This was an internship unlike any other. With a backdrop of a pandemic, protests, and a puppy that interrupted just about every Zoom meeting, it was also an internship that demonstrated Cloudflare’s leadership in giving students meaningful opportunities to explore their interests and contribute to the company’s mission: to help build a better Internet.
For the past twelve weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working as a Legal Intern at Cloudflare. A few key things set this internship apart from even those in which I’ve been able to connect with people in-person:
Ever since I formally accepted my internship, the Cloudflare team has been in frequent and thorough communication about what to expect and how to make the most of my experience. This approach to communication was in stark contrast to the approach taken by several other companies and law firms. The moment COVID-19 hit, Cloudflare not only reassured me that I’d still have a job, the company also doubled down on bringing on more interns. Comparatively, a bunch of my fellow law school students were left in limbo: unsure of if they had a job, the extent to which they’d be able to do it remotely, and whether it would be a worthwhile experience.
This approach has continued through the duration of the internship. I know I speak for my fellow interns when I say that we were humbled to be included in company-wide initiatives to openly communicate about the trying times our nation and particularly members of communities of color have experienced this summer. We weren’t left on the sidelines but rather invited into the fold. I’m so grateful to my manager, Jason, for clearing my schedule to participate in Cloudflare’s “Day On: Learning and Inclusion.” On June 18, the day before Juneteenth, Cloudflare employees around the world joined together for transformative and engaging sessions on how to listen, learn, participate, and take action to be better members of our communities. That day illustrated Cloudflare’s commitment to fostering communication as well as to building community and diversity.
The company’s desire to foster a sense of community pervades each team. Case in point, members of the Legal, Policy, and Trust & Safety (LPT) team were ready and eager to help my fellow legal interns and me better understand the team’s mission and day-to-day activities. I went a perfect 11/11 on asks to LPT members for 1:1 Zoom meetings -- these meetings had nothing to do with a specific project but were merely meant to create a stronger community by talking with employees about how they ended up at this unique company.
From what I’ve heard from fellow interns, this sense of community was a common thread woven throughout their experiences as well. Similarly, other interns shared my appreciation for being given more than just “shadowing” opportunities. We were invited to commingle with our teammates and encouraged to take active roles in meetings and on projects.
In my own case, I got to dive into exciting research on privacy laws such as the GDPR and so much more. This research required that I do more than just be a fly on the wall, I was invited to actively converse and brief folks directly involved with making key decisions for the LPT. For instance, when Tilly came on in July as Privacy Counsel, I had the opportunity to brief her on the research I’d done related to Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIAs). In the same way, when Edo and Ethan identified some domain names that likely infringed on Cloudflare’s trademark, my fellow intern, Elizabeth, and I were empowered to draft WIPO complaints per the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Fingers crossed our work continues Cloudflare’s strong record before the WIPO (here’s an example of a recent favorable division). These seemingly small tasks introduced me to a wide range of fascinating legal topics that will inform my future coursework and, possibly, even my career goals.
Finally, collaboration distinguished this internship from other opportunities. By way of example, I was assigned projects that required working with others toward a successful outcome. In particular, I was excited to work with Jocelyn and Alissa on research related to the intersection of law and public policy. This dynamic duo fielded my queries, sent me background materials, and invited me to join meetings with stakeholders. This was a very different experience from previous internships in which collaboration was confined to just an email assigning the research and a cool invite to reach out if any questions came up. At Cloudflare, I had the support of a buddy, a mentor, and my manager on all of my assignments and general questions.
When I walked out of Cloudflare’s San Francisco office back in December after my in-person interview, I was thrilled to potentially have the opportunity to return and help build a better Internet. Though I’ve yet to make it back to the office due to COVID-19 and, therefore, worked entirely remotely, this internship nevertheless allowed me and my fellow interns to advance Cloudflare’s mission.
Whatever normal looks like in the following weeks, months, and years, so long as Cloudflare prioritizes communication, community, commingling, and collaboration, I know it will be a great place to work.