This week at Matrix has given me the opportunity to learn on the job from a range of professionals offering different, but crucial services to the overall mechanism of chambers. As my placement was delayed due to COVID-19, I am now a first-year law student and found this experience extremely enlightening.
Upon arriving at Matrix, I was offered an introductory tour of the office by Lindsay in which I met several members of staff and became accustomed to my new surroundings for the week. Kindly supervised by the Fees and Finance team, Eric walked us through the different funding types available for different cases. We researched the types of legal aid available, conditional fee agreements and other funding types available in criminal law. We also completed a project in legal aid, allowing us to gain an in-depth understanding of its development. The LSS team set us a case study on defamation, after engaging in a highly informative discussion regarding the route to becoming a barrister. They provided us with invaluable guidance, which I for one will consider in the future.
On Tuesday, we seized the opportunity to shadow barristers Edward Craven and Emma Foubister during their hearing at the Administrative Court of the Royal Court of Justice. Witnessing them in action working on a high-profile public law case was incredibly interesting. I gained valuable insight into the everyday lives of barristers, plying them with questions which they kindly took the time to answer. I was able to sit in on their subsequent meeting with the solicitor working on their case. Witnessing firsthand the dynamic between barrister and solicitor, the way in which they worked together both in and outside of court provided a key example of what to expect in the future of my career.
Despite the train strikes, the next day proved highly informative. A representative of Team M explained the process by which solicitors contact them to find suitable barristers for certain cases. As I had no previous knowledge as to how this system worked, or indeed how barristers were approached with cases in the first place, I found this very enlightening. We discovered the duties attributed to the outdoor clerks, which provide an invaluable practical service to each barrister. This facilitated a discussion on the progression of the court system slowly becoming digitized as a result of COVID-19. Alice then presented an introduction to diversity and equality management at Matrix. I was impressed with the work they do to ensure an ethos of diversity at the company and welcomed discussion on plans to achieve more in the future.
Thursday consisted of a day exploring the inns of court, and watching an appeal adjudicated by the Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division. This case offered intense debate on relevant points of law which I had covered during first-year – I could therefore follow and understand the arguments made and found it exceptionally interesting. This experience provided me with valuable advocacy tips and knowledge of what to both expect in a career at the bar, and what to aspire to.
Friday consisted of an interview for the Future Lawyers scheme. I found this process incredibly helpful in preparing me for what to expect during future interviews for mini pupillages. The questions asked and the task set helped strengthen my public speaking and advocacy skills, with confidence gained in these as a result. I spent the remainder of the day reflecting on my experience, writing this blog.
Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Matrix. My confidence has grown massively regarding pursuing a career at the bar. I now feel like I know both what to expect, and what to do in order to obtain this. I will take the experience and knowledge I have gained moving forward in my degree and career.