Robert McDowell Joins Wiley Rein In D.C.

The former commissioner begins work in the law firm’s communications practice in Washington today. After his seven years at the FCC, he has been a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for the Economics of the Internet.

Former FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell today joined Wiley Rein LLP’s Washington, DC office as a partner in the firm’s communications practice.

McDowell will provide strategic legal, business, and public policy advice to clients on domestic and international matters in the telecommunications, media, technology and digital media industries.

“Rob brings an unparalleled degree of bipartisan support, credibility, and respect at the highest levels of government, along with deep knowledge about the vital and growing communications and tech sectors,” said Managing Partner Peter D. Shields. “His tremendous and deep experience on complex issues will be invaluable to our clients.”

With the addition of McDowell, four former FCC commissioners are now members of Wiley Rein’s communications practice, including Chairman Richard E. Wiley, who also served as chairman and general counsel of the FCC. “We are thrilled Rob is joining Wiley Rein,” said Wiley. “His distinguished record of service at the FCC, his background in international treaty negotiations, and his conceptual leadership on Internet governance and spectrum management are among the many outstanding assets he brings to the firm.”

Appointed to the FCC by presidents George W. Bush (2006) and Barack Obama (2009) and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate each time, McDowell was the first Republican appointed to an independent agency by President Obama. During his seven years as one of five FCC commissioners, he spearheaded the production of policies affecting all aspects of the Internet, wireless technologies, broadband competition, and communications equipment and devices, as well as radio and satellite services.

McDowell brings to Wiley Rein approximately 16 years of private sector experience in the communications industry. Prior to joining the FCC, he was senior vice president for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), an industry group representing competitive facilities-based telecommunications service providers and their supplier partners. He also was the executive vice president and general counsel of America’s Carriers Telecommunications Association (ACTA), which merged with CompTel in 1999.


Most recently, he was a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for the Economics of the Internet and was appointed in 2013 to the international Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms, sponsored by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the World Economic Forum, and The Annenberg Foundation.

McDowell graduated cum laude from Duke University. After serving as chief legislative aide to a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he attended the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. Upon his graduation from law school, McDowell joined the Washington office of the national law firm Arter & Hadden.

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