Student Resources

Arts Law Externship

This course provides students with practical experience in intellectual property, entertainment and nonprofit law as they assist staff attorneys at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) in their representation of artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Through class discussions and journals, students reflect on the wide variety of clients and issues they encounter in their fieldwork, and engage in critical thinking about the role that law and lawyers can play in the arts and entertainment world.

The Arts Law Externship consists of three components: a weekly two hour seminar; a fieldwork placement at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, at which students work for 10 hours per week; and two out-of-class simulated exercises, in client counseling and contract negotiation.


Each year, The Kernochan Center facilitates summer internships with nonprofit institutions focused on media and arts law.  Kernochan Center interns receive a stipend to work for approximately 10 weeks on legal matters in the legal department of an arts or media organization with which the center has made an internship arrangement.  Each organization involved selects its own interns from the pool of applicants.

In past summers, interns have worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, Wikimedia, the Dramatists' Guild, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, National Public Radio (NPR) and public television stations in New York and Los Angeles. In 2014, students are applying to positions at over 20 different organizations.  While we cannot guarantee every applicant an internship, we do our best to assist interested students in obtaining a summer position.

Eligibility: Only J.D. candidates in their first or second year at Columbia Law School are eligible.  Past successful candidates have been able to demonstrate an interest in either nonprofit work or the arts.  There is no mandatory undergraduate major and most intern coordinators are not interested in grades; what they seek are students committed to learning about the nonprofit sector and how a nonprofit organization balances the needs of the artistic community with the business aspects of a corporation.