The ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law exists to promote discussion of problems relating to the legal counseling and representation of print, broadcast, online, and mobile media companies, and the telecommunications industry in general. Forum events also serve as venues for debating cutting-edge issues in defamation, privacy, commercial speech, freedom of information, data collection, FCC regulation, and First Amendment law. For law students with an interest in media, participation in the forum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the challenges of practicing in this fast-evolving area of the law, as well as a chance to meet leading legal practitioners and business executives from the media and telecommunications industries.
The centerpiece of the forum’s programming is its Annual Conference. The conference offers a broad slate of substantive programming in the form of workshops and panels, as well as opportunities for professional networking and socializing. The next conference will be held February 7–9, 2013, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California.
The forum also regularly puts on CLE programs, such as the “Representing Your Local Broadcaster” seminar, presented in connection with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas; an Annual Privacy and Data Security Program in Washington, D.C.; and a series of teleseminars and webinars on pressing topics like “Winning by Spinning? The Ethics of Litigation Civil Cases in the Media.”
Additionally, through its publications, the forum supports and promotes research and legal scholarships focusing on communications and media law. The forum publishes two periodicals: Communications Lawyer magazine and the Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law––a joint publication of the ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law, the ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries, and the Media Law Institute at Southwestern Law School. Communications Lawyer magazine is published quarterly, and features practical tips in addition to analysis of recent cases and emerging trends in the area of communications law and the First Amendment. The Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law is a semi-annual scholarly journal examining the legal issues surrounding the international distribution of media and entertainment. In addition, the forum maintains a Women in Communications Law directory (a networking and mentoring tool for female lawyers interested in the communications field) and puts on the annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition.
Law student members of an ABA section may join the Forum on Communications Law for free. All forum public programming is open to law students, with discounted admission fees usually available to forum members. The forum also offers a number of scholarships and awards, including three full-ride scholarships to attend the Annual Conference each year. Finally, student authors of scholarly articles on communications or media law are encouraged to submit to Communications Lawyer and the Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law for consideration.