Alison Gentry (JD 2024) is a second-year JD student concentrating her studies in Media, Entertainment and Technology Law. In this Q&A, she shares her experience as an extern with the Writers Guild of America West.
How would you describe your externship role?
|Alison Gentry (JD 2024)
My externship with Writers Guild of America West was a hands-on experience that taught me how the law intersects with many different practice areas. I worked in the legal department and primarily focused on litigation. Writers sent their concerns to our department, whether that be unfair payment, contractual problems, or poor treatment, and we helped ensure they were protected. I supported the incredible legal team by writing litigation documents, including discovery requests and opposition briefs, and conducted research on bargaining history, case law, and arbitration precedent. Each day, I was faced with a new, complex challenge that allowed me to utilize my legal education.
What value has your externship added to your law school education and experience?
At Writers Guild of America West, I worked with issues of employment, contract, intellectual property, and more learning how different legal areas intersect. USC Gould has provided me with amazing learning opportunities, preparing me for real legal work. Getting to utilize that education in an environment where I was pushed to think about real legal issues that affected real people gave me a whole new perspective on the law. It was exciting to take my education from the classroom and apply it to real legal issues, knowing I was making a difference.
What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
A mentor once told me: “Don’t want it, do it.”
Don’t be scared to take chances and establish your own path. Reach out to as many people as you can who are where you want to be in a year, five years, ten years down the line. Meet new people and learn all you can from them. In the end, people want to help you, but you have to make the effort to get to where you want to be.