I have always been interested in a career in law, having spent many hours watching courtroom dramas and discussing court cases with family members who worked in the police force. I was particularly interested in understanding how society is governed by the law and the impact the law has. This is why when I found out about Matrix, I was incredibly eager to apply for the week of work experience. Once I discovered I had been accepted, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to start.
On Monday morning, I was kindly greeted by the receptionist, Carrie and she introduced me to the other work experience student, Catlin. After that, Eric from the Fees and Finance team took us to the offices upstairs where he introduced us to other members of the Fees team and gave us an induction to the company.
Then we were told that we would be going straight to court to watch a case and I was given the skeleton argument to read. It explained that the case we were going to see was an extradition case of a man from Turkey, who had been caught in possession of drugs when he was young and the Turkish government were trying to extradite him back. Once we got to Westminster Magistrates, I was very much looking forward to seeing what court would be like. The barrister from Matrix was Jessica Jones. It was really impressive to how she reacted to unexpected questions from the judge and how she presented her argument in an engaging and persuasive way. After the case was finished, Jessica took us out for lunch and we had the opportunity to ask questions about what it is like being a barrister and what steps she took to become a barrister. Jessica was really interesting and supportive, answering all the questions we had. Afterwards we went back to the office and Sabrina from the Fees and Finance team gave us a task to help us understand the funding available for legal services. My first day was really enjoyable and insightful, I knew from then it was going to be a wonderful work experience week.
On Tuesday, we were told that we were going to the High Courts to watch another extradition case. Anthony, an Outdoor and Office Assistance staff member, took us to the court and answered any questions we had. Once we got there, I was fascinated by the contrast of the two courts and how different they were, in terms of architecture and the manner in which the court cases were handled. When we were there, we realised that there was another extradition case before the one we were originally going to see. This was a really interesting case and it gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of extradition. Then we watched the two barristers from Matrix, Clare Montgomery QC and Jessica Jones, in court for another extradition case. The case was about an Indian man who committed fraud before entering Britain and was being extradited back to his home country. Experiencing this case first hand gave me a valuable insight into the roles of a barrister in court, as well as the role of the judge. Once everyone had spoken, the judge needed time to make her decision so we didn’t find out the results of the case. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, it was a fantastic opportunity to see a barrister at work and the role and impact they have.
On Wednesday we started the day by completing the fees task set earlier in the week. I really enjoyed completing this task as it broadened my knowledge of the funding available for the legal services. After this, we were introduced to Frank, who is Head of Facilities at Matrix, he explained his role and what he does daily. We were then set a task to plan options for flights and hotels for a business trip. It was interesting to see all the preparation that goes into planning these trips and the specific details that you have to be aware of. Once we had completed this, we met Rachel from the Legal Support Service. She introduced us to the other LSS staff and explained her role. I found this particularly intriguing as it showed how much preparation is needed for a barristers’ time at court to go smoothly. Rachel had just finished studying to be a barrister so it was really useful to hear her experiences and the route she had taken. She answered all of our questions and showed us the library, mentioning all the areas of law you can specialise in. We were then given a LSS task to complete. It involved researching the European Convention of Human Rights as well as summarising various cases and news articles. Wednesday taught me all about the staff’s roles and the work that goes in to making the chambers run effectively and smoothly.
On Thursday, we were told that we would be going to Westminster Magistrates Court to watch Mark Summers QC, a barrister from Matrix. The case was an extradition appeal that involved a Latvian, who was accused of breaching private information he encountered and consequently is being extradited back to Latvia. After, Mark took us back to Matrix, explaining the details of the case we just saw on the way and giving us a copy of the skeleton argument to read. It was really interesting to see what the background to the case was. Once we got back to the office, we finished the LSS task from earlier. Then we were introduced to Rachel Murray, the Marketing Manager at Matrix, who explained to us the importance of effective marketing in the business. She then gave us a task, which was to research venues for a morning seminar taking place in October. It was very interesting to see what the marketing staff’s job includes.
On Friday, we were told in the morning that we were going to Westminster Magistrates Court to watch a case involving Julian Assange. I was very much looking forward to this because I heard about this case before. We travelled to court with Ryan, the Finance Administrator at Matrix. Once we arrived outside, there were people protesting about the case, as well as journalists and camera men. This was particularly interesting because I had never seen anything like this before. We went to the court room and then realised how many people there were trying to see the case and we found out that we couldn’t actually get into the courtroom to watch it. Once we returned back to the office I had a mock interview with Sabrina and Ryan. This was really useful as it gave me the opportunity to learn about important interview skills whilst also receiving constructive criticism that will guide me in the future.
My time at Matrix has been truly inspirational, educational and insightful. I would like to thank everyone at Matrix for this incredible opportunity and for making me feel so welcome. This experience has definitely motivated me and reaffirmed my desire to become a barrister and I will never forget it.