Work experience at Matrix demonstrated what life within chambers truly entails. By the end of Monday, I had already met and learnt about the many teams that essentially keep the chambers functioning; the practice managers, finance team, office assistants and many more. My first task of the week was an activity I should expect to fulfil during the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course). This activity was greatly enjoyable as it challenged me while also providing an insight into the assignments I’ll be completing in years to come. Later in the day, I had the opportunity to attend the Employment Tribunal with Mark Greaves. This was an eye-opening experience for it demonstrated that Barrister’s do not simply attend court and that not every meeting is strictly formal. Here, I got to witness the different approaches different Barristers and Solicitors take when communicating with each other, as well as in front of the judge; something truly enlightening when you’ve always wondered what Barristers are like.
The following day was one filled with more department inductions, but was largely consumed by the court case I attended alongside QC Mark Summers. The case concerned extradition and couldn’t have been any more complex yet fascinating than it was. Observing the Barrister’s eloquent yet fierce approaches in court as well as the judge’s thorough engagement with the Barrister’s submissions was invaluable to witness. Before Matrix, I hadn’t known judges questioned and examined Barristers as thoroughly as they did in this case; illuminating the exciting nature of advocacy in court. This case also illustrated the, perhaps unexpected, immediacy of court whereby during the hearing the Barristers realised that a judgement performed by the Supreme Court in Ireland answered a legal question they’d been trying to answer that afternoon. To my surprise, the judges permitted their request to have a time extension to read it and add it to their submissions before the judges wrote their judgement!
Thursday was another exhilarating day. I was able to attend the Supreme Court alongside Raza Husain QC, Takis Tridimas and Nick Armstrong to witness them, in rapid speed and fantastic eloquence, argue against, astonishingly, a judgement made by the UK Supreme Court. In this sense, Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant) v Franco Vomero (Italy) (Respondent) was a very unique case as it was coming to the Supreme Court for a second time. What made observing a case in the Supreme Court so fantastic was the acute intelligence displayed by each Barrister when confronted with questions from one of the five esteemed judges whom appeared to be very divided on the debated issue – something very interesting to have witnessed. I was also fortunate enough to sit in the second row alongside the other barristers!
Friday brought my work experience at Matrix to a close. Friday consisted of finishing my assigned project from the Fees and Finance Team, followed by a mock interview, in which I ‘applied’ for a position at Matrix, and ended with a coffee with a Trainee Barrister. The mock interview was particularly useful as I was given a job description and a task to complete prior to the interview, enhancing my interview experience due to its realism. The coffee with Tim James-Matthews nicely ended the day as it was a very helpful and interesting chat regarding his time as a trainee and what Matrix looks for when recruiting prospective trainees.
My week with Matrix chambers has been a welcoming, educational and fun one! I am especially grateful to all the barristers, Team X and Comfort who took the time out of their working day for me. Work experience at Matrix has been invaluable in demonstrating the exciting, diverse and hardworking nature of chambers, challenging many pre-conceptions one may have through direct exposure to a variety of staff, barristers, courts, cases and tasks.