As third-year law students in the Oregon Law Portland Program, Sydney Holmes and Jack Mannis are exploring intellectual property law, media law, and entertainment law while developing transactional lawyering skills in their in-house field placement work at Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). Field placements with entities like OPB let students experience in-house legal work first-hand.
Both Holmes and Mannis developed a strong interest in entertainment and media law prior to law school. As a political science undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, Mannis worked with an on-campus radio station where he found broadcast media and entertainment law engaging.
At the University of Texas at Austin, Holmes took an undergraduate business law course, which piqued her interest in business law. She was excited to be able to work with her professor on research and development for a technology start-up. “I enjoy creative endeavors that entertain or inspire,” Holmes said. This experience spurred her interest in intellectual property law.
In law school, Holmes and Mannis have taken intellectual property courses, such as Trademark Law and Copyrights, which have been instrumental in their field placement work. Each also worked this past summer on intellectual property and media law projects. Mannis worked on trademark matters at a small general practice law firm, and Holmes worked on agreements in music, film, and television at an entertainment law firm. Holmes said she gained “valuable business and media law experience,” which she applies in her work at OPB.
OPB has provided Holmes and Mannis a wide array of engaging and intellectually challenging projects, which the students find rewarding. As they draft and review agreements, and work on trademarks, public records requests, Federal Communications Commission matters, insurance matters, and licensing, Holmes and Mannis are experiencing what in-house work entails. “It is interesting working for one client and understanding how that works in an in-house context,” Holmes said. “We are considering the client’s goals and mission from both the legal side and the business side,” Holmes added.
Holmes and Mannis are learning to navigate remote work. They feel connected to their colleagues and supervisor through virtual platforms and collaborative initiatives. “OPB has done an amazing job creating a supportive remote working environment,” Holmes said. Mannis notes he is “building connections with my colleagues and supervisors remotely,” which is a transferrable skill he will be able to use in practice.
Law students like Holmes and Mannis are valuable contributors through the work they do in their field placements. “We rely on our law students to help us support OPB’s newsroom and public service mission,” said field placement supervisor and OPB Assistant General Counsel Jon Bial. “From trademark registrations to Freedom of Information Act appeals, an extern likely produced the first draft. And the second. And sometimes the third . . . .”
By Kristie Gibson, Supervising Attorney and Instructor – Business Law Clinic