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Ava’s week at Matrix

Due to my interest in pursuing a career in law, I thought Matrix would be the perfect opportunity to experience the legal world from a different perspective. This week at Matrix has been enlightening, I have gained an understanding of the inner workings of a chamber, ridding the myth that barristers work alone due to the fact they are self-employed! I never would have believed so many people are needed in order for barristers to complete their profession on a daily basis, it really is incredible to witness first-hand! This week I have been able to gain important experience and have the chance to connect with professionals in the legal field- the staff at Matrix who have been looking after us so well (special thanks to Tom and Alice!) are extremely welcoming and friendly, always happy to help and answer all the questions we had.  

Before I arrived at Matrix, I was slightly apprehensive as I had never seen the legal field from the view of a chambers, only ever a law firm, thus I was unsure of what to expect. However, as soon as I stepped foot in the building, I was warmly greeted at reception by Melanie and Christie, and soon after Alice, which turned the nerves which I had into pure excitement, I couldn’t wait to get started! 

Alice took us to a nearby meeting room and explained what we should expect throughout the week, as well as the rules- the introduction included introducing us to all the practice areas, and then, we were told who we would be working with. We were taken on a tour of the office, which took me by surprise massively, I expected the chambers to be old and historic inside, however Matrix is extremely modern! Afterwards, we sat down with practice team T, who would essentially be taking care of us for the week. Tom, in particular, was amazing and so helpful, giving us the tasks we had to complete and assistance when needed. The first day ended with the trainee barristers (Catherine and Hayley) taking us out for a coffee, where we were able to let loose and get answers for everything we wanted to know! Such as their journeys into a legal career, why they wanted to become a barrister, university options and so much more – their insightful and interesting answers enhanced my knowledge of the industry, and I came out with a clear message: to never give up! 

Day 2 and 3 consisted of the invaluable shadowing of Guy Vassall-Adams KC and Tim James-Matthews at court, seeing a live-action court case bettered my understanding of how a courtroom works, and gave light to the sheer amount of knowledge a barrister must have regarding the law in order to see any success in the end! Guy presented his arguments with confidence and passion, it was lovely to speak to him at the start of the day, he explained what was going on and helped us to fully understand the action he wanted to be taken. Being at court was definitely the highlight of my week-long work experience at Matrix, a different environment from the office made everything feel so real! All the work that goes on in the office is building up to the moment a barrister speaks at court, I was lucky enough to see this both the behind the scenes and in-action.  

My last day at Matrix included insights from both the finance and marketing teams, where I learnt of their roles, and what they do on a day-to-day basis. I found this really insightful and interesting, as it secured my knowledge of the function of a chambers and how everything pieces together to ensure there is smooth running. Finally, I had a mock interview for the Matrix future lawyers scheme, this was beneficial as it is preparation for the many interviews and assessment centres that are to come for me and for those who want to pursue a career in law in the future.  

This work experience programme has heightened my knowledge and understanding of the legal sector, it is a week that I will remember and cherish forever!  Once again, I would like to thank everyone at Matrix for their time and help this week, and for accommodating my visit, despite the busy schedules everyone has! I have had the best time and would certainly recommend anyone who has an interest in law, or even to those who don’t, to take part in this programme – the range of jobs that occur within a chambers is fascinating, and I’m sure everyone would find a profession that they are interested in doing here. The expectations I had before I began my work experience have been exceeded, and I hope to return to Matrix to work here in the future…