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Raffi’s Week at Matrix

After years of delay and rearrangement due to covid and other commitments I was relieved and grateful to finally be doing work experience at Matrix. Having faced navigational obstacles I was glad to arrive at Matrix. I was warmly welcomed in reception and Lindsay kindly reassured any nerves myself or Havin (who I did my work experience with) may have had.

Lauren, who belongs to the fees team, explained what our week would consist of and we proceeded to begin the week with some research tasks. Most of the questions we were asked to deal with had answers which introduced novel information to me and I was pleased to be learning from the get go. We then met Mariyam who joined Matrix in 2021 as a trainee barrister and hearing about her journey to becoming a barrister was intriguing and reiterated that there is no one definitive route to becoming one. The rest of our first day included an introduction to Matrix’s equality and inclusion projects from Alice as well as coming up with some of our own ideas regarding future projects.

On Tuesday, we were lucky enough to accompany Nick Armstrong KC to the Royal Courts of Justice and sit in on his case. I was very excited to go to court as I had never been inside the building and its grandeur certainly met my expectations however, it was my own intrigue regarding Nick’s case itself that surprised me the most that day! Despite finding it admittedly difficult to understand the pre-court reading, it was no doubt Nick’s style in expressing his arguments that contributed to keeping me so absorbed throughout the entire day.

My third day of work experience started solo as unfortunately Havin wasn’t in that day but luckily Denise, who is doing a mini pupillage at Matrix, would be joining me as we met David Wolfe KC and sat in on his case. Although extremely different in its content compared to Nick’s case the day prior, David’s was just as fascinating. I should mention that at this point in the week my preconceived idea that there would be a certain animosity between barristers who faced each other in court was absolutely wrong. There is a lot of collaboration not only between a barrister and solicitor but in both Nick and David’s cases there was collaboration over material and ideas between the barristers for the claimants and the defendants were shared. Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised at the air of comradery between myself, Havin, Denise and other mini pupils or work experience students from other chambers. It was extremely helpful to be able to chat with them and resolve any questions or ideas I may have had. Day 3 was further rewarding as several members of the community which David was advocating for had come to watch the case and, to my mind, acted as testament to the importance and moral stakes of the barristers’ work.

Thursday was the final day that we had the opportunity to sit in on a case with another barrister at Matrix. We met Hugh Southey KC at the Royal Court of Justice and I was initially struck by the number of people in the room for the case: 11 barristers and over a dozen solicitors cumulatively represented four parties. Two members of the press being there was also exciting to see. By the end of the day I felt like I had learnt so much. Not only had I become acquainted with the content of the cases but the days in court were really useful in understanding the nature of being a barrister. In all three cases I did find it a challenge to follow along at all times and wholly grasp everything, yet the barristers’ kindness in giving up their time to answer questions and dispense wisdom upon us was absolutely invaluable. Thank you so much as well to the whole of the fees team who made me feel so welcome – it was truly a pleasure to have been part of Matrix this week!