, in the morning, to sitting with Amy and Lindsay in the office, the Matrix staff have been so approachable and welcoming, giving me this opportunity and answering all my questions that many law firms would not provide me with, since I would’ve been expected to spend my week photocopying and working in admin, yet Matrix has provided me with an unforgettable week in which I truly got to experience not only what a barrister and their support teams have to undergo to be the best at their jobs, but also the intensity of a courtroom and the professional working environment, and would definitely recommend anyone to undertake work experience here to receive a genuine first-hand experience in the legal sector!