Janelle Smith

Summer Job Diaries: Advancing Negotiation Skills at BET Networks

Janelle Smith
Janelle Smith '16

Janelle Smith '16 is spending her summer as an extern at BET Networks in Business and Legal Affairs where she works closely with attorneys drafting contracts that touch upon a variety of areas in the entertainment law field and seeing first-hand how negotiations in the industry work.

How did you land your summer job?

I applied for an internship at BET Networks in Business and Legal Affairs in fall 2015 through the Career Development Center’s job board. I interviewed and received an offer,  but ended up accepting a different internship.  The attorneys contacted me in spring 2016 and asked me to join them for the Spring semester.  I was hired full time as a Contracts Manager on the same team this summer and my position is anticipated to extend after I take the bar exam next February.

How did the Career Development Center help you secure the position?

Thanks to the regular postings by the Career Development Center, I was able to apply for the internship that led to my current position.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Although I thoroughly enjoy drafting contracts, learning about the nuances involved in Scripted Television and the different entertainment guild rules is the most interesting part of my job.  Using these terms correctly in a contract and observing my supervising attorneys negotiate deals is fascinating.  Regularly seeing celebrities in the office is also fun.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?

The most challenging assignment thus far was researching a guild requirement for a deal and figuring out the best way to handle distributing a credit for a writer's work on a show.  

What new legal skill(s) have you acquired during your summer job?

Negotiation is a major part of what the Business and Legal Affairs team does and it has exposed me to real-life experience outside of the classroom. I have taken a Negotiations course but, I have now learned exactly how those skills apply in negotiations with outside attorneys and agents in the entertainment field.

How has your Loyola education helped you make a difference in your placement?

Loyola alumni are very good about taking care of Loyola students. I am very fortunate to have my supervising attorney, who is a Loyola alumna,  mentor me and act as an advocate for me in  the office and my career.

What LLS courses have you found most helpful to your position? Please explain.

Contracts, Legal Drafting, and Intro to Negotiations have been the most helpful courses I have taken at Loyola related to this position.  Contracts helped me identify parts of an agreement that I should be aware of while drafting and reviewing.  Legal Drafting helped me with brevity in my writing and being as concise and clear as possible.  Intro to Negotiations helped me identify different styles and anticipate counters from other attorneys or agents.

In what additional ways has Loyola helped you map your career path?   

I have been fortunate to build a strong network of Loyola alumni.  These relationships have helped define my career path and the guidance they have given me is invaluable.  In addition, Loyola faculty have been instrumental in helping me choose the right courses as an evening student and supportive when I occasionally have difficulty managing both work and school.