My week at Matrix Chambers has been absolutely inspirational, as I have been allowed to gain a direct experience which has provided an insight into what life really is like being a barrister. As a student wanting to study law at university, this has massively given me further incentive to pursue the career with more passion, as the chamber provided us a chance to actually witness some astonishing cases, which has therefore allowed me to identify which particular role would suit me best when pursuing the career. Furthermore, with the first-hand experience of travelling to court and witnessing cases unfold, I have gained greater knowledge as to how court hearings actually function and the intensity and tempo maintained throughout along with the patience needed especially from the barristers.
On the first day of arriving at chambers, the receptionists were very welcoming and referred me to one of the members of staff, Anthony, who was going to look after us during our time at the firm. Within five minutes, Anthony had introduced us to everyone in the chamber and they seemed very welcoming and polite, which made me and my work experience partner feel really comfortable. As we were acquired seats in the office, we were immediately provided skeletons of a case which directly threw us into the action of a civil law case which really interested me. I was given an hour to get a brief understanding of what the case was going to be about, the arguments provided, and then we were sent to court within the first two hours of being at the firm. We left the building with the Outdoor and Office Assistant Richard, who set forth into London with us, navigating the streets of London with a purpose-built trolley that quickly became laden with barristers’ papers as we travelled between offices. During the Journey, Richard was really interested in getting to know us and asked us certain questions as to why we wanted to study law and what aspect of law we wanted to study. With me and my colleague answering his questions, back and forth, we had then arrived at the Royal court of justice, which completely took me off guard as this was the first I had actually attended a court hearing let alone a court itself. When arriving back from court, we entered the office and was again was supplied with another case in which we would be witnessing the next day.
The following day, we were fortunate enough to attend the High Courts of Justice, which I personally found beneficial as the firm had provided us two experiences of shadowing a barrister in court. The case was about a breach of human rights as a group of immigrants believed that they were mistreated during their time at which they worked at a company which caught chickens and distributed eggs nationally. When observing the barristers in court, it was clear that none of these barristers were strangers to tackling such a high profile case; they delivered their factums with fluent references to previous cases and they revolved around balancing articles from the European Convention on Human Rights which was highly engaging. During the hearing, one of the claimants, were brought to the stand in which he was cross examined by both sides of the barristers.
Wednesday began with us remaining at the office all day, and in doing so, we were familiarised to the many aspects of the Chambers such as fees and finance, the practise team tests and the LSS task. Each of these teams thoroughly explained the construction of their work; this interested us both as barristers appear to be completely autonomous in their approach to court cases however this was not the reality. Every induction we went through seemed to be very interesting and it was clearly evident that working at Matrix Chambers would never seems to be dull as all the teams are full of such passion and energy for their jobs. When carrying out the LSS task, we were given the opportunity to express our opinions, research stories on the news which really interested us and chose laws which we would change. The overall day at the office provided us lots of information about how the chambers was actually run and how each team works.
Thursday was another exhilarating day. I was able to attend the Old Bailey where I was provided the chance to view a case on attempted fraud. Me and my work experience partner were viewing the second day of the trial, and were able to witness a full cross examination of the defendant. Both the prosecution and defence presented compelling arguments during our time at the Old Bailey, however, the prosecutions approach towards the jury was very diverse to the defences approach. The prosecution team bombarded the jury with information, but most of the time, were very laid back, building accusation upon accusation against the defendant. The defence, heavily contrasted this approach with a more direct and passionate final argument towards the jury, which I believe shifted the verdict in the case, as the cross examination from the defences behalf, earlier on in the day, really seemed to be weak, and with such compelling evidence against the defendant, his fate seemed to be sealed. However, due to how long the final arguments took, the judge postponed the verdict for the next day.
Friday brought my work experience at Matrix to a close. The day consisted of me completing mini tasks within the office, followed by a mock interview, in which I ‘applied’ for a position at Matrix, and ended with a coffee with Trainee Barristers. 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. Rachel and Steve made the interview really comfortable for me, by asking a range of questions which tested my strategic ability and knowledge on the company. Once the interview had come to an end, Rachel and Steve gave me a quick brief on how I did, presenting me with some constructive criticism which I can now take fourth with me into further interviews and some positive feedback. The coffee with the Trainee Barristers Tim and Julie proved to be very beneficial as it allowed me to ask certain questions which would help me with the process of becoming a barrister.
Overall my week at Matrix Chambers has proven to be an experience I will never forget. I am immensely thankful for the experience I have received while being here and glad to have witnessed how exceptionally well the staff work and to have the opportunity to work and meet alongside talented barristers which was unforgettable and I would highly recommend this experience for anyone deciding to become a barrister.