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TITLE: Vice president and general counsel AGE: 49 THE COMPANY: C-Span is a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit communications company (consisting of three cable networks, five Internet sites and a radio station) that provides complete and unedited coverage of every moment the U.S. House and Senate are in session, of many congressional committee hearings and of a wide array of other public-affairs events. C-Span has 260 employees and a $40 million annual budget. C-Span is known for its staid moderators, many of whom are actually C-Span executives, including Brian Lamb, the company’s founder and CEO, and Collins, whom Lamb hired in 1981 to do a call-in show on Thanksgiving. THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT: You’re looking at it. On the one hand, that’s less impressive than it sounds because of C-Span’s approach to the news. “Rarely do we have to worry about libel because we never say anything. We don’t have reporters, we don’t have hidden cameras, we don’t conduct investigations, so we have none of those kinds of problems.” But that still leaves him a lot of ground to cover. Collins negotiated the company’s steady expansion of its offices — from 3,500 square feet in 1980 to 60,000 today. He handled property transactions for the company’s satellite uplink facility just outside Washington, in Fairfax County, Va., and C-Span’s first tax audit — a two-year affair in the mid-1990s. He’s also involved in every adverse employment decision. (An employment case is the only active litigation in which C-Span is now involved.) IP: As with most media lawyers, intellectual property is taking more of Collins’ time, although it’s still much less than for many of his peers. Whereas lawyers at PBS and the Discovery Channel are constantly negotiating and then monitoring licenses for the programs they air, Collins says, “We produce virtually everything that appears on the network ourselves. It’s our cameras and our personnel.” One thing generating more IP work is C-Span’s increasing presence at private events, whose sponsors or participants want to limit the station’s coverage. For example, a speaker who charges thousands of dollars per appearance may not be keen on C-Span’s televising his or her stock speech in its entirety. Entertainers raise similar issues: C-Span did not, for example, have full rights to its coverage of Stevie Wonder’s performance at the Democrats’ $26.5 million fund-raiser on May 24. “The entertainers are hired to entertain the people in the room, not to put on a free show that goes around the country. Sometimes they don’t let us cover those, and that’s fine because we’re not an entertainment network. But we’d like to show the entertainment because that’s part of how things happen in Washington.” OUTSIDE COUNSEL, PART ONE: Collins may handle much of the company’s legal work himself, but there’s plenty he doesn’t do. How does he hire help? “It’s all based on who I know and who I like.” He keeps abreast of the law and makes contacts by attending monthly lunches of the Federal Communications Bar Association, the occasional consultant’s breakfast and the odd CLE course. The attorneys he relies on most are Henry Goldberg, of D.C.’s Goldberg, Godles, Wiener & Wright (regulatory matters); Frieda K. Wallison, of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (bond work); Marc Eric Miller, of D.C.’s McLeod, Watkinson & Miller (Internet-related IP); Bruce D. Sokler, a partner in the D.C. office of Boston’s Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. (First Amendment); and Chicago’s Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson (labor). MUST-CARRY RULE: This is a pressing issue for C-Span. Collins argues that some cable systems are forced to cut some or all of their C-Span slots to make room for often marginal or redundant local stations. The Federal Communications Commission is debating an expanded must-carry rule that would give major broadcasters two stations per cable system each, so they can send digital signals for high-definition television on one station without losing access to homes that can receive traditional TV signals only. OUTSIDE COUNSEL, PART TWO: Collins provides a good bit of outside counsel himself, penning a monthly column, “At the Non-Profit Bar,” since February 1992 for Corporate Legal Times and co-chairing the American Bar Association’s National Conference of Lawyers and Representatives of the Media. In 1990, he helped found the Supreme Court Opinion Network, a nonprofit organization made up of members of the legal information industry which provided the computers that the Supreme Court agreed to use to begin distributing its opinions electronically. ROUTE TO THE TOP: Collins began working at C-Span in 1981 while he was attending law school at nearby Georgetown University Law Center at night. At the time, the company had about a dozen employees. Collins was the first staffer after Lamb whose job didn’t involve operating equipment. Collins was a host of viewer call-ins and interviewed politicians, journalists and authors, and he became Lamb’s multipurpose right hand. When the company needed to formalize its policies regarding such quotidian matters as sick days and start times, Collins penned C-Span’s first internal memo; before receiving his J.D., he employed his undergraduate degree in labor relations to bring overtime and comp-time practices in line with the law. In 1983, he became the company’s director of operations, which meant that he was responsible for everything C-Span transmitted. He continued to do numerous weekly call-in shows, including one that ended at 6 p.m. — 10 minutes after his law class began four nights a week. He would bolt from the studio and drive the mile to class (easier done in Washington’s rush hour 20 years ago than now), but after a few weeks — and with the presidential primary season looming — he decided to take time off from law school. He returned two years later, got his degree in 1986 and was promptly named general counsel by Lamb. GROWING UP AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT: In high school, the principal forbade Collins — then president of his junior class — to sing Pete Seeger’s anti-war song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” at a school talent show. (“We’re waist deep in the big muddy, and the big fool says to push on.”) Collins complied with the censorship, but afterward wrote Seeger about it. Seeger responded, saying that he should come give a concert there himself. In 1971, while an undergrad at Cornell, Collins published an article on the role of music in the labor movement, then took Seeger up on his offer: The student government paid Seeger to come lecture, after which he gave a concert for thousands. FAMILY: Wife Carrie Collins, a former C-Span executive producer who now heads Collins and Associates, a media consulting firm that has broadened its focus from advising traditional non-profits to advising the newer breed of nonprofits: dot-coms. LAST BOOK READ: “The Consolations of Philosophy,” by Alain de Botton, whom Collins then interviewed for C-Span2′s weekend “BookTV.”

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