Before I describe my time at Matrix, I would like to thank them so much for the indelible opportunity I have been provided with. Special thanks to every single person that took the time out of their undeniably busy schedules to speak to me about Matrix, the types of work that they do, and answer any questions that I had. A huge thanks to Venetia Tate, who took the time out of her week to look after both myself and my work placement partner Bea.
On my first day at Matrix, I was undoubtedly nervous as I did not know what to expect. It may sound quite cliché, but all of my worries immediately disappeared as I entered, to the faces of the smiling and welcoming receptionists Melanie and Christine. After meeting my work placement partner for the week, we met Lindsay Clarke, who is the HR Manager at Matrix, taking us up to meet Venetia Tate, the Marketing Executive here at Matrix who would be looking after us for the week. Lindsay briefly explained that we would be visiting court a few times this week, and needless to say, we were quite excited.
First, we had a quick tour of the office and its different areas, before speaking to Callum Gordon, a member of Practice Team T, who specialise in crime, international arbitration, investigations, and public international law. Callum was incredibly kind and spoke to us about his job, as well as school and life after school, answering any questions that we had not only about law, but life in general with regards to studies and education. One thing I noticed is that the office is highly collaborative and community-like, rejecting the stereotype that law is a lonely and isolating field.
We then were given a skeleton argument for the case that we would be hearing in court the next day and read over this. It contained a lot of information, giving me an insight into the type of reading that would be required in a career in the legal field.
After lunch, we spoke to Ross Ludlow, who works in the Legal Support Service. He explained the role that he plays in ensuring that barristers are fully equipped with the bundles that they need to take to court, including any research on previous cases that they wish to include in their arguments. Ross tasked us with legal research on a case that Matrix was involved in. This gave me an insight into legal research, becoming familiar with the use of resources such as Westlaw, and I found it highly informative.
After completing the task, Venetia gave us an introduction to the marketing team, speaking to us about what she does and how she got to that point. It was interesting to hear her journey into her job, and I found her words of advice about how to marketise yourself to employers and perfecting a personal statement to be incredibly useful.
We started the day by researching and making notes on a high profile robbery case, which I found to be truly interesting, providing me with knowledge of the UK’s current policies surrounding extradition and how this differs across the globe.
We later visited the Royal Court of Justice (specifically the Court of Appeal), where we heard the case that we had read a skeleton argument for the previous day. This case lasted for the rest of the day. It was highly insightful and, to me, demonstrated the importance of clarity in law, as this provides for many different interpretations of a point that would otherwise have been relatively simplistic. We met Hugh Southey KC who was representing the respondent in this case, and he delivered an extremely persuasive response to the case. Additionally, we met trainee Jack Boswell, who was really helpful in answering questions about the case and about practicing law in general, and junior barrister Laura, who assisted Hugh Southey KC in the legal research and delivery of the case. This confirmed my decision to study law, but also reassured me that there are various pathways into law that do not follow the conventional route.
My next day at Matrix commenced with a marketing task given to us by Venetia. We were tasked with creating a poster for the firm on the topic of wellbeing, relating to mental and/or physical health.
We then began reading a skeleton argument for a case that we would be hearing in court the next day, before going to a café with Abiodun Olukotun, each enjoying a slice of cake as we discussed studying law at university, sectors of the law which he finds fascinating, and school, just to name a few of the numerous topics we spoke about. I found this experience entirely useful, as not only was it beneficial to speak to somebody who studied law and is now a trainee, but it also gave me an insight into another sector of the law which I might like to pursue further, as well as providing me with general valuable advice.
After lunch, we read more of the skeleton argument to understand the key details of the case that we would be hearing, before having an introduction to the Fees and Finance team by Carla, giving us an insight into the various types of funding that barristers can receive, and how this affects the chambers as a whole.
Once I had finished this induction, I was given time to prepare for my Future Lawyers interview, which I found highly useful in improving my confidence and interview skills. I found the actual process of preparing quite interesting, and this in turn helped me feel slightly more confident during the interview process. It also allowed me to think critically, developing my own arguments without contradicting myself.
After my interview, I returned to complete the fees and finance task that Carla had set us, which summarised what she had taught us and allowed us to do further individual research.
My penultimate day at Matrix involved going to court again, and so we started the morning off by reading through the skeleton argument once more in order to ensure we had fully grasped the key details of the case.
The rest of the day was spent at court with Jack and Zoë Leventhal KC, who was lovely and kindly spoke to us about the case and the argument she would be delivering.
We heard part of the case as it was eventually adjourned. The judge mentioned that the reputation of a barrister is ‘hard to earn and easily lost’, which was compelling given the context of which the statement was made, and honestly made the role of barristers and their achievements seem even more respectable to me.
Walking back to Matrix, we took time to appreciate the scenery and the buildings, of which Jack explained the history behind.
We were then taken on a tour of both Matrix and some of Gray’s Inn by Idris Mohamed, who is the Facilities Coordinator at Matrix. Walking around, we were able to see many of the barrister’s offices, which had quite an archaic feel to them, in contrast to the modern feel of the offices at Matrix. Once again, we saw the beautiful old-fashioned buildings, some of which contain the barrister’s offices, and could envision the beauty of the area during the summer.
As I found my experience at Matrix quickly coming to an end, I started the morning with a task on how to become a barrister, summarising the key processes involved in becoming a barrister.
We next spoke to Alice Brighouse, who is the Projects and Equality and Inclusion manager at Matrix. She spoke to us about Matrix’s core values, and the way in which it seeks to promote diversity and inclusion, before setting us an EDI task in which we made our own campaigns on promoting inclusion for LGBT+ History Month, not simply adopting a tokenish approach, but considering long-term initiatives that would be beneficial.
Before lunch, Richard Bathard took us on an extensive tour of Gray’s Inn, explaining the history behind some of the most significant parts of the Inn. This was really informative and I certainly did not expect the Inn to be as historically complex and interesting as Richard proved it to be.
After lunch, we returned to Matrix briefly before setting off to court once again for the final time with Jack Boswell. This was mostly just deciding key dates for the adjourned case, and deadlines which the barristers must meet. Nevertheless, I found this interesting as through reading the skeleton arguments and spending time hearing reasons why the case should be adjourned the day prior, I had become almost invested in the case.
Once again, I would like to thank everyone for their time this week and accommodating my visit at Matrix despite their busy schedules. I thoroughly enjoyed my week here, and would definitely recommend this to anybody that is considering pursuing law in the future, whether certain or not, as this placement will expose you to a range of interesting jobs that work to support barristers behind the scenes.