October 21, 2016

Profile: An Extern in D.C.

Eric Chapman ’17 spent his summer working for Free Press

Each summer, over 100 Lewis & Clark law students complete externships in the U.S. and abroad. Here, we we ask third-year student Eric Chapman a few questions about his experience working for Free Press in Washington, DC this summer.

How did you learn of the internship at Free Press?

I found the internship on multiple online sources as I researched positions dealing with media, privacy, and first amendment law.

Why were you interested in applying for it?

I was interested in the matters with which Free Press engaged. Free Press had actively fought for net neutrality, against media consolidation, and for local journalism. The internship offered the possibility to engage in similar issues that are currently before the courts and administrative agencies. To top it all off, Washington D.C. offers incredible networking opportunities.

What type of work did you do in your position and what responsibilities did you have?

My tasks ranged from short research assignments to tackling drafting administrative filings. It was fulfilling knowing that the work with which I was engaged was actually being used to support Free Press’ efforts, and that it could potentially persuade policy development. I also wrote blogs on a couple of different issues, which thanks to Free Press’ active online presence, I know were well received by the public. In addition to the office work, I also attended congressional hearings, ex parte and public meetings at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), and numerous panels and events.

What are the most significant, or rewarding, things you were able to work on?

One of the most rewarding projects I worked on regarded a proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to add a question to forms filled out by non-immigrant visitors to the U.S. prior to entry. The proposed question would request that applicants provide their social media identifiers and associated social media platforms.

I started by simply researching the CBP’s proposal and seeing what, if any, issues were pertinent to Free Press. After writing a memorandum on my findings, I attended a meeting on behalf of Free Press to discuss the proposal with other interested organizations, drafted a blog on the proposal’s issues, and ultimately had my named attached to comments filed with CBP by Free Press.

Have you, or are you planning to, participate in any other externships or practical skills while in law school?

During the summer after my 1L year, continuing into the fall of 2L year, I interned in the General Counsel’s office at Oregon Public Broadcasting. This past summer I also began working as a legal research assistant for Andy Johnson-Laird, a forensic software analyst.

What did you do in your spare time this summer?

Everything from visiting the White House to attending a panel discussion on the politics of Star Trek.

By staying at the International Student House of Washington, D.C. I spent my days with people from around the world, sharing stories, discussing world events, debating issues ranging from the fate of humanity to conspiracy theories, and attending many great events. Among the events included the National Air and Space Museum’s 40th anniversary all-nighter, a music video debut at the Uruguay Embassy, Hofstra University’s Astronomy Festival on the National Mall, and visiting the many museums and monuments D.C. has to offer.