Hard work pays off, and no one knows that better than TJSL alum, Jakgeem Mays ’10. After setting a goal to attend law school and transition into television, Jakgeem was recently promoted to the newly created Specialist, Legal Affairs role for NBCUniversal’s Cable Entertainment Group. Jakgeem will draft and negotiate various agreements and handle other legal matters (e.g., rights, chain-of-title analysis) in connection with the development and production of scripted and unscripted programming at E!, Esquire Network, Wilshire Studios, Bravo, and Oxygen.
During his 1L year, Jakgeem learned about the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program through career services who encouraged him to apply. A non-profit organization, the T. Howard Foundation is committed to increasing ethnic diversity in the multimedia and entertainment industry. Jakgeem was selected after a competitive interview process and landed a paid internship at 20th Century Fox.
“Fox is known as a difficult studio to get into, so doors began to open for me after that – I clerked at a major immigration law firm and was hired for an internship at SAGAFTRA in the spring of my 2L year.” Of career services Jakgeem says, “Whether providing a pep talk or useful information, Career Services helped me from day one. Assistant Dean for Career Services Beverly Bracker saw in me what some days I couldn’t see in myself.”
Halfway through law school, Jakgeem made the ultimate sacrifice and moved to Los Angeles after it was stressed to him the importance of taking advantage of networking opportunities in the industry. “While this created many challenges, at the end of the day I was positioned to take advantage of additional internships (Gospel Music Channel, NBCUniversal, etc.) and networking opportunities and eventually one day I got a call to come work in Business Affairs at NBC Entertainment / Universal Television.”
Jakgeem is proud of the barriers he has broken to get where he is today. “As a practical matter, NBCUniversal typically hires lawyers from Top 20 law schools. When I first returned to NBCUniversal as a licensed attorney, I was told there was no opportunity for me here.” However he continued to pursue his dream, stating that, “Tenacity and perseverance kept me going when I wanted to quit. It’s really true what they say – winners do what losers are not willing to do.” He is excited to bring his years of experience in entertainment and most important, passion for the industry to this new position.
The entertainment industry is fiercely competitive, but for those interested in pursuing this path Jakgeem advises, “It is imperative to take advantage of as many networking opportunities and internships as you can. Know your audience and be respectful of their time; more important, be professional. There are hundreds of people competing for one position. You will get a lot of no’s but it only takes one yes to jump start your career.”
Jakgeem will join other TJSL alums practicing in the entertainment and sports law in a panel discussion to offer their experiences and advice on Saturday, April 12, at 1 p.m. in Room 325. RSVP today.