(L to R) Front Row: Art Neill, Shaun A. Spalding '11; Back Row: Alex Johnson, CWSL Student Lauren Brady, Toon Tawanna
(Katrina Julian not pictured)
New Media Rights Joins California Western School of Law
Nonprofit internet and media rights center joins other legal programs focused on the underserved
SAN DIEGO, July 27, 2012 - California Western School of Law is pleased to announce that New Media Rights―a San Diego-based nonprofit that provides free and reduced-fee legal assistance to internet users and technology and media entrepreneurs―is now a program of the law school.
New Media Rights joins other distinguished legal programs at California Western, including the California Innocence Project and Community Law Project, which share a focus on individuals without access to legal services.
About New Media Rights
Founded by attorney Art Neill in 2007, New Media Rights offers one-to-one assistance and education for independent creative entrepreneurs, journalists, and internet users. New Media Rights also takes part in regulatory proceedings at the FCC and U.S. Copyright Office to shape policy and regulation around internet and copyright issues.
“Individuals and startups face the same legal challenges as large media companies, but don’t have a big legal staff on call,” says Neill. “Our focus is on those who will benefit from―but do not otherwise have access to―this kind of legal assistance. The goal is to ensure that people don’t run into legal issues because they couldn’t afford an initial legal consultation.”
Expanding practical experience for students
The program provides additional opportunities for California Western students to gain the kind of hands-on legal skills new attorneys need to find their place in the profession. The law school has been recognized nationally for its STEPPS program, which allows second-year students to develop client interaction and professional responsibility skills that lay the foundation for a career in the law. In their third year, upwards of 80% of students participate in the school’s Clinical Internship Program, through which they assist law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies with legal cases and policy work.
“We are delighted that our students will have the opportunity to work in this important area of law and to provide a valuable service to our community,” says William Aceves, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law. “We look forward to welcoming the New Media Rights team to our law school community.”
History of collaboration
This program grows out of a history of collaboration between the project and the law school. Executive Director Neill serves as an adjunct professor teaching Internet & Social Media Law at California Western, and the project frequently brings on California Western students as interns and law clerks to work on cases.
“We heavily rely on law students who have a passion for internet and media law since the demand for our services grows every day. Most of the law students we’ve worked with from California Western also have creative or technical backgrounds. This is particularly helpful because those students understand the unique creative and technical issues that the individuals who need our services face,” says Neill. “Law students allow us to be more productive and effective, and in return they receive unique, practical education in cutting edge areas of the law. We’re always trying to find new ways to empower students to help us help the community.”
Strong tradition of Community Engagement
New Media Rights’ focus on representing those who lack access to legal services reflects California Western’s commitment to community engagement and pro bono service.
California Western’s strong public service program has been recognized with inclusion on President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for three consecutive years, and by the State Bar of California, which presented the law school with the President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2010.