Chloe’s Week At Matrix

I would first like to thank Matrix Chambers for such a warm and hospitable welcome and taking the time to talk with me, despite being busy, and answer any questions I have. I can truthfully say this has been such a memorable and insightful experience that has helped eliminate any doubts I may have previously had about entering the legal industry.

My work experience week first started by being greeted by James Lloyd-Jones who is the work experience coordinator at Matrix. He kindly welcomed me into reception and I was quickly greeted by Lindsay Clarke who is the HR manager at Matrix. Whilst in reception, I noticed the contemporary, sophisticated interior design of the room, reinforcing the modern nature and organisation of Matrix Chambers. Lindsay then took me up to a meeting room where she set out the week I had ahead of me and allowed me to ask any questions I may have had about the upcoming week. Lindsay had given me a tour of the offices where I was introduced to different members of the team who all support the barristers and enable them to complete their cases. I was completely shocked at all the fields of law that Matrix cover ranging from media law, employment law, public law, competition law and commercial law.

From then, she had made me aware of a trial that would be starting that morning in Inner London Crown Court and had organised for Nick to accompany me to the court. During this cab journey, Nick was particularly helpful in calming any worries I may have had about going to court for the first time and was incredibly kind in guiding me through the intense, airport-like security at the Crown Court.

After the thorough bag searches and scanners, I had went up the stairs to the public gallery where I would observe barrister Tim James-Matthews defend his client in an enthralling criminal case, that was widely spread through the news/social media just over one year ago. I had observed jury selection as well as witness questioning where Tim had expertly cross-examined and presented various CCTV footage detailing the events of the offence.

I had the privilege of being able to follow this case from its beginning for three days which had allowed me to immerse myself within the intricate details of the case and garner a set of questions that I was eager to ask Tim. During the lunch break, despite having the pressures of having to be in court in the following hour, Tim had kindly answered any questions that I had that included various topics such as: specific details of the case; his journey to the Bar; and any memorable cases that he had encountered when he had finished pupillage.

On the third day of visiting court, I had met my work experience partner, to whom I had summarised the crucial details of the case as we made our way together back to Inner London Crown Court. Following the case, we were able to compare notes and discuss our thoughts on what we predicted the outcome of the case may be.

On the fourth day of the work experience placement, I was inside Matrix Chambers where I had the honour of being able to talk with so many different departments who had detailed what their roles were and allowed us to ask any questions we may have had. We were first introduced to the practice desk who had outlined their responsibilities and their journey to working at Matrix, elucidating how there may be various ways that someone could work at a top chambers as opposed to the conventional routes of a law degree. We had then met Alice Brighouse who is the Projects and Equality and Inclusion Manager at Matrix who had explained the core values of Matrix and their ethos.

The commitment to inclusion and diversity was particularly impressive as Alice had set out the various ways in which Matrix wanted to provide opportunities for all people, particularly under-represented groups such as the LGBTQ+ community and people from ethnic minorities.

Following this, we had a rather unexpected part of our work experience week which involved going to a local café with two Matrix trainee barristers: Jack Boswell and Abiodun Olatokun, where we all had bought a slice of cake whilst we discussed the various facets of life as a trainee. They humorously detailed what they had experienced, whilst giving us advice about different paths that are available to us throughout our journey to the Bar. They had also mentioned the unique ability that Matrix offers where you are able to practice in variety of practice areas as opposed to specialising. Whilst the opportunity of specialising was still there, this was particularly helpful as I’m uncertain of the field of law that I’d like to specialise in, as I find myself to be interested in multiple practice areas, and that Matrix is one of the few chambers with such a diverse practice range.

After finishing our deserts I headed back to chambers where I had the privilege of speaking to various different teams about their roles and being assigned tasks to complete after each conversation.

I firstly spoke to the Fees and Finance team, who were incredibly supportive and welcoming and I had thoroughly enjoyed speaking to. Eric Ofori-Darko had kindly explained how barristers’ fees are calculated as well as the different types of legal funding available such as pro-bono work or CFA’s.

After this I was able to speak to Venetia Tate who was extremely kind and informative in depicting how Matrix markets and advertises its barristers and services to others. I had also asked her some questions as to how she would advise writing personal statements/CV’s, and how to ‘market’ yourself in the professional world given her experience in marketing.

I had also had the privilege of speaking to Rebecca Khan who explained to me how bundles work and how she helps barristers prepare for their cases. It was impressive to see the extent to which the barristers at Matrix had worked collaboratively with the various teams, and how barristers would simply be unable to complete their jobs without them.

Following this I had quite an array of tasks to complete which included a marketing task, a fees/finance task, an EDI task and  legal research task. My 4th and 5th days included completing these tasks and the required research, and subsequently emailing it to each department.

The final day involved finishing off the last couple tasks I had and then beginning my interview preparation and task for my Future Lawyers Scheme interview.

To finish, I would like to thank Matrix Chambers once again for the incredible opportunity and taking the time and effort to welcome me into the chambers in such a friendly manner. I highly recommend this experience to any students who are considering a career in law, or those who are thinking to apply to this work experience placement. It had exceeded all my expectations and was extremely insightful as to what a career as a barrister could look like.