My week at Matrix has been thoroughly enjoyable and informative. Having just applied to study law at university, I was already sure that I wanted to pursue a career in law, and this week has confirmed and strengthened that ambition.
I was nervous before I started, but once I arrived I realised I had nothing to worry about. Lindsay Clarke greeted us in reception and gave us an introductory talk so we knew what to expect for the rest of the week. We then met all of the staff in the office, who were very welcoming, and were given a tour of the building. We spent the rest of the first day doing various tasks set for us around the office and talking to some of the staff about their roles. Everyone was really helpful and willing to ask any questions we had about their work or the chambers as a whole.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we were in the Royal Courts of Justice watching Helen Mountfield QC and Raj Desai in a case about whether the benefit cap should be applied to lone parents with children under 2 years old. There were a lot of barristers in the court and it was interesting to see how they worked together with the solicitors to make sure they always had an answer to any questions posed by the judges. Although I did not understand everything that was talked about, I was able to follow the gist of what the barristers were saying and I found it fascinating to watch how they spoke with confidence and presented their arguments to the judges.
Thursday was the highlight of my week as we went to the Supreme Court to watch Helen Mountfield QC, Anita Davies and Zoe Leventhal in a case about whether the criminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of rape, incest or serious foetal abnormality should be allowed. I am very interested in human rights and discrimination law so I was excited to see the case, and it did not disappoint! Before the hearing, we had the opportunity to speak to Helen about the case and she was eager to answer any questions we had for her. During the hearing, the barristers from Matrix were captivating and easy to listen to, making concise yet complex arguments. I was also interested by how the judges interacted with the case, and it was inspiring to watch Lady Hale, the first female president of the Supreme Court, preside over the court.
On our last day we spent the morning in the Royal Courts of Justice watching Andrew Bodnar in an appeal against a restraint order. Andrew helpfully explained the case so far to us and made sure we understood it all. The case was very different from the ones we had watched previously, but just as interesting. We also got to see the judgement being made at the end. In the afternoon we were given a mock interview and feedback which will be helpful for any interviews I have in the future.
Overall, doing work experience at Matrix was an invaluable opportunity to get an insight into the legal world and experience what it is like to be in court and chambers. I would like to thank all the staff and barristers who have been so friendly and encouraging and made my week at Matrix one I will remember. If you are curious about the law or already set on a career in it, I recommend doing work experience Matrix as it was a brilliant experience.