After two years of legal education in the classroom, starting my first semester of 3L by gaining practical experience as part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program was a very welcome experience. Last year, as a member of Osgoode’s Harold G. Fox intellectual property moot team, I got a small taste of some practical issues that face IP litigators. This year, the opportunity to complete an intensive placement in the Legal Department of The Globe and Mail provided me with an immersive and practical experience that transformed my understanding of lawyering.
What do The Globe’s in-house lawyers do?
I applied to the intensive program with the goal of gaining insight into the challenges faced by media companies in managing their brands, intellectual property assets, and technology. The Globe and Mail was a perfect fit for me. More than just Canada’s newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail (The Globe) is a digitally savvy media company that owns award-winning media products such as the Report on Business magazine and Globe Edge. Working with in-house counsel at the organization, I was able to engage not only in my areas of interest, but also other areas of law that I hadn’t realized were central to the daily practice of law for corporate counsel.
At The Globe, in-house counsel advise on any matters that concern the company. In additional to corporate/commercial work, in-house counsel maintain The Globe’s trademarks, advise on copyright and defamation matters, and liaise with editorial teams on content licensing and freelancer agreements. Their central role is to limit the company’s liability as much as possible, assess the risk of every new endeavour, and provide direction and advice to various business teams to ensure compliance of regulatory matters.
The benefit of a placement with The Globe
The learning curve at the beginning of any intensive program is high. During my first week at The Globe, I vetted an advertisement’s compliance with ad standards, had a thirty-minute rundown of trademark law before filing my first renewal, amended contest rules to comply with the terms and conditions of various social media platforms, and reviewed a number of commercial contracts.
As I spent more time at The Globe, I gained insight into the broader organizational concerns that face not just media companies, but other organizations in Canada. Negotiating cross-jurisdictional agreements with vendors, determining when external counsel should be consulted, and gaining the ability to build strong relationships with various teams throughout the company are transferable skills that will be an asset in any future employment. As well, a large portion of my work was in the area of privacy law, which is hard to gain experience with in law school.
What I gained more than anything from my intensive placement is a sense of fulfillment above and beyond the end-of-semester ah-ha moment in a class. Working as part of The Globe’s in-house legal team instilled in me a sense of professionalism and a renewed my interest in legal practice. It also drew upon what I had learned in traditional IP and black letter law classes. Since one cannot be an expert in every area of law, my time at the company taught me how to face new legal challenges with confidence.
I am grateful to my supervisors at The Globe, and all of the employees that guided and supported my learning. I am happy to have been given a variety of responsibilities, the opportunity to gain a first hand understanding of the operations of a large organization, all with the right balance of independence and supervision. The IP intensive program has been the highlight of my law school experience to the extent that I, like many of my peers, am sad to see the semester end.
Faye Alipour is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.