Attorney at the FCC
Chris Cook earned his JD from Colorado Law in 2012, and is now an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you came to law school, or did you sort of fall into your career?
When I came to law school I was generally interested in intellectual property and business law. However, I wasn’t dead set on any particular career path. I was fairly certain I didn’t want to be a litigator, so once I was able to take electives, I took a lot of business-oriented classes. I really didn’t even know what telecommunications law entailed. I was lucky enough to take Telecommunications Law & Policy that had two great teachers. Upon taking this class, Preston Padden took me under his wing and encouraged me to pursue internships and other opportunities in the telecommunications space. Taking Preston’s class is almost entirely the reason I am where I am today. So my short answer is yes, I did fall into my career.
Did you participate in any co-curricular or experiential programs during your time in law school and how were they applicable to your current work?
I was an Articles Editor on the Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law. Being on the journal helped me get a sense of what a lot of the “hot topics” were in the telecom and tech world at the time. This also gave me exposure to scholars in the field and the ability to determine what interested me most in the field. I enjoyed my time on the journal and would say that it definitely helped me get to where I am today. I also completed a lot of externships. I was an extern in the Business & Licensing Office at the Colorado Attorney General and worked for a local Boulder business law firm. These experiences helped me become a Hatfield Scholar in the summer after my 2L year. On the Hatfield Fellowship I was able to spend a summer in Washington, D.C. interning for a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. This position led to a year-long externship with a telecom company in Longmont, and undoubtedly the combination of this experience helped me obtain my full-time job with the FCC after graduation. I would highly recommend the externship program as it gave me an opportunity to actually feel what practicing law is like.
How did you find your job, and how did Colorado Law help with your search?
As I mentioned before, I interned with the FCC the summer after my 2L year. During this time I met a number of the Colorado Law alums that worked in the industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Colorado Law network in D.C. is fantastic and very supportive of each other. I was fortunate enough to get an email one day from a 2001 Colorado Law alum alerting me that a bureau in the FCC was likely hiring one or two entry-level attorneys and told me where to send my resume and cover letter. I followed his instructions, got an interview, and here I am today. Without having made the connection with this particular alum, I never would have this job.
Colorado Law helped me in my job search by working on my resume and cover letter and taking the time to put me in touch with alumni in the areas that I wished to work. Career Development met with me on a regular basis to see how my job search was going. I really appreciated Todd Roger’s help in my search.
What advice would you give to current students, specifically in terms of finding a job?
I know it is cliché, but network. Without the network of individuals that I met through externships, alumni events, and just randomly I would not have my job today. The job market is tough and positions often open and are filled without ever being posted. Without knowing someone who can put you in touch with the person hiring for that position, you never have a chance. On top of networking, I would say hard work and dedication. Because it is not the greatest job market right now you may not have a job until well after graduation. Put yourself out there, send out resumes, have coffee with people in the industry, keep applying to jobs, and eventually one will stick. It is very easy to get discouraged and give up. If a job isn’t coming easily, as one would hope, just keep your head up and keep working to find something that fits.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
Colorado Law is a wonderful place to study the law. It has, without question, the most beautiful setting for a law school in the United States. I look back on my three years at Colorado Law very fondly. The professors and academics are second to none. Colorado Law provides you with the skills and foundation to succeed as any type of attorney, from a prosecutor to a federal bureaucrat. Colorado Law has an excellent reputation in the state of Colorado, and the reputation is getting stronger throughout the rest of the country. Living and working in Washington, D.C. I am surrounded by attorneys from the nation’s most prestigious law schools. Colorado Law is second to none of them in my industry. We are developing quite the alumni base in Washington, D.C. and the Colorado Law brand is becoming stronger and stronger each day. I am incredibly satisfied with my decision to attend Colorado Law, and would not have wanted to study the law anywhere else.