Career Paths: 2L Julianne Freeman on her Summer Handling the Business of Major League Baseball
Julianne Freeman is a 2L at Washington and Lee. She spent this past summer as a legal intern at Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. in New York, NY. She is a staffwriter for the Washington and Lee Law Review, and serves as the treasurer for the Latin American Law Students Association. Next summer, she will work at Norfolk Southern Corporation in Norfolk, VA as a Law Clerk.
This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work as a legal intern at Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball takes about a hundred interns, mostly undergraduate students and a few law students, across the Office of the Commissioner and its other entities. I was a legal intern at Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., which handles the “business side of baseball.” I worked in the Legal and Business Affairs Department, which handles matters like trademark enforcement and licensing agreements for Baseball.
Some of my projects included drafting cease and desist letters to be sent to parties infringing Baseball’s trademarks, drafting license agreements, and researching developing copyright issues such as exceptions to rights of publicity. All of these projects entailed intensive legal research and writing. I was exposed to a wide variety of work done by the Legal & Business Affairs Department, which was a valuable part of the experience because I saw the many ways that such a department impacts a company.
One of the most important new skills I developed during this experience was the ability to accurately and efficiently identify a client’s needs in a given matter. While this may seem self-explanatory, I learned the importance of considering both long- and short-term needs before acting on behalf of a client. This ability to identify a client’s needs was important in an in-house position, where attorneys represent the client in a wide variety of matters, but it would be incredibly valuable in nearly any legal position.
The legal education I received during my first year was invaluable this summer. Because so many of my projects required research, I was grateful for the intensive training I received from my Burks Scholars, and I had countless opportunities to further develop my research skills. Additionally, I was able to draw upon my first year writing courses when drafting documents, understanding the importance of word choice, sentence structure, and conciseness. Drafting these documents, which were largely unfamiliar to me before this summer, allowed me to understand in practice the different tones required for different audiences. Having never taken any trademark or copyright law courses, I learned those concepts while doing the work. However, the critical thinking skills I developed during my first year at W&L helped me to learn these new concepts and apply them to whatever matter I was working on.
I was drawn to this position because I had heard wonderful things about the internship program at Major League Baseball, and my expectations (which were incredibly high) were far exceeded. Aside from providing interns with interesting and challenging work, Baseball conducted programming nearly every week that enhanced the summer experience. Executives from different departments spoke to the class of interns over lunch, providing insights and answering questions. These events were valuable because it gave each intern a sense of what other departments did, and the speaker would often detail his or her career path. Additionally, within my department, the attorneys were wonderful, providing mentorship and always available to answer questions.
My legal internship with Major League Baseball confirmed my idea that I would like to work as in-house counsel in the future. I enjoyed working for one client, and I thrived in an environment where the legal work was part of a larger organization and not the sole source of profits, while still being interesting and challenging work.