Access to the Profession
In June 2011 Matrix launched an Access Programme in partnership with Parliament Hill School in Camden. The programme is part of Matrix’s commitment to public service and equality of opportunity, and aims to encourage individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds to embark on a career in the law.
There are a number of challenges facing young people wishing to pursue a career in the law. These include:
- The cost of training.
- Absence of contacts in the field.
- Difficulty in getting relevant experience.
- Appropriate encouragement from supporting adults.
- Advice on choices, such as A-Level subjects, studying law and non-law subjects at university.
- Access to honest advice and information e.g. about earning potential, cost of training and the likelihood of getting a traineeship.
The Matrix Access Programme aims to address some of these issues by developing a deep, sustained relationship with Parliament Hill, working with students from prior to GCSE choices through to A-Levels, university and further legal training. Activities include visits to Matrix, mentoring sessions and work experience.
The Access Programme promotes all aspects of the law available at Matrix, not only working as a barrister, but also the various roles of the staff team, including the Practice Teams, Legal Support Services and Marketing. In the long term, it is hoped that that one day there will be a cohort of ‘Matrix students’ who enter the legal profession having been supported throughout their time at school and university by Matrix.
Lawyers in Schools programme
Matrix is also taking part in the Citizenship Foundation Lawyers in Schools programme, delivering citizenship lessons to year 10 students. Matrix is one of only two barristers’ sets taking part in Lawyers in Schools.
Lawyers in Schools is a skills based employee volunteering programme run by the Citizenship Foundation. The scheme places practising and trainee lawyers into the classroom to work with young people to develop their awareness and understanding of the law. Lawyers in Schools facilitates links between legal professionals and secondary schools, mainly in economically deprived areas. It provides an opportunity for lawyers and trainees to discuss and explore various legal issues. This unique opportunity draws on the core skills and knowledge of legal professionals and the Citizenship Foundation’s expertise in educational partnerships. It offers clear educational benefits to young people and enables volunteers to gain a real insight into the lives and issues that affect young people in their local community. The scheme has been running successfully since 1999 with law firms and in-house legal teams working with local secondary schools across the UK.