Downtime is not something Laura James (J.D./MBA ’22) knows much about. Not only is James balancing her personal life with her studies at Georgia State Law and Robinson College of Business, but she also has a full-time job as a freelance content producer at CNN Newsource. From sourcing live coverage to pitching local stories to show teams, James’ job is something she enjoys and didn’t want to give up to earn her law degree. Instead, she enrolled as a part-time student at Georgia State Law.
Now, James is a semester out from earning her J.D., where she is hoping to use both her course studies and work experience to enter the world of media law. Here, she discusses her career so far and why the part-time program was the right choice for her.
What led you to CNN?
I grew up in Dubai but moved to Philadelphia for undergrad where I studied sociology at Bryn Mawr College. I was always interested in journalism and grew up watching CNNI. After graduation, I decided to pursue journalism and accepted a position as a News Assistant at CNN in Atlanta.
What do you enjoy about the part-time program?
Georgia State Law is known for its community and I’d say that’s especially true in the part-time program. It’s a smaller group of students and everyone has a family or a job or some reason that they’re doing it part-time instead of full-time so that allows for close bonds.
Also, from my perspective, it’s nice not to have missed out on years of work experience. I’ve been able to pursue opportunities and learn about the media industry firsthand, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t do the part-time program, so it is definitely the best of both worlds for me.
What have been some of your favorite courses?
While I am interested in media law, there have been some very interesting classes that have kind of surprised me. I really loved Family Law. I also took Health Law with Professor Todres and it was so fascinating but also helpful for work. I was taking that class when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I learned a lot of health law jargon that ended up helping me in the newsroom.
For media classes, I’ve enjoyed Copyright Law and the Legal Life of Ludacris. There’s really not another law school in the Southeast that has such a variety of media classes. Professor Ivory is a great professor and in addition to her experience practicing media law, she incorporates practical assignments, such as reviewing radio talent agreements in the Legal Life of Ludacris.
How do you think your experience in a newsroom will help you as an attorney?
I’m really glad that I worked and pursued the part-time J.D. because in the past three years I’ve learned so much about media and had the opportunity to work with so many amazing journalists. Being in the newsroom for several historical events has also been really impactful for me.
Interview by Mara Thompson