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Ben talks about his work experience week

Since the age of 9, I have always been interested in law as a whole, with a father from the police force it was a common occurrence to discuss current cases and affairs. This was only heightened by the hours I spent watching courtroom dramas alongside visiting courtrooms. As I developed physically and mentally I discovered a newfound interest in the reality of the legal side of the justice system. When I discovered Matrix I was overjoyed; this was seemingly the perfect work experience I could find. Upon my acceptance, I became ecstatic and have been looking forward to it ever since.

On Monday, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t filled with nerves as I entered a foreign workplace, surrounded by all these incredibly intelligent individuals. However, these nerves were quickly settled as I met the receptionist, Carrie and was introduced to the wonderfully vibrant workplace Matrix is. I was introduced to the other work experience student, Alex. After our initial induction, we were whisked away to the Royal Courts of Justice (by Richard) to witness the final day of Nick Armstrong’s case (on behalf of a claimant) against barristers from both the police and G4S. We witnessed the witness statements of 3 medical experts along with the closings of all 3 barristers. Despite the extreme amounts of medical/ forensic terminology, it was an interesting and informative experience as I managed to gain an understanding of advocacy and in particular what I found to be compelling from the barristers. I was able to gain an insight into the fascinating world of law, one in which I instantly felt at home.

On Tuesday we were once again able to visit court, albeit this was a totally different experience at an Employment Tribunal. We were brought to this case by Anthony Mofunanya, an OA who was eager to impart upon us some of his evident expertise in the legal sector. Personally, I found this case to be of particular interest as Matrix’s Barrister, James Laddie QC was representing His Highness Skeikh Khalid Ben Saqr Ar Quasimi. In this instance, he was the respondent, facing an unrepresented claimant in Tracy Robinson. Despite a brief encounter, I found this to be interesting as we witnessed somewhat of a David vs Goliath situation unfold. Walking back to the Chambers with James Laddie QC was extremely informative as we were able to ask countless questions all answered with great pleasure. Later in the day, we received an induction to the financial side of the offices as Eric provided us with an enjoyable and engaging experience of the Fees and Finance team. After completing various tasks helping to widen our legal understanding we made our way home.

Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, we experienced the entirety of a case at the RCJ in which Sarah Hannett (the Matrix Barrister) alongside Sir James Eadie QC (from Blackstone) defending the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In this case, the claimants were the parents of Special Educational Needs (SEN) children claiming more funding. This was rather difficult to watch as my moral compass felt inclined to side with the claimants; however, a brilliantly compelling side of the argument led by Sir James Eadie made me heavily question my initial thoughts, as did the debate that ensued.

On Friday morning I entered the offices for the last time; although my time was coming to a close I was still delighted with the experiences I had; ones that would last a lifetime. We were inducted to the LSS (legal support service) team- a unique concept to Matrix- and were told of the important work that they carried out. Following this, we were set a task in which we researched some recent cases along with changes in the law, providing us with yet more knowledge of the legal world. We then were taken for some mock interviews in which we were instructed how to compose ourselves and discovered that had it been a real interview, we would’ve easily exceeded expectations! However, there is always room to improve and the feedback provided to us by Sabrina and Zuwaina would only further our ability to thrive in an interview. Before leaving, we were introduced to the Trainees here at Matrix, who we had cake & coffee with. This was extremely important as we were able to ask useful questions and discover more steps on the path to becoming a Barrister, as well as experience a light-hearted end to the week.

As my time at Matrix came to a conclusion on Friday I couldn’t help but be thankful to all those around me who had provided me with excellent and insightful experience in the world of law. Not only was my experience here an informative one but also an enjoyable one as I was left in awe of the barristers I was surrounded with. I would like to thank everyone at Matrix for their welcoming and friendly attitude towards me; this has really inspired me, as well as further enhancing my motivation to become a barrister and be amongst this friendly, innovative environment in years to come.