“Los Angeles is more of an idea than an actual place. People don’t realize that and I think it’s the best part about being here.”
– Peter Rice, Fox Networks Chairman and CEO
Cool Fact #1 about my internship this summer: I got to stuff my face with breakfast while Peter Rice and Jim Gianopulos (Twentieth Century Fox CEO) spewed inspiring words to a room of mostly undergrad (but a select few graduate) students. Their talk was ultimately encouraging, but their message only reminded me that Los Angeles, and the entertainment business, truly is centered around (1) your personal hustle, (2) what you make of it. The talk was a stark reminder that being in the entertainment business means being at the top of your game, knowing what you want, and constantly networking. I suppose this applies to other legal fields as well, but it’s especially important to keep in mind when considering a career in entertainment law.
I spent my summer working as a law clerk for Fox Cable Networks on the Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles. I was hired to work under the Fox Music attorney, but also performed tasks for Fox Sports Domestic throughout the summer.
Cool Fact #2: My office was located in Fox Plaza (A.K.A. Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard – no really, they filmed it here), which is technically on the lot, but you have to pass through a series of ID swipes to get into the tower (shout out to the most genuinely nice security people ever—they deserve so much praise) and it feels off the lot. The building in the picture above is Fox Plaza. Many of my assignments involved going to a music office on the lot however, so I ended up getting to see a lot of the hustle and bustle of the sound stages on a regular basis.
The work I performed on a daily basis was highly transactional and centered around drafting, editing, and analyzing various types of agreements for Fox’s television networks and online properties. My small taste of litigation consisted of performing due diligence for a few weeks.
The workplace environment was wonderful. I truly adored my coworkers and everyone treated me and the other interns with respect. My supervisors were available when I had questions, guided me through difficult assignments, and always made sure I had access to meaningful legal work each week. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Cool Fact #3: There were weekly “brown bag lunches” with other departments. All of the legal interns would come together and learn about the different legal groups at Fox over lunch. I found these sessions to be highly instructive and interesting. I got a taste of what happens in all of the legal departments of a studio, and these lunches opened the door for further networking opportunities with attorneys in other fields outside of my office. The knowledge I gained from these attorneys was invaluable.
Mr. Rice’s quote from the intern breakfast really stuck with me: L.A. really is an idea—it’s malleable, it’s what you make of it, it’s what you choose to do with the opportunities you are presented with, it’s not real. L.A. as a city is not particularly pretty. It doesn’t have D.C.’s palpable history or New York’s unstoppable vivacity. I have read some articles that call L.A. the “anti-city” and after a summer there, this label makes total sense to me. Sure you have the beauty of the beaches, canyons, and breathtaking sunsets, but the city itself is dirty, new, and constantly changing. The traffic is just as horrible as everyone says it is, and small errands often force you to lose four hours of your day. A co-worker described L.A. as a “constant groundhog day experience—every day is the same, the traffic is the same, the weather is the same, sometimes you feel trapped.”
All that being said, L.A. has a laid back charm you can’t find in any other major cities. People in L.A. are incredibly nice and finding a work-life balance is considered a priority. Each borough of town (you can’t liken the areas to New York’s boroughs but I don’t know what else to call each area without referring to them individually) is unique and ethnically diverse. Sometimes the newness—the rapid turnover of restaurants, that new boutique in Silver Lake, whatever it might be—is refreshing. The dry heat is hard to beat, it did absolute wonders for my hair. The availability of bougie, healthy foods is fantastic. People come from everywhere, so you can find your niche with ease.
So aside from the internship experience, location and how you will be living is something to consider when applying to internships and full-time positions. While L.A. has its downfalls, I’d return in a heartbeat for an offer. I would especially return to Fox after having had such a positive summer experience.