Aliza Reder is a graduate from Georgetown University Law Center (L’04). Prior to attending law school, Aliza worked for MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” in Washington, DC, where she produced the show’s year long 2000 Presidential Election coverage.
“So let me get the bad news out of the way first—the Los Angeles GEMA externship is a lot of driving. The good news is that for the chance to speak with the people you meet, or to learn about the multiple entertainment career opportunities and possibilities—you would drive anywhere for in a heartbeat. This was an experience that I believe the school and its impressive alumni really came through beyond my expectations.
As a law student intent upon practicing in Los Angeles, I believe I benefited greatly from this externship because it not only strengthened my interests in the law, but also broadened my understanding of what it meant to be a lawyer in a town where the entertainment industry looms large. By the same token, the externship also exposed me to other equally interesting career paths in the entertainment industry that I did not know about.
When we were asked to pick our areas of interest for the externship, I expressed an interest in several career fields. I would advise future externs to do the same, even if you are 100% sure of what type of job you want. I did gain extremely helpful information about being a lawyer. But I also learned about the production and creation of the television show “ Las Vegas,” the business side of new sitcoms and reality television shows, the differences and details of being an in house legal counsel versus an entertainment lawyer in a private law firm, and finally the arduous, yet arguably rewarding, path to becoming a successful film writer. I can guarantee you that none of this would I ever have learned in school—but all of my experiences that week will play a part in my post graduation career decisions and add breadth to a once small knowledge base.
While I was lucky enough to explore several career fields, I was also fortunate to get a chance to have a very in-depth meeting with a lawyer at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. After a very friendly welcome, she sat me down and began talking through a typical work day, and then stopped. She looked at me and asked what did I really want to know about practicing law, what did I want to know that law school did not teach me, or would not tell me? From then on we had a very personal and enlightening meeting, and she brought in several of her colleagues to share their “off the record” insight and advice—once again, information I would not have learned in law school, but information from which my legal career will benefit immensely. In an industry where time is truly money, this Georgetown alum expended herself well beyond the bare minimum on my behalf.
Like I said, the GEMA externship is a lot of driving. I mean that both physically and mentally. Physically—be prepared with a good map, money for gas, some music, and a car of course. Mentally—you have to have the drive to do your research, figure out what information you would like to get out of your meeting, and the right questions to ask. But trust me—all your efforts, physical or mental, pale in comparison to what you stand to gain from the GEMA externship.”
Aliza went on to become a producer and guest booker for CNN’s “Crossfire.” During her time in law school, Aliza was an intern for an US Bankruptcy Judge in Los Angeles, as well as worked as a summer legal associate at ReedSmith’s Washington, DC office.