Even the nameplate on her office reads “Honors Attorney,” so high is the distinction of the program within the Federal Communications Commission.
Alexis "Ali" Zayas, a 2010 LL.M. graduate of the Columbus School of Law’s Communications Law Institute (CLI), is the first LL.M. graduate of the program to have landed a spot in the FCC's extremely competitive and prestigious Honors Attorney program, where she began a two-year appointment in September 2012.
“The program takes only the cream of the crop. It means you’re a truly outstanding attorney,” says Catholic University law Professor Donna Gregg, CLI’s director.
The FCC’s Attorney Honors Program is an employment and training program designed to introduce law school graduates to the field of communications law and policy. Honors Program attorneys are on the frontline and participate in a wide variety of learning experiences, such as drafting decisions in adjudicatory and rulemaking matters, working to resolve complex policy issues before the agency, participating in international negotiations, and representing the FCC in dealings with other government agencies, Congress, and the private sector.
Zayas was selected from among more than 750 applicants nationwide for one of only five slots in the Honors Attorney Program. She is employed with the FCC’s Media Bureau, Industry Analysis Division.
“This was the dream job I wanted. I was excited to be called for the interview,” Zayas recalls. “You do get a lot on your plate as an Honors Attorney. I feel like my opinions are taken seriously and I’m listened to.”
Zayas earned her J.D. at The University of Kansas School of Law. Although she externed at the FCC during her 2L summer, she had limited experience in the ways of Washington when she commenced her LL.M. studies.
But she used her time in D.C. very well, Professor Gregg noticed, quickly building a network of contacts that proved invaluable upon graduation.
“I think my LL.M. definitely played a part in getting hired,” says Zayas. “So many people gave me great advice, especially my CLI professors. They really know the communications law network in D.C. Their advice was invaluable, especially so as I prepared for the honors program interview.”
And as for the future? “I like the issues I’m working on here. I’d like to stay,” Zayas said.