Alumni Profile: Ali Sternburg ’12

Alumna Ali Sternburg graduated from AUWCL in 2012 and now works as Public Policy and Regulatory Counsel for theComputer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

At CCIA, her job is dictated by Congress’s docket and current events. She works primarily on intellectual property (IP) policy, filing amicus briefs, blogging about copyright- and patent-related topics, and submitting comments to various agencies and policymakers.

“Our members are technology companies, and their users are the public, so my work is consistently in line with the public interest,” explained Sternburg. “It is so rewarding to be a part of an organization that’s had a tradition of making things happen for decades, influencing policy in the right direction, both here in the U.S. and abroad. Appropriately interpreting and updating laws for the digital age is important in our increasingly connected world.”

Sternburg first became inspired to study the intersection of IP law and the Internet as an undergraduate at Harvard College. At AUWCL, she was a student attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, president of the IP Law Society, a blogger for the Intellectual Property Brief, and a Dean’s Fellow for the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP).

As a student attorney in the IP Clinic, Ali gained practical experience with copyright law by working with a documentary filmmaker, whose film she watched for clips that might implicate copyright issues. She analyzed the applicability of a doctrine called “fair use” to the clips, to help ensure her client’s documentary could be released without legal issues.

During law school, AUWCL’s externship fair helped her secure both of her summer internships. She interned at the Broadcasting Board of Governors her first summer, and her second summer for CCIA, where she was later hired. In order to develop her professional network and increase her knowledge of IP, she frequently attended PIJIP events, and took IP classes every semester.

“The professors at AUWCL are really experts,” Sternburg said. “I’ll be doing research for work and see their names, like Peter Jaszi and Michael Carroll. Getting to take classes with those professors was so rewarding. They were important mentors in my career, and they’re always looking out for students and alumni.”

When asked if she’ll ever consider working in another area of law, she says, “No. I don’t want to do anything else.”

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