Bea’s Week at Matrix

Before I begin, thank you so much to Matrix for giving me this opportunity – it was truly an unforgettable week. The atmosphere in the building was light and friendly and everyone was so kind and happy to answer any questions I had. Thank you to all of the staff members who took time out of their busy week to talk to us and answer all of our questions. Special thanks to Venetia Tate who organised our week perfectly and was so helpful throughout our time at Matrix.

On my first day of work experience I arrived and was warmly greeted by the wonderful receptionists Christine and Melanie. I then met my work experience partner Maria and it was really nice to be able to share this week with her as she understood all the nerves and excitement I was feeling. We were then greeted by Lindsay Clarke who took us to a meeting room and gave us an introduction to Matrix, introduced us to each practice team and showed us around the areas that we would be working in. We then went and chatted to Callum in Team T who was so nice and he explained to us what each practice team does and told us about his journey to the job. He was very friendly and took the time to answer all of our questions about the different areas of law and what his job consists of.

After this, we were given a skeleton argument about the case we would be seeing in court the following day. We read through the document together and carefully highlighted and annotated any important information. This was really interesting as it allowed us to see what a legal document is like and we were able to begin to understand the case we would be watching. Then, after lunch, we spoke to Ross in the Legal Support Services team who told us more about his job, before giving us a research task about the recent defamation case. I found this particularly interesting as it was so great to learn more about the legal aspects of a case that was widely broadcasted  all over social media. We then chatted to Venetia Tate who works in marketing and she told us all about how they are able to increase the outreach of barristers to get them more legal work.

On the second day, we arrived and Venetia immediately gave us a news article to write about a current high profile criminal case which was really compelling and exciting to research. It was also pancake day so some of the staff had brought pancakes and toppings in for everyone which was really nice and it was great to be part of a relaxed and fun environment. Afterwards, we walked to the Royal Court of Justice to observe  Hugh Southey KC in a very complicated case in the Court of Appeals. It was absolutely fascinating to see this take place and there were lots of interactions between the judges and the barristers which was really interesting to watch and not at all what I was expecting to see. The case wasn’t the easiest to understand, but luckily at the end we got to speak to Jack, one of the trainees and he was very helpful and answered all our questions on the way back to Matrix, including telling us about his journey into law and training to become a barrister.

On our third day at Matrix we started with another marketing task. We made posters to be put up on the topic of wellbeing. I chose to make one on International Women’s day and I found researching this day and how Matrix is inclusive and forward-thinking on the topic of gender equality extremely interesting. After, we began to read the skeleton for the case we would be observing in court the next day. Then, we were taken out by Abiodun, a trainee at Matrix, for cake at a nearby cafe. This was one of the highlights of my week as we not only got to eat delicious slices of cake, but we also got to speak to him for over an hour and he was very friendly and answered all our questions. We talked about his journey into law, the different routes into law and how school and university prepares you for working life. He also explained more to us about the different sectors of law, particularly public law, which I found especially interesting as it was an area I didn’t know much about, but he was very helpful and had a real passion for it which was very good to hear.

When we returned back to Matrix, we were given a Fees induction with Carla who was very kind and explained to us how the Fees team is run and told us about the different types of financing, such as Conditional Fee Agreements and Legal Aid. This was highly interesting as I had no idea how complicated payments and fees were in the legal world. After this induction, I then went and did a mock interview task with Venetia and Becky, an LSS team member. I was given a job description and a task to prepare for half an hour before they came into the meeting room and gave me an interview. Next, I received feedback on how I had done, which was very important and will definitely help me in future job interviews. Once I had finished my interview, I went back to my desk to complete the Fees task we had been set by Carla about the different types of funding available for people.

On the penultimate day, we arrived and read through the skeleton documents for the case we would be following that day. We were then greeted by Jack, one of the trainees, who walked with us to court. On the way we met Zoe Leventhal KC who was leading the case. She was so kind and took the time to explain the case to us despite being very busy. The case ended up being highly entertaining as there were some complications that meant it eventually got adjourned at the end of the day until the afternoon tomorrow. Even though not much of the actual case was discussed, both me and Maria were really interested in everything that was happening and the judge especially was very good to watch as he closely analysed what the barristers were saying. Additionally, I really enjoyed seeing more about how a court works.

Once we came back from court, we were taken on a tour of the building by Idris (who works in Facilities). It was really interesting to see how big the main building is because we had only seen one floor before today. He also showed us more of Gray’s Inn and we went to see the building where all of the barristers have their offices which was great and the entire place was very old but still beautiful. Idris also explained to us how he wants to try and make Matrix more environmentally friendly by recycling more waste, including food waste, and working towards having sustainable stationery.

On my fifth and final day at Matrix, I arrived and we were given a task on becoming a barrister, which was highly interesting as I was not aware of some of the thing you have to do before being able to officially practice as a barrister. We then spoke to Alice – the Projects, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager – who told us about what her job involves and the wider actions of Matrix and the Bar. It was very good to hear to hear about all of the actions that Matrix takes to ensure everyone has equal access to the legal profession and that there is no discrimination in the workplace. We were taken on a wonderful tour of the Inns by Richard, one of the Outdoor and Office Assistants at Matrix. I found this really fascinating as we got told about the history of Gray’s Inn as well as the surrounding area. We also discovered more about the history of Matrix itself, such as the fact that it used to be a police station which, in my opinion, is very cool.

The last thing we did during our time at Matrix was go to court with Jack to observe Zoe Leventhal KC again. We sadly didn’t hear much of the actual case as it was mainly planning dates and submissions for the case adjourned yesterday, however it was still very interesting to hear how hearings are scheduled and planned.

To finish, I’d like to reiterate my thanks to the team at Matrix, I had a wonderful and interesting week and I learnt so much that will help me in the future as I pursue a career in the law. Everyone was so friendly and they all took the time out of their busy week to say hi and answer any questions I had, which truly shows how Matrix combats the traditional stereotypes associated with barrister’s chambers.