As a part of the IP Osgoode Intensive Program I had the unique opportunity to work with in-house counsel for Canada’s most authoritative national newspaper. As much as I cherish a grueling law school semester, I have to admit that my experience at The Globe and Mail was significantly more enjoyable.
When I first applied to the IP Intensive Program, the prospect of experiential learning was appealing, but I had only a vague idea of what to expect. Having just completed the 10-week placement, I can safely say, and I am confident other IP Intensive students would agree, that the program is more than just an opportunity to learn about law. A lot more.
Learning about law was, of course, a major component. During the very first week I had exposure to copyright, trademarks, advertising, and media law. Some of these areas were familiar and others entirely novel. A significant portion of my time was dedicated to working on privacy law. Aside from conducting legal research, I was involved in day-to-day operations as well. This involved giving comments on a broad range of contracts, evaluating clients’ advertisements for compliance with advertising law, and drafting rules for an online contest, just to name a few. There is no doubt in my mind that the work I was entrusted with at The Globe equipped me with a level of knowledge that could not have been obtained in the classroom.
The work placement made the limitations of classroom learning readily apparent. The biggest difference is the context in which learning takes place. The degree of access I had to The Globe’s inner workings taught me a lot about the publishing business and the role in-house lawyers should play in any organization. An appreciation of how multiple departments interact within an organization, its business model and how the industry is developing as a whole inevitably informed how I approach legal advice. For me personally, figuring out and applying the law in such an industry and fact-specific context was a welcome challenge and a rewarding learning exercise.
Spending a semester at The Globe also gave me a perspective on legal practice that I am certain will aid me in the long run. First, it served as a preview of what it would be like to work as an in-house lawyer, as opposed to an associate at a law firm. Second, it showed me how sophisticated clients approach legal services and, in particular, what in-house practitioners look for (and avoid) when retaining external counsel.
Above all, the people I have met at The Globe made my time there truly memorable. I have had excellent supervisors who provided me with great guidance and career advice. In addition to being patient and knowledgeable, they were extremely friendly and approachable, which created to a fantastic work environment. The same could be said about everyone I had encountered at The Globe.
Overall, the IP Intensive Program was an invaluable experience. I would encourage Osgoode students to take advantage of the unique opportunity to learn from renowned scholars, judges and other students, while gaining practical exposure to the practice of IP law.
Anatoly Zhitnik is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.