From the moment you walk into the building you are immersed in what I can describe as the most positive and warmest work environments. I was welcomed by two of the kindest members of staff at the front reception Melanie and Christina, who made me automatically feel comfortable and welcome. While I waited to go up to the team I would be placed with for the week, they offered to make me a beverage and engaged in conversation to generate a sense of calmness to settle any apprehension you may have about the following days. I was then met by two members of the finance team, Eric and James, who was extremely polite and eased us into the environment by presenting us with the chambers dynamic between all the departments. After this he showed us the area in which we would be working, where we met the rest of the finance team, who could not be any nicer people. They immediately engaged in conversation, asking us about our past experiences, our backgrounds, what we want to do as a career and so much more, this eased me into the beginning of the week.
From there they gave a talk on what the finance and fees team do within the chambers, explaining there daily tasks, presenting the major importance of the teams work and giving insight into how they operate. They gave us in-depth knowledge of how they control and distribute the funds produced by the barristers back to them, while taking a percentage and redistributing it into the maintenance of the building, the wages of the employed members, the marketing team and much more. There exceptional work is evident every time you walk into the building, as the chambers is up to date and has brilliant resources, advancing them ahead of other chambers. Through the task Eric also gave insight into the many different types of work you can obtain as a barrister and the way in which they work. We were given a task to redefine these different types of work and gain further insight into them, they had no problem with any questions we asked them and encouraged us to do so. Not once through any of the tasks do you feel as though you have hindered any of the staff when asking questions. After this we were given an opportunity to speak to the legal support service team whom allowed us to apprehend their role within the chambers and how they aid in the assistance of legal research for the barristers. This team is not found in all chambers and just conveys just how advanced matrix chambers is in the way in which they work, the team were extremely kind and were open to further questions we had about routes to law and the way in which legal research is conducted.
After this we then had a talk on the role of the practice team within matrix, where in which we spoke to James who went into depth of what their role consists of. Like clerks, they act as the ‘agent’ for a barrister but here at matrix they go above and beyond to maintain a strong connection with their barristers and assure that they are well. This was insightful as each role at a chambers is interlinked and when becoming any of these roles you must know how the others operate. Then as it got later in the day we had the privilege to go out for coffee with the latest trainees, Catherine Arnold and Hayley Webster, who were extremely thoughtful and kind. They were patient and keen on answering any questions we had concerning their path to the bar, their training course and any other vital experiences they have had, this was truly an outstanding opportunity. Through this I had gained a great ordeal of insight into the path to become a barrister and really aided in developing the mindset and vision of what being a barrister is, this was by far some of the best advice you could obtain when wanting to go into the legal sector.
On my second day I had met the rest of the fees and finance team, Zuwaina and Lauren, who immediately made us feel welcome and were unbelievably kind, they both had no problem speaking to us and answering any more questions we had. They both continuously followed up with us throughout the week, making sure we were adequate and comfortable within the chambers, I couldn’t be more appreciate of their friendliness. We were then taken down to Aldwych house to watch a witness testimony from the post office inquiry which allowed a much further profound idea of the range of work you complete as a barrister. It was an accommodating experience to sit in and grasp how a public inquiry toils and was a great opportunity to meet with the barrister, Samantha. Following this we went back to the chambers to finish any outstanding tasks. The tasks that we endured where extremely fun and intriguing as they allowed us to apprehend a greater understanding of the chambers on top of the talks we have had.
On my third day, I had the pleasure to meet Paul skinner and his team. I had the honour to watch in on his current case in the royal courts of justice concerning human trafficking. This was an unbelievable opportunity to witness the construct of how a case is dealt with in court and the order in which the affairs are proceeded with. This really helped build upon my foundational level of the work a barrister completes and the way in which the court system chores. I felt venerate being able to step foot in the Royal Courts of Justice, a true dream to anyone in the legal profession.
On my penultimate day I had talks with Venetia, a member of the marketing team and with frank, who is part of the facilities team. They were both extremely kind and spoke to us about the important roles of the marketing department and the necessity of the facilities team to enable the chambers to work and be known to the public eye. From this I assimilated so much about what other roles are needed to sustain the chambers. The last task I got given was a presentation and interview for the future lawyers program, this task really helped as it presented me with a chance to endure a interview in a professional setting and a chance to build upon the skills I needed.
I would highly recommend this opportunity to any students that are interested in becoming a Barrister as they offer an opportunity that not many other places do.