SPLC Summer Media Law & Policy Institute

June 15 – July 15, 2021. Online.

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About the Institute

The 2021 SPLC Summer Media Law & Policy Institute is a five-week online training institute which will explore the legal framework and emerging issues of law, ethics and policy surrounding media law and press freedom. The Institute will run online from June 15 to July 15 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

The Institute will not only focus on substantive law, but will also examine how law works in practice, grappling with questions of ethics, policy and advocacy. Taught by media law experts from across the country, most days will be structured with a combination of lectures, discussions with practitioners and interactive exercises. Each day will consist of a 75-minute session and will be taught via Zoom. Students will participate in an advocacy skills workshop, and during the final week of the Institute, students will participate in a Moot Court competition judged by a prestigious panel. 

Although the Institute will be taught online, the number of participants will be capped to maximize student participation. Each workshop will provide an opportunity to interact and network with well-known media lawyers, policy experts, academics and journalists. Participants will be expected to complete roughly one hour of reading per night. They will also prepare a closed-packet moot court brief and oral argument. At this point, academic credit for the program cannot be conferred; however each participant who successfully completes the course will be given a certificate of participation.

Students will graduate from the Institute with a deeper knowledge of a range of media law issues. They will also have a written brief that can be used as writing sample, a network in the field of media law and a practical understanding of key legal and ethical issues of our time.

Topics will include: 

  • Introduction to the First Amendment 
  • Media Law 101
  • Open Government and Access to Information
  • Libel, Slander and Defamation
  • Student Press Freedom
  • Threats to Press Freedom
  • Global Hot Topics: Data Privacy and Tech
  • Protecting Press Freedom through Litigation, Policy or Advocacy 
  • Media Law from the Perspective of Journalists

Who is eligible to participate?

Applications from current law students, 2021 law school graduates, and advanced undergraduates with a strong interest in law school will be considered. We are looking for students with a demonstrated interest in media law. Students from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Tuition

Tuition is $750 for the entire Institute. Generous scholarships are available. Ability to pay tuition should not be a deterrent to applying to and participating in the program. 

Deadline to apply

Applications are due by Saturday, May 1, 2021. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program. 

Participant Testimonials

Apply now:

Applying is a simple two step process. First, fill out our application form. Then, have someone submit a recommendation on your behalf. Applications close after May 1, 2021. Selected participants will be notified.

FAQs:

Are scholarships available?  Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, scholarships are available. Ability to pay tuition should not be a deterrent to applying to or participating in the Institute.

Is the Institute appropriate for law students? Yes. The Institute will be taught at a level appropriate for law students. Students from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. 

I’m not in law school, can I still apply?  Yes. The Institute will be taught at a level appropriate for law students but motivated undergrads with an interest in law are also eligible to participate. We are looking for students with demonstrated interest in media law. Students from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. 

How will the Moot Court Competition work? At the end of the first week of the Institute, students will be given the Moot Court problem and a closed research packet. Outside research will not be required. Each student will be assigned to a team, and each team will draft and submit a written brief and prepare an oral argument which will be presented during the last week of the Institute. A prestigious panel of media lawyers and judges will judge the final round of the Moot Court.  

How will each day be structured? Each day will consist of one 75-minute session and will be taught via Zoom. Most days will be structured with a combination of lectures, discussions with practitioners and interactive exercises.  

Can I get school credit for the Institute? No. At this point, academic credit for the program cannot be conferred, but each participant who successfully completes the course will be given a certificate of participation.

How much additional work will there be? Participants will be assigned approximately one hour of reading per evening. In addition, students will work in teams to prepare a written brief and oral arguments for the Moot Court Competition which will take place during the last week of the Institute. 

Will the Institute be worth my time and money? Definitely. This first-of-its-kind Institute will provide motivated students with an excellent opportunity to grapple with cutting-edge issues in media law and explore some of the struggles that journalists and media lawyers are dealing with today. The Institute will be fun and interactive and will provide you with an important and prestigious credential as you continue your education and engage in your eventual job search. 

Learn more about the 2020 Institute:

2020 marked the inaugural year of SPLC’s Summer Media Law and Policy Institute. Meet the participants from our inaugural year and read about the moot court results.

The moot court competition is a chance for students to apply what they’ve learned over the course of the Institute in an exciting competition judged by an impressive panel of legal experts, including circuit and district court judges.

In 2020, Students were asked to evaluate whether a public university violated the First Amendment rights of two student journalists when they attempted to cover a story on campus. The students had to write a 10-page brief on the issues and compete in several rounds of oral argument before media law practitioners and judges.