Legal Clerkship at Disney

stitchloversith

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 16, 2018
I am starting law school in Fall 2019 and was wondering if anyone had done a gap summer internship with the legal department. I am a 2006 College Program alumni and most of the professional internships I have applied for turned me down because I did the year long program. Any information would be great. I saw that for this past summer Universal was looking for people but would love to go back to the Mouse if I can.
 

LLG

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
I'm not sure what you mean by "legal department" so I want to give you some background. In general, there are going to be three legal parts -- each very large -- to Disney (defined below*): (1) litigation, (2) corporate and transactional, and (3) general counsel. As the term "general" implies, general counsel oversees everything as does its office (hence, in the government why you have an Attorney General and Solicitor General).

Alan Braverman (link) is general counsel of The Walt Disney Company (appointed in January 2003) Braverman serves as the chief legal officer of the company and oversees its team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of Disney's legal affairs around the world. Here is an article on him from Super Lawyers (link).

Braverman works out of in Disney's Burbank Office, although I imagine he could probably work anywhere in the world he wants. As Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, it is reported that he made $8,391,100 in total compensation last year.

I have no idea how large Disney's in-house counsel is (the staff that Braverman and people who work for him overseas), but it must be very large. As the Super Lawyers article states: "At an iconic company like Disney, every legal matter has the potential to be a giant news story, which, in turn, makes Disney an appealing company to sue. Over the years, Disney has been sued by a Pennsylvania woman who claimed she was groped by a Donald Duck; by a man who said he was stranded on the “it’s a small world” ride for 40 minutes; by a man who claimed a breach of contract for his contestant appearance on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, claiming that the $16,000 question—which he responded to incorrectly—was not “an absolute question with a singularly correct answer”; and by a woman who claimed her script was used to develop Desperate Housewives, citing, in part, the similarity between both works including the similar use of the word “fun” and that they both contained a red car.

Braverman gets a report on every suit, and pays personal attention to any case with a significant financial, reputational or principle risk, such as one that might set new parameters on intellectual property protection. Much of his attention, though, is focused on even more strategic matters in the rapidly evolving entertainment and media landscape," according to the Super Lawyer article."

For most litigation, Disney uses outside counsel. That is, Disney hires a law firm to handle it. For example, Disney hired Louis Ederer (link) of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (NYC) to handle a big trademark and copyright lawsuit (link to opinion). When Disney sued VidAngel, Disney hired Kelly Klaus (link) of Munger Tolles and Olson LLP. Of course, they didn't just hire one person at those firms but a team of attorneys. Disney appears to hire the top attorneys at the top firms when it comes to intellectual property (I'm hitting top 20 firms in the world when I search for who they hire on the court's dockets). They probably hire more local, but still great firms, for personal injury at a theme park for example.

My guess is that Disney handles transactional items in-house. Here is a link to legal internship at Disney Careers (link). And here is another (not JD associated) (link). The later is a Contract Administration Intern, Studio – Fall 2018. They must have one of those positions a lot. They are in Burbank, California.

Note: Disney's "legal department" is going to be split into a number of places. For example, there is a business and legal affairs department at Disney Theatrical Group, the business unit of the Walt Disney Company responsible for the company’s Broadway, domestic and international live stage play business. Disney Theatrical’s business includes 9 worldwide companies of “The Lion King,” Aladdin which opened in 2014, and musicals in development including shows based on Frozen and The Princess Bride. They are located in New York.

You could also be part of the legal department at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort or help with Workers Compensation in Kissimmee, Florida or how about working at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. They may well have legal internships there.

So, if it were me, and I don't care where I live, here is what I do: Focus on Burbank, California, in general. Also figure out what areas of Disney you most want to focus on. Sports (ESPN) is different than theater. Get a top three. Read the descriptions of the jobs at https://jobs.disneycareers.com/ and take them seriously.

Go on Linkedin and try to find people who have jobs that are similar to the ones you want. Email them politely and ask for 5-10 minutes of their time to ask what you should do to make yourself more appealing to Disney. Ask them about the general structure. Do *not* ask them to help you get a job, and do *not* ask them to tell you what to do with your life or where you should work. You should know that and you should have reasons why. If you don't, then think about that first. It's really hard for people to help if you have no idea of what you want to do other than work for "Disney." Some people will help (some won't) but they need to know what you want to do.

Some other general advice: if you don't know how to value a company or a stock or a business transaction, learn to do so. Learn how to read a SEC Form 10-k and 10-q and the other forms. Coursera has an excellent course (link) that covers accounting, which is the main aspect of those forms you'll want to be able to understand.

Disney is a publicly traded company and in is in the middle of a lot of mergers and acquisitions, not to mention trying to constantly decide whether to invest resources somewhere else (e.g., a new theme park, a new hotel, a new project). If you aren't proficient in Excel, learn it in the context of valuation (it doesn't take long). Learn Discount Cash Flow Analysis and other ways of valuing investment ideas. Unless you want to be a litigator (which really removes you from Disney and puts you in court arguing over procedure and case law), you want to be thinking about transactions including investments. The more you know about this, and the more you can talk the language of finance they talk, the more people will appreciate you.

Note this quote "Much of his [general counsel's] attention, though, is focused on even more strategic matters in the rapidly evolving entertainment and media landscape." That doesn't just mean what is the next big idea, but what are the numbers behind the next big idea. If you want to get a start on financial modeling, check out: https://www.asimplemodel.com/ or http://macabacus.com/learn

Write back below if you want more help on resources for this.

*Disney has a large number of assets, each of which may be set up as a separate company that Disney owns. See here for a list (link).
 
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  • LLG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2018
    I am starting law school in Fall 2019 and was wondering if anyone had done a gap summer internship with the legal department. I am a 2006 College Program alumni and most of the professional internships I have applied for turned me down because I did the year long program. Any information would be great. I saw that for this past summer Universal was looking for people but would love to go back to the Mouse if I can.
    I replied above. I'm not sure how DisBoards works so I thought I'd ping this way too.
     

    LLG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2018
    I would like to join this class action.
    Turns out it wasn't a class action (Link to article). The damages were predicated on the fact that he was disabled and couldn't get out.

    An attorney says a disabled man was awarded $8,000 by Disneyland after the "It's A Small World" ride broke down, stranding him for a half hour while the theme song played continuously.

    Lawyer David Geffen says Jose Martinez didn't medically stabilize for three hours after the ride broke down in 2009.

    Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the Anaheim theme park believes it provided appropriate assistance during the incident, and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.

    Geffen says Martinez uses a wheelchair, suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, which was aggravated by a need to urinate.

    Geffen says half the award ordered Friday is for pain and suffering, and the rest is for a violation of disability law. Brown says the violations have been addressed.
     

    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    I'm not sure what you mean by "legal department" so I want to give you some background. In general, there are going to be three legal parts -- each very large -- to Disney (defined below*): (1) litigation, (2) corporate and transactional, and (3) general counsel. As the term "general" implies, general counsel oversees everything as does its office (hence, in the government why you have an Attorney General and Solicitor General).

    Alan Braverman (link) is general counsel of The Walt Disney Company (appointed in January, 2003) Braverman serves as the chief legal officer of the company and oversees its team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of Disney's legal affairs around the world. Here is an article on him from Super Lawyers (link). Braverman works out of in Disney's Burbank Office, although I imagine he could probably work anywhere in the world he wants. As Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, it is reported that he made $8,391,100 in total compensation last year.

    I have no idea how large Disney's in-house counsel is (the staff that Braverman and people who work for him overseas), but it must be very large. As the Super Lawyers article states: "At an iconic company like Disney, every legal matter has the potential to be a giant news story, which, in turn, makes Disney an appealing company to sue. Over the years, Disney has been sued by a Pennsylvania woman who claimed she was groped by a Donald Duck; by a man who said he was stranded on the “it’s a small world” ride for 40 minutes; by a man who claimed a breach of contract for his contestant appearance on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, claiming that the $16,000 question—which he responded to incorrectly—was not “an absolute question with a singularly correct answer”; and by a woman who claimed her script was used to develop Desperate Housewives, citing, in part, the similarity between both works including the similar use of the word “fun” and that they both contained a red car.

    Braverman gets a report on every suit, and pays personal attention to any case with a significant financial, reputational or principle risk, such as one that might set new parameters on intellectual property protection. Much of his attention, though, is focused on even more strategic matters in the rapidly evolving entertainment and media landscape," according to the Super Lawyer article."

    For most litigation, Disney uses outside counsel. That is, Disney hires a law firm to handle it. For example, Disney hired Louis Ederer (link) of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (NYC) to handle a big trademark and copyright lawsuit (link to opinion). When Disney sued VidAngel, Disney hired Kelly Klaus (link) of Munger Tolles and Olson LLP. Of course, they didn't just hire one person at those firms but a team of attorneys. Disney appears to hire the top attorneys at the top firms when it comes to intellectual property (I'm hitting top 20 firms in the world when I search for who they hire on the court's dockets). They may hire more local, but still great firms, for personal injury at a theme park for example.

    My guess is that Disney handles transactional items in-house. Here is a link to legal internship at Disney Careers (link). And here is another (not JD associated) (link). The later is a Contract Administration Intern, Studio – Fall 2018. They must have one of those positions a lot. They are in Burbank, California.

    Note: Disney's "legal department" is going to be split into a number of places. For example, there is a business and legal affairs department at Disney Theatrical Group, the business unit of the Walt Disney Company responsible for the company’s Broadway, domestic and international live stage play business. Disney Theatrical’s business includes 9 worldwide companies of “The Lion King,” Aladdin which opened in 2014, and musicals in development including shows based on Frozen and The Princess Bride. They are located in New York.

    You could also be part of the legal department at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort or help with Workers Compensation in Kissimmee, Florida or how about working at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. They may well have legal internships there.

    So, if it were me, and I don't care where I live, here is what I do: Focus on Burbank, California, in general. Also figure out what areas of Disney you most want to focus on. Sports (ESPN) is different than theater. Get a top three. Read the descriptions of the jobs at https://jobs.disneycareers.com/ and take them seriously.

    Go on Linkedin and try to find people who have jobs that are similar to the ones you want. Email them politely and ask for 5-10 minutes of their time to ask what you should do to make yourself more appealing to Disney. Ask them about the general structure. Do *not* ask them to help you get a job, and do *not* ask them to tell you what to do with your life or where you should work. You should know that and you should have reasons why. If you don't, then think about that first. It's really hard for people to help if you have no idea of what you want to do other than work for "Disney." Some people will help (some won't) but they need to know what you want to do.

    Some other general advice: if you don't know how to value a company or a stock or a business transaction, learn to do so. Learn how to read a SEC Form 10-k and 10-q and the other forms. Coursera has an excellent course (link) that covers accounting, which is the main aspect of those forms you'll want to be able to understand.

    Disney is a publicly traded company and in is in the middle of a lot of mergers and acquisitions, not to mention trying to constantly decide whether to invest resources somewhere else (e.g., a new theme park, a new hotel, a new project). If you aren't proficient in Excel, learn it in the context of valuation (it doesn't take long). Learn Discount Cash Flow Analysis and other ways of valuing investment ideas. Unless you want to be a litigator (which really removes you from Disney and puts you in court arguing over procedure and case law), you want to be thinking about transactions including investments. The more you know about this, and the more you can talk the language of finance they talk, the more people will appreciate you. Note that what General Counsel is focused on is "Much of his attention, though, is focused on even more strategic matters in the rapidly evolving entertainment and media landscape." That doesn't just mean what is the next big idea, but what are the numbers behind the next big idea.

    Right back below if you want more help on resources for this.

    *Disney has a large number of assets, each of which may be set up as a separate company that Disney owns. See here for a list (link).
    Thank you for these hints. If I could live anywhere and afford it I would definatly look into the California offerings but I need to stay on the east coast. But I will take what you have posted into account when looking.
     
  • bananabean

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 4, 2014
    Turns out it wasn't a class action (Link to article). The damages were predicated on the fact that he was disabled and couldn't get out.

    An attorney says a disabled man was awarded $8,000 by Disneyland after the "It's A Small World" ride broke down, stranding him for a half hour while the theme song played continuously.

    Lawyer David Geffen says Jose Martinez didn't medically stabilize for three hours after the ride broke down in 2009.

    Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the Anaheim theme park believes it provided appropriate assistance during the incident, and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.

    Geffen says Martinez uses a wheelchair, suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, which was aggravated by a need to urinate.

    Geffen says half the award ordered Friday is for pain and suffering, and the rest is for a violation of disability law. Brown says the violations have been addressed.
    I was just making a joke because I’ve been stuck on Small World 3 times for over 30 minutes each time. Needless to say, I don’t ride it anymore!
     

    Musings

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2012
    I am starting law school in Fall 2019 and was wondering if anyone had done a gap summer internship with the legal department. I am a 2006 College Program alumni and most of the professional internships I have applied for turned me down because I did the year long program. Any information would be great. I saw that for this past summer Universal was looking for people but would love to go back to the Mouse if I can.
    PIs won't turn you down for doing the CP, so I am not sure where you're getting that from unless you meant in 2006. If you did a DCP recently, then yes a PI can't hire you until you've been back at school for 6 months. The longest someone can be on an internship + DCP is a year. Your 2006 CP wouldn't be why you're not getting PI offers now in 2019.
     

    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    I was just making a joke because I’ve been stuck on Small World 3 times for over 30 minutes each time. Needless to say, I don’t ride it anymore!
    I worked Small World in attractions. I kinda love to hate it. I can stand to ride it about once every three years or so now, the downside is it is my families favorite ride. So I do way more than my preferred one every two to three years.
     

    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    PIs won't turn you down for doing the CP, so I am not sure where you're getting that from unless you meant in 2006. If you did a DCP recently, then yes a PI can't hire you until you've been back at school for 6 months. The longest someone can be on an internship + DCP is a year. Your 2006 CP wouldn't be why you're not getting PI offers now in 2019.
    For the last three summers, I have applied to do a PI in the field of my major, Cyber Security. I tend to get a thank you for your application but your previous CP of 13 months means you do not fit the specifications for this position. I applied for one again this summer and have not heard back yet but on the description of the PI there is a note about one year or longer CP are not qualified for the position. Looking at the legal clerkship options for this coming summer that does not seem to be the case but I am not qualified for those yet as I have not completed a 1L year. I am not sure why most of the Disney Tech PIs have the length of CP restriction. Had I known back in 2006 that this would be the case for me today I would not have extended my program when I was asked. If you have any tips for me that could get past this hump for the PIs I keep applying to please let me know.
     
  • Musings

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2012
    I can't really give you advice about how to get a PI but please keep in mind they're pretty competitive. I did get an IT Security & Compliance PI in spring 2016. Everyone that did an IT PI had not done a CP before, I was the only one. Most of them came from top notch schools and had worked at other internships like NASA. You have to keep in mind that it is just the sheer amount of people you're competing against. The year long CP has nothing to do with your 2006 CP, they're saying that people that are currently enrolled in a CP can't apply because they can't do a 7 month CP and then do a 7 month PI. But the technology PI I did was 5 months, not 7 months. The CP line is not about past CPs, it is talking about people who are currently on the DCP. It is only relevant if you're currently on the college program. That has nothing to do with why you're not getting an offer.

    You really have to look over your resume, match it up with the key words the internship is looking for and I wrote a strong cover letter. I don't know why I got picked. I did a lot of research to work on my resume. At some point I do plan on getting a master's. But the the factor that would be considered is if you haven't done any other internships. I would make sure you have other experience - at least basic IT internship in anything because you're competing against people who have likely more than one internship. Also if you're in a master's program, make sure you're applying for graduate level PIs, not undergrad. I don't have a magic ball for advice, I only managed to get myself where I am by trial and error. Just please realize that the CP line isn't about your 2006 CP, it is only talking about current CPs. All PIs have that line because legally no one can do more than a year of internships before they have to go back to school and take a break.

    As a side note, I have been in IT Security for 3 years and my major wasn't IT security. I started off in helpdesk on campus and I had a ton of IT experience as well as an infrastructure internship. If you do not have any other previous internships, I don't think you will likely get one at Disney. Generally you need to have some sort of IT experience. I don't know your background so I can't really give you advice.

    The CP line is not about your 2006 CP. Florida law states that no student can be on an internship longer than a year. This means that if someone does a college program for 7 months and then does a PI for 5 months, they have to leave. If someone is already on a fall advantage program and then applies for a 7 month PI, they would be rejected. They COULD apply for a 5 month PI and often time if someone is on a CP, they just transfer earlier. Likewise I know someone who did 3 PIs and wasn't offered a full time position so he had to leave the company.

    My point is: the CP from 2006 has nothing to do with why you're getting rejected. That only applies to current interns.
     
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    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    I can't really give you advice about how to get a PI but please keep in mind they're pretty competitive. I did get an IT Security & Compliance PI in spring 2016. Everyone that did an IT PI had not done a CP before, I was the only one. Most of them came from top notch schools and had worked at other internships like NASA. You have to keep in mind that it is just the sheer amount of people you're competing against. The year long CP has nothing to do with your 2006 CP, they're saying that people that are currently enrolled in a CP can't apply because they can't do a 7 month CP and then do a 7 month PI. But the technology PI I did was 5 months, not 7 months. The CP line is not about past CPs, it is talking about people who are currently on the DCP. It is only relevant if you're currently on the college program. That has nothing to do with why you're not getting an offer.

    You really have to look over your resume, match it up with the key words the internship is looking for and I wrote a strong cover letter. I don't know why I got picked. I did a lot of research to work on my resume. At some point I do plan on getting a master's. But the the factor that would be considered is if you haven't done any other internships. I would make sure you have other experience - at least basic IT internship in anything because you're competing against people who have likely more than one internship. Also if you're in a master's program, make sure you're applying for graduate level PIs, not undergrad. I don't have a magic ball for advice, I only managed to get myself where I am by trial and error. Just please realize that the CP line isn't about your 2006 CP, it is only talking about current CPs. All PIs have that line because legally no one can do more than a year of internships before they have to go back to school and take a break.

    As a side note, I have been in IT Security for 3 years and my major wasn't IT security. I started off in helpdesk on campus and I had a ton of IT experience as well as an infrastructure internship. If you do not have any other previous internships, I don't think you will likely get one at Disney. Generally you need to have some sort of IT experience. I don't know your background so I can't really give you advice.

    The CP line is not about your 2006 CP. Florida law states that no student can be on an internship longer than a year. This means that if someone does a college program for 7 months and then does a PI for 5 months, they have to leave. If someone is already on a fall advantage program and then applies for a 7 month PI, they would be rejected. They COULD apply for a 5 month PI and often time if someone is on a CP, they just transfer earlier. Likewise I know someone who did 3 PIs and wasn't offered a full time position so he had to leave the company.

    My point is: the CP from 2006 has nothing to do with why you're getting rejected. That only applies to current interns.
    I hope this year goes better, I worked for Apple for 10 years between when I did my CP and going back to school. I have a ton of in industry experience and really apply to these positions as a way to work for Disney short term between school years. My school is not super well known but has one of the strongest Cyber programs in the country because we learn cyber and digital forensics. I highlighted my dual set of skills in my cover letter. I have been applying for the summer 4 month long programs and quite frankly would work in the parks seasonally if that was possible still. So while I have not had any other internships I have worked for one of the biggest names in technology. Maybe I have too much experince for an intern.
     

    Musings

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2012
    The summer internships are the most competitive to get though and I am not sure which ones you're competing against. I don't know what Apple means though - is that in a store, office security specific? Industry knowledge of technology in general? Security is an entire field on its own. The other thing to keep in mind is the PI may be geared at undergraduate and you may be considered overqualified for the ones you're applying for. I got in during the spring which is a less competitive time. You may want to address in your cover letter why you're seeking the role as you might seem overqualified for the role. Also keep in mind, if they have a current intern in the role, it may simply be that the intern extended. Again none of these tips are guaranteeing anything but I would also keep your eyes on the look out for other internships as Disney for IT generally hire pretty senior level. Internships are generally not a gateway into entry roles at IT. You might want to consider getting strong internships at Facebook and other companies and then applying when you finish your degree for a full time role.

    I would just keep applying but also consider other paths. It is really not a slight on you if you don't get an offer. I am also not sure if they offer the IT Security internship every summer, it wasn't even on the list of offerings when I applied. I was surprised I was offered one in the first place.

    Keep in mind:

    1) The current intern can always extend, so that would mean no one else would be conidered

    2) Summer internships are even harder to get than spring or fall PIs

    3) Being rejected has nothing to do with you personally. I was told about 40,000 people apply every summer. It is literally a sheer amount of people. I also was the number two choice when I was offered my PI.

    I would have a back up plan and apply to other big tech companies. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Most PIs do not lead to entry level roles, so getting experience with other companies could bolster your resume if you choose to apply with Disney later on for a full time role.
     
    Last edited:

    Musings

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2012
    On a side note, rejection notices are usually broad so I really find it hard to believe that they're rejecting you because of your 2006 program. If you're confused, I would contact the PI recruitment email and just ask them straight out now before you start applying since summer 2019 internship applications will be dropping soon if the 2006 program has anything to do with the rejection because unless they say that straight out, I highly doubt that is the reason you were't chosen.
     

    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    Oh I don't see it as anything against me personally. I am graduating in May and starting Law school in Late August. That's why I was originally asking about the legal clerkship offerings. I would love to have a summer doing actual Cybersecurity but I can also be a lifeguard at a local pool. I worked for Apple in the Genius Bar and on projects that I signed NDAs for. Suffice to say Stuxnet and Heartbleed were something I knew about for years before going back to school full time. I want to get into technology law when I get done with my Law Degree and Disney is one of the companies I would love to work for again. That being said I am also applying to the Universal internships this summer. If I don't get either I will work as a lifeguard and visit the world for a couple of weeks with my friend who is seasonal.
     

    starry_solo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2010
    Granted, I haven't looked at the description for the legal internship but wouldn't they want the applicant to be in law school already? Not one that's starting in the fall?
     

    stitchloversith

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2018
    Granted, I haven't looked at the description for the legal internship but wouldn't they want the applicant to be in law school already? Not one that's starting in the fall?
    You are right about the clerkships, I applied for a Disney Tech summer internship for this upcoming summer. If it happens then I will be happy, otherwise, I will apply for the clerkships for the 1L summer. The Law schools that I am looking at all have ties to lawyers with Disney so hopefully, that will help with gaining the clerkship.
     

    Musings

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2012
    Honestly if you want to work at Disney, the best advice I can give you is become good at whatever it is you want to do. Focus less on whether wherever you're going has Disney connections. Become excellent at your selected field, get the certifications or degrees that make you excel. Disney's corporate office tends to hire senior level people for all their openings, so for IT security, it is people with years of experience with the top certifications - CISSP, CCSP, and all that jazz. I have no clue about lawyers. Make sure you follow your dream and that dream may lead you to Disney or maybe it'll lead you elsewhere. I just want to make sure you're happy at what you do because live your best life now. :)
     

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