Talha’s Work Experience Blog

As mentioned by Legal500, ‘They [Matrix Chambers] all provide a first-class service.’, something which I immediately noticed within my first day of work experience. Lindsay Clarke was really supportive with advising me on the tasks I would be doing, as well as showing me around the office, where I was able to gain an insight into the wide amount of practice areas which Matrix Chambers specialise in. Initially I was stationed in the fee team, where Eric was particularly helpful in informing me about the financial side of the firm, and how the cash flows are administered for barristers during their cases. He also introduced me to the differing forms of funding in the legal sector, such as legal aid, which is provided to citizens with extenuating circumstances, in order to ensure that they are also entitled to justice. Moreover, I also was able to communicate with Frankie Penton, who informed me about not only criminal law, but also the other branches of law such as media and public law, and how the often overlap due to the complex nature of law. This was an exciting and rewarding first day, allowing me to gain a personal experience of how a barristers chambers works, along with the different career paths available for barristers to enter.

To commence the second day, my understanding of the process of becoming a barrister was propelled as I was provided with information on the difference between solicitors and barristers, the academic qualifications required and perhaps most importantly, the variety of Inn’s of Court available for a barrister. This was significant in aiding my understanding of the requirements to become a barrister, something which I felt I was ill-informed of prior to the day. Moreover, I was also given the honour of speaking to Dan, who introduced me to the complex yet interesting tasks required when assisting barristers with crucial data and information. In the final session of the day, I spoke with Venetia, who introduced me to the marketing side of Matrix, and how they are able to improve the networking of the chambers with the wider public through the use of a variety of digital tools, such as their website and podcast.

Regarding the third day, initially I was provided with a skeleton argument to read over, which I found quite helpful and necessary as it informed me about the case which I would be attending later that day. I found this case particularly intriguing regarding survivor’s pension benefits, and how they are affected by the appellant’s relationship status, a link which I was unaware of prior to the issue. The case took part in the court of appeal (civil division), and was a rewarding endeavour as I witnessed the barristers put forward compelling arguments, which the judges then used to inform their decisions. One of the barristers was Professor Conor Gearty KC, who was able to effectively administer his views on different articles in the ECHR, allowing him to make several significant points. The specific articles were article 12 – the right to marry, article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life, and article 14 – the right not to be discriminated against. By focusing his reasoning on these articles, as well as making references to past cases such as the Baiai and O’Donoghue cases, Conor was able to utilise the law to formulate his argument, in a clear and coherent manner.  In addition with his role as a Barrister, I was also fascinated by Conor Gearty’s role as professor of human rights law at LSE, which led me to ask him questions around legal rights after the case, as well as questions about becoming a barrister. Witnessing this case was truly beneficial for me as a student, and highlighted the importance of debating and forming arguments which considered both sides of the same coin.

With the fourth day, I was able to speak to Idris, who introduced me to the facilities aspect of Matrix, and how Matrix has constantly developed itself from a technological aspect in order to tailor itself for the modern world. He also mentioned the impact of the pandemic upon chambers, and the importance of developing virtually in order to accommodate to the needs of different clients. This reminded me of how dynamic chambers must be in changing with the times, something which I will need to consider if I do pursue a career as a member of the legal sector. Moving on, with the help of Rebecca, I was able to delve deeper into the famous case of Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, and understand how and why the court decided to rule against Rebekah. The reason for this was due to Coleen’s claims of ‘leaked information’ being substantially true, which ties in with section two of the 2013 Defamation Act. By studying into the greater depths of defamation cases, I was able to gain an understanding of how these cases work, and the criteria which judges must consider upon making their judgement of whether the claimant’s appeal is valid or not. Perhaps the most exciting exercise of the day however was my interview for the future lawyers interview. Given that this was my first interview, this was a great way for me to gain experience of how interviews function, and Chris and Ross were really supportive throughout the process. I really appreciated doing this interview because it revealed to me how I can improve on developing my arguments in the future.

My final day was another captivating experience where I was again able to visit and witness a court case, this time at the Magistrates’ court in Westminster, regarding a human rights case with Mark Summers KC arguing for the defendant. It was particularly intriguing seeing the differences in Japanese and English common law, and how these differences must be addressed explicitly in any cases where there is an overlap of the two laws. Similar to the case on Wednesday, Mark Summers also put forward compelling arguments, utilising the different articles of the ECHR throughout his argument to highlight the deprivation of liberty. The key articles used were: Article 3 – police ill-treatment, article 5 – no bail and article 6 – no lawyers. Mark Summers provided all these articles with specific and clear evidence, allowing him to develop stronger arguments, and thereby showing me the importance of basing arguments upon not only evidence, but also the legislation itself. The state of Japan did assert that the case of Doyle v Ireland justified its wholesale indiscriminatory exclusion of lawyers, however Mark Summers was quick to dismiss this argument by demonstrating how this case was quite different from the current case. Being able to witness the cases of Professor Conor Gearty KC and Mark Summers KC has been such a fascinating experience, and has made me acknowledge the variety of ways a barrister can approach a case.

Having had the privilege of engaging in a week-placement at Matrix Chambers, I cannot recommend this opportunity enough for any student who is looking to consider a career in the legal sector. Everyone was so enthusiastic and helpful, and I cannot thank them enough for making me feel as a welcomed member of the team. Due to the vast amount of sectors which Matrix is involved in, I was able to gain a better understanding of all the branches of law, and how they differ yet sometimes intersect with one another. Due to this placement, I am excited now to start my law degree for next year, as I now understand how stimulating and subjective this subject can be. I am so grateful to have been a part of this opportunity, and again would like to thank Matrix Chambers for being so supportive throughout the week!