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‘An insightful and enjoyable experience’ – Emma’s week at Matrix

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone at Matrix who have made this such an insightful and enjoyable experience. It has been amazing to be exposed to so many aspects of law here, from seeing the perspective of both the support staff and the barristers. I started this week slightly uncertain about pursuing a career in law, but have ended it highly interested in exploring this further.

I arrived a day late on Tuesday and was immediately welcomed into the office with an induction. I was then introduced to the team we would be sitting with and given an outline of the fascinating extradition case we would be seeing later. Having received this brief summary of what to expect, we walked to the Royal Courts of Justice to see Mark Summers QC argue eloquently against an extradition. He then took the time to walk us back to chambers and explain some of the finer details of the complicated and interesting case. After helping out with some admin in the office, we returned later in the afternoon to see the judge’s verdict. We also got the chance to see another hearing on a surprisingly emotive case of unpaid loans, which dispelled my misconceptions that financial law would be unexciting and impersonal.

On the Wednesday and Thursday, we went back to the Royal Courts of Justice to experience another incredibly interesting case, this time regarding the right to have gender-neutral ‘X’ on a passport, with Sarah Hannett. We had been given the skeleton arguments of both sides beforehand and this enabled us to engage with the arguments, as we could better understand them. After, Sarah was kind enough to clarify some of the key terms used and explain the complex and specific aspects of such a unique case. Following the end of the hearing on Thursday, Matrix trainee Emma, took us out for coffee in the sun and told us more about becoming a barrister, as well as helpfully and encouragingly answering all of the questions we had developed over the week.

On our final day, we got to learn about more of the behind the scenes aspects in the Chambers. We completed a task finding travel arrangements for one of the barrister’s international trips and also spoke to a member of both a practice team and the fees and finance team. It was great to learn more about these areas and the essential nature of their contribution. Finally, we had a mock interview which involved planning a day and other problem solving tasks, which developed my thinking skills and has enabled me to feel more comfortable about future interactions of this kind.

I am so grateful for this unique opportunity, which so surpassed my expectations about what work experience and a career in law could be like.