“A fascinating insight” – Imogen’s week at Matrix

Thank you so much to everyone at Matrix for being so welcoming! This week has been a fascinating insight into how Matrix works, both with barristers at court and the behind the scenes work in the office. I started the week with a vague idea of liking logic involved in law, but have concluded seriously considering a career as a barrister.

In the office, the other work experience student, Anais, and I were introduced to the different teams within the office, who were all incredibly friendly and helpful in answering all our questions. Fees and finance, who we sat with throughout the week and were very patient and warm, introduced us to how payment for barristers works. We also received inductions from marketing and admin, who set us tasks that developed our determination and ability to search for the most appropriate and cost-effective services. Speaking to the reception staff, OAs, and practice teams was also really helpful in understanding how hard everyone at Matrix works to keep it running efficiently.

Our introduction to the Legal Services Support team was our first contact with legal thinking, where we learnt about how they research for cases and keep a blog summarising and updating new cases. We summarised and evaluated a Supreme Court case, analysed an article from the European Convention of Human Rights, and argued a law we would change. I looked at how far debate surrounding no-platforming motions and social media censorship conflicts with Article 10 in the ECHR. Relating the law to stories in the news everyday makes it more accessible and has given me a different perspective on current affairs. Polly’s reading of our work was also really insightful into what makes effective, concise legal writing.

We came the week after Easter, so there were fewer court cases on or barristers around, however we were lucky enough to watch cases in a tribunal, one of which involved Ayesha, a Matrix barrister. The cases were applications for hearings that were accepted or rejected by the judge about deportation of individuals. Watching multiple cases was an insight into different barristers’ speaking strategies and how the judge analysed and weighed up points to decide whether the applicant proved their case arguable. Because I didn’t understand some of the points of law discussed in the cases, talking to Ayesha after she got her application accepted was really helpful in understanding the legal grounds on which she based her case. This was my favourite part of the week as I had the chance to be in close proximity to court cases.

The mock interview on Friday developed my interview skills, such as thinking on the spot and confidence, and I enjoyed the interview task of planning an OA’s day by prioritising and problem solving. The feedback was also helpful in how I would improve in future interviews and what interviewers are looking for. Then we talked to Natasha, a trainee barrister, who explained her path to a traineeship and gave very encouraging advice on pupillages, experience, and university, which I found really helpful.

Realising that Matrix stays up to date with modern life has been really encouraging in dispelling the prevalent myths that chambers are out of touch with reality. I have found this week insightful in preparing for and deciding about the future, so thank you very much again for this opportunity.