I was unsure what I would be doing during the week that I arrived at matrix, but hoped for the best and it delivered.
My first day I was given some tasks to do, but it wasn’t simple mundane tasks that you would expect someone doing work experience to do, as it actually fell into helping with someone’s task. I enjoyed these tasks as they weren’t impossible to do, but required some time and I really felt that people were trusting me with responsibilities to perform well. I met with the legal support service, who discussed how they find and collate information that the barristers request and ensure that they have the number of copies that they require. Afterwards, they sent me off with tasks, although I didn’t manage to complete them all, to research some court cases and summarise what happened and whether I thought that the decision was the correct one. I really enjoyed this as it gave me some independence to decide my own opinion rather than just agree with what was decided.
Toward the end of the first day, I was handed some information on a case that I would be observing the next day, and on Tuesday I was taken down to the Royal Courts of Justice to witness the case that one of the barristers, Kirsten, was taking part in. For me the experience was great, as it offered an insight into the functions of the civil court and also how the cases are dealt with. After the court was finished, I got the opportunity to talk to Kirsten about the details of the case, which further helped me understand the proceeding s of court, but also how to approach such a case.
On Wednesday, I was taken down to witness a terrorism criminal case at the Old Bailey. Once inside the court, I heard the judge summarising the evidence provided by each set of barristers. Unfortunately, the case had been going on for a number of weeks so I missed the barristers providing the evidence determining if the person in question was guilty or not guilty, nevertheless, it was still intriguing listening along to the evidence and creating my own judgement on what had been presented, which was also being done by the jury. I actually saw the result of the case in the news on my way home on Friday. Once I had returned, I was introduced to the finance team, where Eric told me everything that they do, which involved collecting the entire time that the barristers had worked on a case and then calculating their fees for the case and sending all this information . For me, along with everything I had done during the week, it illustrated how supported the barristers were in almost all areas, so that they were well prepared to go to court.
Thursday, I went to witness a hearing where a Matrix barrister, Ayesha, was defending a client for immigration issues. This was a great opportunity as I was able to see how to argue a case that was very serious in the context of the case, and overall, it’s good to see what barristers have to do in court to persuade a judge that their point of view is right. Afterwards, I was able to speak to Ayesha, where I discussed how she was arguing the points presented to her and the roles of solicitors in informing the court for complaints. After returning, I was given tasks to search for extradition cases that matrix barristers would be taking part in on the diary system. I found this hugely enjoyable, as personally, I found it fascinating to see all the cases that came up and that the chambers’ barristers were taking part in, especially when it occurred that they were representing both parties.
For me, Friday was the best day. To begin, the barrister trainees, Emma and Natasha, and I went to get a coffee and simply talk about what its like to be a barrister and work. This was important for me because, at the time, I didn’t really know what I planned to do in the future at a time when people ask what I’m going to do, but after talking to them about university and A-levels and work, I feel I have a better understanding and thought on what I could do and how it will affect me. After heading back to the chambers and doing some more work on identifying extradition cases that the chambers’ barristers were involved in, I was tasked with a mock interview with the marketing team who had been looking after me all week. Before this, I had never had an interview in my life, and the advice I was given on how to improve was in depth and incredibly helpful.
It was a great experience for me, as I was able to talk to the barristers about the work that they do, but also meet the teams that assist the barristers with their work and perform similar tasks to the ones they have to. Everyone there was really friendly and inviting and took an interest in why I was there and what I usually do. The marketing team that were looking after me were constantly checking on me, asking if I wanted a drink or if I was alright. I would recommend you to do it if you have the opportunity.