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Matthew Regan '15 entered law school loving the entertainment business. However, the rising third year JD/MBA student knew media law jobs are tough to get, and if he mentioned it to anyone, they treated him as if he was dreaming too high. Nevertheless, with much academic perseverance and networking his dream came true, and he obtained a summer internship with DreamWorks Animation’s Business and Legal Affairs team.
In Los Angeles for the summer, Regan helps draft, write and review contracts between DreamWorks and actors, writers, production services companies and others involved with creating a television program.
“Everyone I work with is extremely fun and extremely talented; they are inspiring,” he said. “The thing I wanted to do was transactional law in the entertainment industry and this is exactly that.”
With great enthusiasm, he expressed appreciation for this internship explaining that transactional law experience while in law school, especially in the entertainment industry, is rare. As the only legal interns in the television department at DreamWorks , Regan directly interacts with the attorneys every day.
“As far as career paths, this is giving me exposure to what I want to do,” he said. “This is 100 percent transactional law, and I’m the only legal intern for my department, so I get a lot of one on one interaction with the attorneys I’m working for.”
The TV show “Entourage” lured him into following a career in entertainment, and with a B.S. in Criminology, he already had an interest in the law. However, he only discovered transactional law after his first year in law school, when he interned at a company in Singapore.
“When I first started law school, I wasn’t aware of the difference between litigation and transactional work,” he said. “During my internship (in Singapore) that’s when I realized the difference, because the firm did both and I understood it with more clarity. It was a short internship, but eye-opening, and so during my second year of law school, I knew I wanted to pursue transactional work.”
During law school, Regan writes for the law review and serves on the board of Housing Transitions, a State College non-profit group, as part of The Law School’s community outreach program partnering law students with local non-profits. However, with his internships, and school activities, he stresses the importance on law school academics first.
He knows this advice sounds cliché, but from his experience realizes the importance of law students to establish themselves academically to encounter more opportunities. After focusing on academics, he turned his efforts to gaining transactional law exposure in a corporation, the more practical path, almost giving up his dream of entertainment law.
“I went to see Professor Sechler and almost didn’t mention entertainment law,” he said. “I talked to him about going into corporate transactional work, and offhand mentioned my dream of entertainment law. He did some networking for me, put me in touch with someone, who put me in touch with someone else, and it was this sort of six-degrees of separation and a lot of networking, which finally got me an interview with DreamWorks.”
Professor Phil Sechler came to teach at University Park in summer 2013 after partnership at the Washington D.C. firm Williams and Connonlly where he litigated high profile cases. The Penn State alum previously taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Mason University School of Law. His courses include Advocacy I, Evidence, Evidence Seminar: Testimonial Privileges, and Professional Responsibility.
“He is an amazing professor and mentor,” Regan said.
While Regan realizes he still has two years until graduation, he continues to focus on a plan he created for himself. This plan includes the career goal of transactional-media law with any of the firms in the industry.
Regan achieved his success by holding on to his dreams, and advises new law students to do the same. He established himself academically, but also created a career plan and put that plan into action
“You can’t rely on what everyone else is doing, or the class mentality of ‘I have to get a job/internship by this time, or this place is not interviewing from our school.’ Create your own plan of what you want to do and where you want to be,” he said. “Don’t limit yourself.”