Ivana Peloza is a 3L JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. This article was written as a requirement for Prof. Pina D’Agostino’s IP Intensive Program.
Over the course of my time at The Globe, I gained vast and multidisciplinary experience, but three major themes emerged within my practical and research work: privacy, contracts, and data protection. On my very first day, my supervisor (thankfully) lent me a copy of The Tech Contracts Handbook: Cloud Computing Agreements, Software Licenses, and Other IT Contracts for Lawyers and Businesspeople by David Tollen to start familiarizing myself with these themes. Complying with privacy regulations, especially in IT contracts, is as important as it can be misunderstood. Especially in an era of rapidly developing regulation and technology surrounding privacy, corporate organizations have a strict duty to continually follow the developments in Canadian privacy and data protection law as it relates to different jurisdictions.
My internship also allowed me to reflect on and speak with my supervisor about the differences – between working in-house versus private practice. For instance, private practice may have an entire staff dedicated to accomplishing just one specific aspect of a privacy or contracts matter whereas in-house lawyers might deal collaboratively with the whole breadth of a legal process. In-house has the potential to, therefore, offer a much greater variety and scope of practice and expertise. If my experience at the Globe has taught me anything, it’s that this type of legal work makes the days more interesting, in my opinion!
An in-house legal department is also intimately intertwined with the organization’s commercial decision-making. Learning how to navigate the specific challenges of interdisciplinary brainstorming, drafting, and decision-making was a significant takeaway as well. Often, legal professionals or a corporation’s legal team will be coming late compared to the business process and left out of major contractual decisions. Sometimes, however, as was the case with the incredibly accomplished lawyers who I was lucky enough to learn from at The Globe, just by virtue of experience, the legal professionals have beneficial insight into the commercial deal process. Sometimes this is helpful, sometimes it leads to “spinning of wheels” but the point is there is deal structure expertise that isn’t always brought until after the deal is “set.” One of the jobs is to try to get further upstream – even if you’re not necessarily trying to be involved in the day-to-day happenings – but you need to find a way to have some perspective and plan more effectively.
To this point, I often reflected on a piece of advice I was given on the very first day of the IP Intensive Seminars. When I asked the alumni speakers their advice for someone who has never had a summer legal placement before, Denver Bandstra, Associate at Bereskin & Parr LLP, reminded me that I would get used to it “just like any other job.” Like any job, there will always be work-place procedure and workflow that requires orientation and practice. Learning the workflow of a contract renewal and negotiations, or the day-to-day contrast for an in-house lawyer compared to a private practice lawyer, only comes from experience. The experience given in the IP Intensive program, for that reason, is the most worthwhile part of my legal education so far. And particularly, as all things in IP and technology law are proving to be, developing knowledge and familiarity with data and privacy, the Internet and disruptive technology is worthwhile – not just for a career in IP law, but also for any person using social media in the digital age.