For Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law students, the summer months provide an important opportunity to explore legal areas of interest and expand their resumes with internships or paid positions. For Lauren Fitzpatrick (JD ’18), who is serving as a legal intern with NBCUniversal’s Rights Group in Los Angeles, the summer is proving to be the perfect opportunity to gain experience in entertainment law.
Fitzpatrick previously worked in a personal injury law firm and also served as a judicial extern, but her passion is in sports and entertainment law. Since starting at NBCUniversal last month, she has worked on everything from acquisitions to “creature feature” films, as well as reality television shows. She also handles rights issues for the company’s film and television departments, including network rights, distribution rights, and copyrights.
“Unlike other legal departments at NBCUniversal, the Rights Group does not focus on one aspect of the business. This has given me the ability to experience different elements of intellectual property, as well as the various types of deals each business unit makes,” she said. “I think the biggest skill the job has taught me so far is the ability to interpret contracts,” she added. “Many of the distribution agreements are with UK companies, and the contracts and language they use are very different than what we use in the United States. By the end of the summer, I hope to leave with an understanding of what goes on behind these business deals and the considerations the attorneys make in handling the negotiations.”
In addition to the practical experience, one of the most important aspects of the internship, Fitzpatrick said, has been the chance to network with other professionals. “Networking is such an important part of the sports and entertainment field, and connections go a long way in helping to reach your goals,” she said. “In my first few weeks on the job, I scheduled informational meetings with two different attorneys at NBCUniversal and met many other employees as well. Learning from experienced attorneys is always beneficial, and the connections that you make in internships and externships stay with you long after your work at the company has finished.”