Intern Profiles

Featured Intern: Devin Weinberg


Devin Weinberg is a 3L at the University of Chicago Law School. Originally from South Florida, Devin previously interned with Judges Paul C. Huck and Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida. Devin received an MA in International Relations from the University of Florida and a BA in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, with minors in Theatre and History. 

Featured Intern: Alexa Tipton


Alexa Tipton is a 3L at Notre Dame Law School. Before LCA, Alexa interned at the 44th District Court in Royal Oak, Michigan where she researched how current driver’s licensing laws have led to a decrease in individuals obtaining their license, thereby increasing the number of individuals driving without their licenses and without driver’s education. Prior to that, Alexa interned at Big Machine Record Label in Nashville, TN where she had the opportunity to learn firsthand the innerworkings of the music business. Alexa received her B.A. with a major in Economics from Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Kathleen Kennedy


Kathleen is a rising 2L at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Before LCA, Kathleen interned for Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the University of Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art. She also currently volunteers with the Family Programs department at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Before law school, Kathleen received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Education, Schooling, and Society from the University of Notre Dame and worked as an editor in Chicago. 

Marisa C. Schutz


Marisa Schutz is one of three LCA interns this semester. Marisa is a rising 2L at UIC John Marshall Law School where she works as a student attorney in the UIC John Marshall Law School Trademark Clinic. Before LCA Marisa interned for FOX News at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and with Hillary for America during the Fall 2016 Presidential Campaign. Marisa received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in music from Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania.

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Alex Karana is one of three LCA interns this semester. Alex is a graduating 3L at UIC John Marshall Law School. Before LCA, Alex served as a student attorney at the John Marshall’s Patent Clinic. Currently, Alex is the Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Intellectual Property Law at UIC John Marshall and also serves as a judicial extern at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Before law school, Alex worked in the automotive industry and holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University ‘13. 

Q: Many of our interns come to us with unique backgrounds in the arts. Do you have any personal background in the arts?
A: I am originally from Detroit, MI, and I grew up playing classical piano.  Last summer, I learned how to use Ableton, a digital audio workstation. Since then, I’ve been making some electronic beats in my spare time.  I’ve always had a passion for music and one of my favorite things to do is attend music concerts. Some of my favorite concerts I’ve been to have been Eminem & Jay-z, Flume, and Bassnectar.  Naturally, my interests in copyright law and the music industry grew out of my passion for music and LCA was a great way to get the arts back into my life.

How did you hear about LCA?
I heard about LCA during my 2L year in law school after taking entertainment law.  I learned more about it when I took a music transactions class and my professor talked about how LCA was a great way to get into the art community in Chicago.  Being from Detroit, LCA has been a great way to make new friends in Chicago. 

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?
I expected to do a bit of research in entertainment law but I never expected to directly interact with so many different artists. I’ve talked to actresses, non-profits, authors, graphic designers, and inventors.  I was able to help out a number of musicians which was what I wanted to do most.  But I didn’t expect to talk to so many.  There are so many artists that need legal help and it was very enjoyable for me to help get them legal aid.  LCA’s clients are also extremely appreciative which made it more enjoyable.  

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?
Having an engineering background, I started law school with intentions to practice patent.  I never had a chance to take trademarks or copyright, but LCA allowed me to gain experience in both those areas–mainly from clients but also from researching law in the arts.  

A lot of LCA’s clients, don’t just have IP issues.  A lot of contract law and business law issues arise too. Speaking directly with clients allowed me to apply a lot of what I learned in my law school classes to help the artists get the help they need.

Do you have any favorite moments or projects from your time with us? 
Getting to see and meet the Sklar brothers with Jan our Executive Director. They were hilarious.  I also miss our lunches with the team before the pandemic started.  

What’s next for you? Has your time at LCA helped you to narrow your options?
I am hoping to start off my career in IP litigation or transactional practice.  LCA has actually widened my scope as I would love to practice all IP areas.  Eventually, I’m hoping to practice in the technology, sports, and entertainment industries.  I’ve always wanted to start my own firm in those areas, so we’ll see where my career takes me. It’ll definitely be somewhere in Intellectual Property, if not most of it.

Do you plan to volunteer with LCA once you have your degree?
For sure! I plan on joining on as an Associate Board member and using my law degree to help some future LCA clients. 

What value does an organization like LCA add to the arts community?
LCA provides a ton to the arts community besides helping artists find legal help.  LCA does a fantastic job of educating the community by holding legal workshops and creating online legal resources for artists.  As an intern, I helped do some research for these.  Beyond the arts community, LCA does a great job at helping others set up non-profits in the community. It’s almost like an LCA is an incubator for non-profits.    

What's a fun fact about you? 
I’m a first-generation Chaldean-American.  Both my parents are Catholic-Iraqi immigrants and we speak Aramaic at home, which is one of the oldest languages in the world.

Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
I recently finished the book Creative Quest by DJ Questlove from the Roots.  I highly recommend it and it’s an easy read.  He talks about his career and what made him successful from an arts perspective.  He also discusses his process for actually creating art whether it is music, painting, or culinary arts.  I found a lot of his recommendations to be insightful and actually very applicable to other areas, even law. 


 

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Zahra Zavari is one of three LCA interns this semester. Zahra is currently a 3L at Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before LCA, Zahra served as a student attorney at the Children’s Legal Center and as a Law Clerk at Meltzer Hellrung. At Chicago-Kent Zahra was also an Entrepreneurship Research Assistant with supervising attorney Heather Harper. Zahra also currently serves as a legal extern with Saper Law.

Many of our interns come to us with unique backgrounds in the arts. Do you have any personal background in the arts?
I played violin as a child and have always loved clay sculpture and glass art. As I got older, I grew interested in fashion and its intersection with the law. It’s a very interesting area that comprises of various types of intellectual property including copyright, trademark, and design patents. I also find the entrepreneurial aspect of building a brand incredibly interesting from a legal standpoint.

How did you hear about LCA?
I was looking for opportunities in the arts in the Chicago area. I actually learned about LCA from Thomas Key (a former intern) and later talked to one of my professors about getting involved in the arts community. Both strongly encouraged me to pursue an opportunity at LCA.

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?
What’s most surprising is the scope of the work and number of matters that we accept. I expected there to be artists and musicians, but so many of our clients are documentary filmmakers or people who are working on forming a nonprofit. It’s been wonderful to see how much business can intersect with the arts, which happens to be a major interest of mine.

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?
There has been the most overlap in trademark and copyright. I’m also finding some parallels with the work I’ve been doing at Saper Law this term. The work here is slightly different; at Saper Law I draft contracts and motions, whereas here, I have the opportunity to speak directly with the clients to understand and identify their issues. Working at both LCA and Saper Law simultaneously, I’ve had a chance to see both sides of the process.

Do you have any favorite moments or projects from your time with us? 
It has been really interesting learning more about the needs of the arts community in Chicago. Some of my favorite projects have been working with documentary film makers and entrepreneurs of all kinds to get their ideas in motion. Intakes have allowed me to learn so much about the growing stages of artists.

I also really loved the lunches we shared as a team. Towards the beginning of my time here we managed to get all of the interns and staff together for a lunch. It was a great opportunity to talk about what to expect in this internship and in the legal world generally.

Everyone on staff is incredibly kind and encouraging. I’ve learned a great deal from the research projects I have been assigned and I love that much of our work is very hands on.  Not all legal institutions have those opportunities.

What’s next for you? Has your time at LCA helped you to narrow your options?
I’m hoping to work in Intellectual Property, especially as it relates to fashion or entertainment. In general, I think my work here at LCA led me to explore other areas that I’m now even more interested in. Initially, I was mostly focused on fashion; I had thought about film and music, but now I think about these areas so much more.

Most people don’t realize how much Arts law integrates so many of these different areas of law. You mostly hear about the copyright and trademark issues, but there are so many areas that all intersect. It’s important to think of Arts law in this more holistic way than as just an area dominated by Intellectual Property.

Do you plan to volunteer with LCA once you have your degree?
Yes, definitely! And even if I don’t end up in Chicago, then I’ll probably look into volunteering with a local VLA wherever I end up.

What value does an organization like LCA add to the arts community?
Besides providing legal services, I think organizations like LCA are important because they expose the fact that so many smaller artists are being exploited by larger organizations. We have to do everything we can to minimize this exploitation and raise awareness. I don’t think most people see the arts as an area where people are particularly vulnerable to such abuses and oppression, but it is a huge issue. LCA and organizations alike are essential components to protecting the rights of artists.   

What's a fun fact about you? 
I’m from Singapore! My mom and I moved to Chicago when I was 8 years old. It has been a pretty big culture shift growing up here. Many of my aunts and uncles are attorneys in Singapore and they have definitely played a role in my interests in the law. 

Which tv-show/movie/song/book have you recently finished that you would recommend?
I have always been obsessed with crime TV shows. Some of my favorites include Broachchurch, Seven Seconds, and Law & Order. More recently I’ve been hooked on Safe and The Fall.

Thank you for telling us more about yourself! Do you have anything else that you want to add?
I’ve really enjoyed working here and I truly appreciate the immense value LCA contributes to artists all over Chicago.


 

Claire Henleben

Claire Henleben is one of two LCA interns this semester. Claire is a 3L at Loyola University of Chicago Law School and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in history and political science. Before LCA, Claire was a research assistant for Professor James Gathii at Loyola and interned for the Clerk of the Court in the Dirksen Federal building and in the Chicago Field Office for the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to her assistance with client intake, Claire was especially helpful in helping us prepare for a lecture about legacy in the arts community with the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art. 

 

Start by telling us a little about yourself. What led you to pursue the law?

I’m one of those people who always knew law was what I wanted to do. I was usually on speech and debate, so law seemed like a natural fit. Outside of being a law student, I am a lifelong artist and performer. I learned acrylic painting from my grandmother and I also performed in a ballet company all the way through high school. After some time away from the arts, I wanted to bring the arts back into my life, which is what brought me here to LCA.

 

How did you hear about LCA?

I actually learned about LCA through a Google search! I knew that I wanted to do an internship in the Fall and I wanted to do something in an area that I’m passionate about. LCA showed up as the premier—really the only organization of its kind in this area—so it’s been a good fit.

 

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?

Before LCA, I had never worked in a legal aid context before, so I looked forward to working more closely with clients in a way that I’ve never done before. Most of my previous internships were research and writing based. This has been much more hands-on with personal interactions with people who I know are directly benefitting from the work that we do.

It has been especially gratifying to see the whole process unfold—from the initial call and referral, and then eventually seeing that the case has been closed and we’ve helped resolve another case. Something else that has surprised me has been the level of gratitude from our clients. Most are just looking for some validation for their concerns, some respect. The fact that I’ve been able to hear some of these people’s stories has been incredible.

 

Do you have a favorite experience from your time with us?

The benefit was definitely a highlight because I hadn’t really done anything like that before. I loved being involved in some of the planning process and eventually being able to go and see the number of people who care about the work that LCA does. We’re based here in the office most days, so seeing how many people are invested in this organization was exciting.


What’s next for you? Has your time here impacted your plans for your legal career?

Passing the bar exam is the most immediate hurdle, but I eventually hope to go into estate planning. I would like to stay in the area and continue doing pro bono work with LCA. I definitely don’t see the end of my internship here as the end of my involvement with this organization.

 

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?

I’ve had several opportunities involving estate law, which is one of the areas of law that I’m most interested in. These opportunities have come both in the work I’ve been doing with some of our clients, but also through some of the research I was able to do for our educational programming.

Besides the practical experience I’ve gained from working on matters related to estate law, I also had several opportunities to learn more about Intellectual Property, which I didn’t know as much about before this semester. On top of this exposure to IP, I’m also taking my first courses in IP this semester, so what I’m doing here has lined up very well with those courses.

 

Do you have any more comments about your time here?

I’ve adored the spectacular view from my office! Honestly, it’s wonderful to share an office with other people. In most of my earlier internships I was the lone intern, but it’s been such a great atmosphere here with the staff and Thomas, our other intern.

My experience here at LCA really showed me that I do want to continue working for artists and performers in such a meaningful way.

 

Thomas Key

Thomas Key is our second Fall 2019 intern. Thomas is a 3L at Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Political Science and History. Before LCA, Thomas served as a compliance intern at Upright Law and also interned with Chapekis Chapekis & Schmidt. Thomas contributed to several LCA research projects and was always eager to take on new and interesting issues. We wish Thomas the very best of luck as he completes his JD and continues his journey in the law.

 

Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to pursue the law?

I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then moved around a lot with my family. Now I’d say that I’ve found my home on the Great Lakeshore.

After undergrad, I went to law school because I wanted to apply my skills in research, argumentation, and writing to helping people and solving problems. Outside of school I’m a hockey player, hiker, cyclist and history buff.

 

I understand that you also DJ?

Yes! In high school I became interested in DJing because of how it allows you to blend hip-hop and electronic styles. It all started with my first deck, which was handed down to me by my brother, and a couple of speakers in my dorm freshman year—but I eventually expanded to DJing formals and larger parties.

These experiences led me to see how law connects with music, especially when it comes to copyright. I remember asking myself several times “is any of this even legal?”

 

How did you hear about LCA?

I learned about LCA through one of my Professors who worked with LCA’s counterpart in New York, VLANY. He described his experiences working with a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organization (VLA) as one of the best experiences in his early career and strongly recommended finding a way to get involved.

 

What did you expect? Did anything here surprise you?

I expected to be involved with clients directly, but not so directly. But I mean that’s been one of the best parts. You get to see the whole process –dive right in and really help a lot of people. I guess I also didn’t expect the level of joy and gratitude from our clients. I am amazed to see the instincts that so many of our clients have about what is just and what is unjust. Despite imprecision and lack of knowledge of some of the specifics, there’s a strong sense of what is right and wrong, which I find so refreshing.

 

Thomas, the ever-hardworking intern, pauses our interview here to answer the phone and work with a client on intake.

 

Do you have a favorite experience from your time with us?

This happened several times, but probably those circumstances where something I had just learned in class happened to be the key to unlocking this person’s problem and getting them out from under a substantial amount of liability. I’ve also had some great opportunities to continue doing research in areas I love, including projects involving the DMCA and, of all things, choreography.

 

What’s next for you?

I’d like to be working primarily in copyright, trademark and litigation in the Arts and Entertainment industry, but I also have some interest in commercial litigation. I intend to continue to research and write about emerging developments in law and continue to educate people about the law. Longer term, I would like to go back to school for an LLM and ultimately work toward a professorship.

 

Has your time at LCA helped narrow the areas of law you plan to pursue?

One of the reasons why arts law is such an exciting area of the law is that every issue is unique and draws from different areas of laws. Because we work in so many different areas, my time at LCA has actually broadened some of my interests. I already had an interest in copyright, but I had much less experience in labor, contract, and landlord-tenant issues, all of which I’ve had some more exposure to during my time here.

 

How has your experience at LCA connected with what you’ve been learning in law school?

For all the joy that you get out of studying law, there is nothing comparable to actually applying it in this type of setting. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is to recognize the distinction between what the law provides and what people want from it. I’ve seen how it’s often the case that the law won’t efficiently provide people with a sufficient remedy. In some cases this has been disheartening, but just knowing the level of help that we are able to provide really underlines the importance of considering these legal rights from the perspective of those with less access to legal resources.

 

What has it been like to work with the LCA Staff?

It’s been wonderful. It’s amazing to see what such a lean staff can do year in year out. There’s a real hands-on culture here that I love. Everyone is such a pleasure to work with and I can’t emphasize enough what a joy it is to work with people who are so dedicated to a common goal. You don’t always see that.

In general, I’d say that providing education and seminars is one of the most invaluable resources out there. After you get out of school it’s hard to find opportunities to continue to educate yourself, so the fact that LCA can provide this legal groundwork to so many can’t be understated. That education component is all the more important because it can potentially put people in positions where they might not even need assistance. It’s very proactive of LCA and its staff to be thinking so much about that.

 

Do you hope to volunteer with LCA once are admitted to the bar?

Yes, undeniably. Even if I don’t end up in Chicago, I would find another VLA to work with—I even have a spreadsheet of other VLAs around the country.

 

Finally, I understand that you contribute to an IP blog involving cats! Can you tell me more about that?

I am a “GuestKat” at IPKat, a law blog out of London that has been rated as the world’s Most Popular Intellectual Property Law Blawg by Justia. The sight mostly features discussions of Intellectual Property from a European perspective, but it’s still an interesting blend of European and American issues being discussed by academics who are passionate about all things IP--and who regularly adorn cat photos to their posts. That last bit gives some degree of levity to some pretty heavy topics.

Eleanora Rosati, one of the blog’s key contributors, lectured for one of my classes and I have been contributing regular articles ever since. The first piece I wrote addressed sampling in Europe from an American perspective. (check it out here) and I’ve continued to write about other IP developments in the US.

 

Do you have any other comments that you would like to share?

Even very early in your legal career there are ways to be involved with LCA and benefit the arts community in Chicago. We have this unbelievable arts scene here that needs the legal community. The amount of clients who have emailed me links to all kinds of events after we’ve finished intake is proof of this. The level of immersion in the arts that you get in the city is unbelievable. There’s more of it than you could ever consume and it deserves our attention.