My week at Matrix began on Monday morning in blistering summer London heat. I was inducted into the chambers, meeting everyone, learning about the different jobs in finance, marketing, office assistance, practice teams and more. Learning how many different people it takes to run a successful chambers such as Matrix was eye-opening and really gave me an insight into how the Law is practiced outside of the courtroom. One of the best things about the week is that we were always busy, always moving, which meant we were always engaged and excited no matter what we were doing.
On Tuesday we were taken to the International Dispute Resolution Centre with Gavin Millar QC, who was arguing for the claimant, Mr Gerard Coyne, who believed he had unlawfully lost the election to be General Secretary of Unite the Union to Mr Len McCluskey. Gaining an insight into how cross-examination really works was incredibly interesting, as all I previously had to base my opinions off were TV shows such as Suits! Gavin was extremely welcoming and informative, and seeing someone clearly so skilled and knowledgeable about the law in action was fantastic.
We went to court again on Wednesday, this time to the RCJ (Royal Courts of Justice) with Sarah Hannett, arguing on behalf of a deaf man who believed that the government cap on disabled workplace funding was inappropriate and discriminatory. Interestingly, the barrister on the other side of the case was also a Matrix barrister, Zoё Leventhal. Despite the outcome of the case being in the balance, as a side effect of the case being brought to court the cap had already been raised from £42,100 to £57,200, which had a real difference to the lives of vast numbers of disabled people across the UK. It was fantastic to see how, even before judgement on a case had been passed, a big difference can be made to the lives of many thanks to Sarah’s brilliant work.
Thursday was our last day at court, this time with two Matrix barristers, Aidan O’Neill, a QC in both England and Scotland, and Chris Buttler. Representing the claimant, Aidan argued the case with passion and eloquence, arguing that his client, the claimant, should be able to import a painting of hers into Switzerland, and therefore outside of EU regulations, in order to sell it for vast sums of money. The case involved an overlap between Italian, British, and EU Law, and it was fascinating to see the ways in which these different legal systems interact.
Our final day was spent back at Chambers. In the morning we were able to go and have a drink and a chat with the Matrix trainees, Emma and Natasha. Both were extremely friendly and welcoming as well as informing us about their respective paths to where they are now. What followed was a mock-interview, in which we ‘applied’ for a position at Matrix. Our interview told us what we’d done well as well as what we could add to our interviews to be even better in the future.
I would like to thank all of the staff and barristers at Matrix, especially Eric and the fees team as I cannot imagine a place where I could have been more engaged throughout. From minute one I was made to feel welcome and valued, and I have gained a true insight into how the Law works in Britain which I am sure will help me throughout my later life. I cannot imagine a better, more useful work experience placement.