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10 Questions to a Media Lawyer: Lynn Carrillo

Lynn Carrillo is Vice President, Legal, at NBCUniversal News Group in Miami, Florida.

1. How'd you get into media law? What was your first job?

My first job in media was in high school working for the Miami Herald compiling listings of local events. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the Miami Beach neighborhood when South Beach was beginning its renaissance, so there was a great deal to write about. After a few months on the job, the editors gave me the opportunity to do some feature stories. A year later, one of the reporters was promoted and I ended up writing weekly pieces for the local and Living sections of the newspaper.

When I was accepted into law school, the head of recruiting for Tribune – who also happened to be their in-house counsel – encouraged me to leave and go to law school. I followed her advice. Two years later, when I bumped into her at a conference, she advocated on my behalf and told her local counsel to hire me.

My first legal job was working for a boutique media litigation firm that represented my former newspaper.

2. What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?

What I like most about my job is the incredible team of colleagues that I get to work with both remotely and locally. I also appreciate the vast variety of matters that I have the opportunity to handle and sometimes learn about on any given day.

3. What's the biggest blunder you've committed on the job?

Coming out of law school, as a young lawyer, I thought I had all the answers for every problem or situation. After almost missing the deadline for a new filing I worked on because I didn't know the process for that particular court, I knew that I had a lot more to learn. I also realized very early in my legal career to not be afraid to ask questions and that your support team is critical to your success and deserve as much - or more - respect than others.

4. Highest court you've argued in or most high-profile case?

The highest Court I have argued in is the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Florida Supreme Court.

One of the cases that I am most proud of was a shield law case in Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeal. A state court judge, on the day before the court closed for the Christmas holiday, ordered one of our reporters to be deposed and potentially reveal his source regarding a public corruption and sex-texting case. I spoke to my team and, although it meant working over the holidays (filing on New Year's Eve), we all agreed that it was important and we filed an emergency appeal. We received a written order that mirrored much of what we had put in our brief and supported a reporter's right to be protected.

5. What's a surprising object in your office?

The trophy given to me by the junior varsity girls basketball team that I coached once.

6. What's the first website you check in the morning?

In the morning, I check my email and the WhatsApp chat that includes updates about my kids' school, so I don't miss any updates. For news, I read Apple News summaries, New York Times headlines and the Law360 daily briefing email.

7. It's almost a cliché for lawyers to tell those contemplating law school: "Don't go." What do you think?

I believe that law school is the best preparation you can have for any professional job. The training you receive in law school teaches you to understand risk and analyze matters. I love the law and believe in idealism. I am grateful every day that I work in media law because I feel I can make a difference.

8. One piece of advice for someone looking to get into media law?

Today, more than in any other era, you need to understand the media business. To be effective advocates and partners to your clients, you need to understand the needs and challenges facing the fast-changing media industry.

9. What issue keeps you up at night?

Usually, it's my eight-year-old. Otherwise, I'm concerned about show scripts that have not come in and still need review. As part of the NBCUniversal News legal team, all counsel are assigned weekly rotations that consist of reviewing scripts and legal questions from all news and cable networks, 24x7.  It's my responsibility to help advise each business to help them manage their legal risk and remain competitive.

10. What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?

I would have loved to have been a travel reporter or an investigative reporter. I never thought I was as good a writer as I was a reporter, so discovering new things to write about and uncovering issues that affect the people are still very appealing to me – which is why I love supporting the investigative journalists in their pursuit of the truth.

 
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