Tag Archives | Summer Grants

Summer Grants for UNC Law and Graduate Students Interested in Media Law and Policy

summer-job-pictureAre you interested in pursuing a career in media law or policy?  Are you worried that you won’t be able to take that plum summer job in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles because it’s just too expensive to live there.  Well, the Center for Media Law and Policy is here to help.  For the sixth year in a row, the Center will be providing stipends to UNC law and graduate students who have a summer job in the field of media law or media policy.  In past years, UNC students have received Center stipends while working at a wide range of organizations, including the Federal Communications Commission, National Public Radio, Electronic Frontier FoundationFoundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Future of Privacy Forum, and Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

The Center’s summer grants program is administered in conjunction with the UNC School of Law’s Public Interest Summer Grants Program, which provides funds to law students taking unpaid or low-paying public interest jobs. Funding for these grants comes from several sources, including the Carolina Public Interest Law Organization (CPILO), private funds given by generous donors, law school funds allocated by the Dean, and student organizations that fundraise to support students working in a particular area of interest.  In 2016, the law school awarded more than $160,000 to 64 students. 

Wait, you don’t have a summer job yet?!  Head over to our media law and policy Jobs Center, where you will find dozens of summer (and post-graduate) employment opportunities. You can easily find the perfect job for you by using our advanced search feature to search by location, keyword, or practice area.  Also, try browsing by job type or category for a more expansive look at the jobs listed. Still not sure what you want to do for the summer?  You can read about the summer experiences of your fellow students on the Center’s blog.

Requirements and Information on How to Apply for a Summer Grant

For UNC law students interested in both a Center grant and a law school grant, the deadline for applying is March 12, 2017.  The application process and general requirements for both grants is the same. Simply check the box on the  application for the law school’s Summer Public Interest Grant indicating “Media Law or Policy” under the heading “Substantive Areas Your Summer Employment Will Involve” and you will be automatically considered for Center funds in addition to the law school grant.  If you have already filled out an application, just log back in and check the box for “Media Law or Policy”; you can make changes to your application until the application deadline.

For UNC graduate students and law students who are not eligible for law school funds, the deadline for applying for a summer grant is also March 12, 2017, but you will need to download the application form and send it directly to us at medialaw [at] unc.edu along with the other supporting material described below. 

Please note that you must have a job offer from one of the following types of organizations to be eligible for law school funds: a nonprofit organization (an organization that is described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Code), a legal aid office, a state or federal government agency, a public defender office, or a district attorney office. If are a UNC graduate student or law student who is not seeking law school funds, your employer does not need to meet the requirements described directly above.

Applications will be evaluated based on (a) your demonstrated commitment to working in the areas of media law or policy and (b) the quality of your essays (each essay must not be more than 500 words).

Required documents include:

  1. Resume (without grade information)
  2. Offer letter from your employer
  3. Essays (no more than 500 words each) *

* Essay questions:

  • Essay #1: Describe your work responsibilities and how they relate to media law or media policy.
  • Essay #2: Describe your commitment to public service. How have your past interests and work experiences contributed to your proposed summer internship responsibilities?
  • Essay #3: How do you see this summer work experience contributing to your long-term career goals?

Be sure to check out these Tips for Writing a Strong Grant Application. You will be notified of a decision in early April.

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A Student’s Reflections on Interning at the FCC

FCC1From Varsha Mangal, a 3L at UNC School of Law and recipient of one of the Center’s Summer Public Interest Grants:

This past summer, I interned at the Office of General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. The FCC regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. With the elections near, it was a very exciting time to be at the FCC. Over the course of the summer, the agency had won the net-neutrality case in U.S. Court of Appeals, and was working on many controversial issues such as the proposed rulemakings on privacy and the set-top-boxes.

At the Office of General, I got a birds-eye view of the agency and exposure to the work being done in the different bureaus. I spent most of my time researching and drafting memoranda on intellectual property and contract issues relevant to rulemaking proceedings. I gained a good understanding of administrative law as I updated the attorney handbook with recent developments in the law and wrote briefs on judicial opinions regarding administrative law cases that were released over the summer.  Additionally, I read comments submitted to the FCC and attended ex-parte meetings. Most of my work focused on the major issues arising from the Media Bureau, but I also got to exposure to merger and antitrust issues.

Although there are only a few interns at the OGC, every office and bureau in the agency takes legal interns. Thus, the intern program is quite extensive and the FCC hosted several brown-bag lunches for the students, where speakers such as Chairman Tom Wheeler and the Founder of BET would come speak to us. Also, D.C. is a wonderful place to spend the summer and has several fun things to do for free – which is great for students on a budget!

I would strongly recommend students to apply to the FCC for an internship if they are interested in media law or working for the federal government down the road. Even for those who may want to work in the private sector, the FCC is one of the major government regulators in the media industry and the insight that you receive at the agency will be incredibly valuable. Furthermore, the people I worked with at the agency were brilliant, kind, and great mentors.

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Media Law Student Spent Summer Working in Business and Legal Affairs Office of Broadway Video

bvid-logo-lrgFrom Rachel Rice, a 2L at UNC School of Law and recipient of one of the Center’s Summer Public Interest Grants:

This summer I worked in the Business and Legal Affairs Office of Broadway Video Entertainment. The Business and Legal Affairs Office is located in Los Angeles, California. Broadway Video, a Lorne Michaels company, is known for producing Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, 30 Rock, Documentary Now!, Maya & Marty, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Man Seeking Woman. The company has recently expanded and created its own YouTube platform focused on Latino comedy, titled Mas Mejor, as well as a short-form comedy distributor known as Above Average.

My work this summer focused on aiding the company’s two attorneys with whatever they needed. As a large production company with a small legal team, the Business and Legal Affairs Office provided me with the opportunity to gain experience in almost every aspect of entertainment law. The legal team handles all of the talent, television licensing, music licensing, and locations agreements, as well as any copyright, and trademark issues, among other things.

My biggest project of the summer was summarizing the agreements between IFC (the Independent Film Channel) and Broadway Video for the distribution of Portlandia and Documentary Now! Each agreement had multiple amendments, and in order to consolidate all of the information for quick access to important clauses, I created a chart outlining each agreement as a whole.

I compared countless contracts (really, countless), drafting and editing the standard terms and conditions sections to meet company standards. I formatted talent agreements and examined them for any changes made by the talent agency that might have gone unnoticed. I drafted licensing agreements for the international distribution of Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, and Documentary Now! I also drafted agreements between Broadway Video and airline companies in order to allow the airlines to keep their fliers entertained with recent episodes of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia.

When I wasn’t drafting and editing contracts I was researching labor and employment issues to ensure that SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild), DGA (Directors Guild of America), and WGA (Writers Guild of America) standards were being adhered to regarding the hiring of directors, writers, and actors. I read through scripts to make sure they met internal standards as well as avoided any copyright and trademark issues.

I summarized the pros and cons of various arbitration forums in order to help the office determine which forum would be best, should the need for arbitration arise. In addition, I summarized agreements between Broadway Video and Pepsi, and Broadway Video and Volkswagen for the use of their products in various episodes of television shows.

Working in the Business and Legal Affairs Office was a fantastic opportunity that gave me invaluable experience in transactional, media, and entertainment law. Even outside of work, living in Los Angeles was a phenomenal experience. There is never a dull moment in the city and it’s true what everyone says about the weather – it’s perfect. I would highly recommend this opportunity to any student interested in pursuing a career in any form of media law.

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Dual-Degree Spent Summer at the ACLU and FPF

img_0598This summer, I interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) in San Francisco and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) in Washington, DC. Both internships provided great opportunities to work on assignments related to my research interest – student privacy – and to be exposed to new areas of law.

The ACLU-NC’s mission is “to protect and advance civil liberties for all Californians” and includes issues related to both consumer privacy and government surveillance. At the ACLU-NC, I worked on a variety of projects related to protecting students’ privacy, including drafting a memo on school video surveillance, creating a handout on the impact of cell phone searches, and providing research for an amicus brief on warrantless electronic searches of young people.

At the ACLU-NC, there were also many opportunities to learn outside of the office. Just a few weeks after I arrived, I took a tour of the San Joaquin Valley with nine other ACLU-NC interns who were from across the nation. The tour is a foundational part of the ACLU-NC’s Law and Policy Internship Program. It helped me gain a better understanding of issues that are relevant to Californians and the ACLU-NC’s work supporting local organizations, which has been extremely effective. Later in the internship program, I interviewed homeless individuals to help challenge the seizure of their property by a local municipality and participated in the ACLU-NC’s campaign to stop Fresno County from allowing Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents inside the county jail. It was an incredible two months on the West Coast!

FPF is a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. It’s known for its centrist voice in the privacy world. I applied to work there because of the Student Privacy Pledge, which was introduced by FPF and the Software & Information Industry Association in 2014 and endorsed by President Obama in 2015. It’s a big deal because companies that sign show their commitment to protecting student data privacy and it’s legally enforceable under Section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act. I had the opportunity to review ed tech companies’ privacy policies to ensure that they met the requirements of the Pledge before they were listed as a signatory.

My time in Washington, DC at FPF was just as exciting as my time in San Francisco. I quickly learned to keep a blazer in the office because I never knew when there would be an opportunity to attend a meeting on the Hill or venture off on my own to a tech conference. It was also not uncommon for FPF to host meetings with leading figures from industry, academia, law, and advocacy groups in order to advance the privacy dialogue and for the FPF staff to demonstrate how the latest technology companies are addressing privacy concerns by introducing new forms of notice and choice. At FPF, I had an opportunity to highlight the benefits as well as the challenges of these emerging technologies as a co-author of FPF’s comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Association on the Internet of Things.

Altogether, it was an amazing summer! I’ve returned to UNC with new research ideas and memories that will last a lifetime.

Chanda Marlowe

Dual-degree student, earning a master’s in mass communication and a J.D. degree

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Dual-Degree Student Spent Summer on the First Amendment Frontier

lindsieI spent my summer interning in the legal department at the ACLU of Washington State in Seattle, one of the largest ACLU affiliate offices in the country. At the ACLU-WA, I worked on a variety of projects related to First Amendment and other civil liberties issues.

On the First Amendment frontier, my last assignment at the ACLU-WA was to write a letter encouraging a city to abstain from instituting an unconstitutional panhandling ordinance. The proposed ordinance would have made solicitation in the downtown area of the city a crime, in direct contradiction with applicable First Amendment precedent.

I also spent much of my time updating the ACLU-WA’s public education materials on First Amendment and other expression issues. The materials included guides to protest rights, teacher free speech, and initiative signature gathering.

While I wasn’t working on free expression-related projects, much of my time was spent working on Trueblood v. DSHS, a federal class action suit. In Trueblood, Washington State has been found to violate the due process rights of mentally ill individuals by keeping them in jail for months awaiting competency evaluation and competency restoration services. While I was at the ACLU-WA, part of this case was on remand from the 9th Circuit, and I was able to join the team preparing for the remand hearing.

On a more personal note, as a Washington State native, it was great to be in an office in the heart of Seattle and to be near family and friends for a season. I enjoyed the splurges of the West Coast, including many lattes and delicious produce.

Lindsie Trego

Dual-degree student, earning a master’s in mass communication and a J.D. degree

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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