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Wiley Rein Named Telecommunications ‘Practice Group of the Year’ by Law360

February 28, 2019

Washington, DC —Wiley Rein’s premier Telecom, Media & Technology (TMT) Practice was profiled by Law360 as a 2018 “Practice Group of the Year”– one of just three firms to earn a spot on the prestigious Telecommunications list.

“We are proud to have earned this great recognition from Law360, which reflects our team’s success in taking advantage of new synergies across many areas of expertise – including the satellite sector, which is a really great growth area for us,” said Kathleen A. Kirby, who co-chairs the TMT Practice with Amb. David A. Gross.

Law360 noted in a February 26 article that the firm’s TMT Group “has led the telecom industry” in a number of high-profile transactions in the past year. In one “milestone achievement,” the Team secured regulatory approval for the biggest-ever transaction in the ongoing consolidation of earth-imaging and remote-sensing satellite companies. In that cross-border deal, Wiley Rein’s client, a Canadian-based satellite design and production firm, acquired a U.S.-based company that provides leading earth-imaging technology.

“The acquisition resulted in some significant vertical integration in the space industry,” TMT partner Jennifer D. Hindin, who chairs the Space and Satellite Group, told Law360. The transaction also involved complex negotiations with U.S. and Canadian regulators – and spotlighted an important area of growth for Wiley Rein.

Amb. Gross told Law360 the TMT Practice is focused on increasing the depth of its attorneys’ expertise across the board, especially in the niche areas of policy and technology. “Why this is really important is that we’re finding not only growth from our traditional clients but also from a lot of new high-tech clients,” he said. “Everyone is getting into everybody else’s business, or at least there’s a lot of overlap.”

In another key accomplishment noted by Law360, a Wiley Rein team led by Ms. Hindin represented a leading global satellite provider in developing a groundbreaking proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in which U.S. satellite and terrestrial mobile service providers would share spectrum in the C-band. The proposal, included as an option in a pending FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, would free up spectrum for 5G services through a set of private transactions instead of an FCC-driven reallocation.

“In the past, I think you’ve had a much more regulatory approach to spectrum repurposing. The historic way has been for the FCC to decide to move it from one entity to another and then perhaps enter into an auction, and it’s very time consuming,” Ms. Hindin said. “The great benefit here is that if you put this in the hands of the private marketplace, you let the satellite operators work together to enter into agreements. You can do it much more quickly.”

Additionally, the TMT Group assisted a mobile satellite communications provider in upgrading its satellite constellation by winning FCC approval for the company to launch and operate a fleet of next-generation spacecraft to deliver faster and more affordable broadband and other forms of connectivity.

“One of the trickiest things from an FCC regulatory perspective was providing the right assurances to the FCC that the existing constellation would be carefully de-orbited and keep space safe while these new satellites were going up,” Hindin said.

Wiley Rein’s TMT Practice was selected by a panel of Law360 editors “with an eye toward landmark matters and general excellence.” In the practice group awards program’s ninth year, 84 law firms were recognized across 38 practice areas, and culled from 759 submissions. In addition to Telecommunications, the firm received “Group of the Year” honors for its Government Contracts and International Trade practices.

To read the Law360 story, please click here (subscription required).