Akin Gump Announces Further Expansions of Telecommunications, Policy Practices

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump today announced that Jennifer L. Richter has joined the firm as a partner in its communications and information technology practice in Washington, D.C.  Following on the arrivals last year of partner Douglas Brandon and senior counsel Gregory Guice and the arrival earlier this month of senior policy advisor Michael Drobac, Ms. Richter represents a substantial addition to Akin Gump’s telecommunications team.

The firm also announced that Benjamin Bartlett has joined the firm as an associate in its communications and information technology practice and that aviation professional Gregory S. Walden and policy specialist Melanie Goggins have joined its public law and policy practice. Mr. Walden will be senior counsel in the group.

Ms. Richter has represented technology and communications companies and investors in such companies for more than two decades, including serving as vice president and general counsel of a wireless company she helped to form, which was sold to Sprint Corporation in 1999. She handles commercial transactions as well as regulatory, policy, bankruptcy and general corporate matters, often appearing on behalf of clients before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency and the Rural Utilities Service.

“Akin Gump prides itself on a robust regulatory team, to which Jennifer is a tremendous addition,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “Her arrival strengthens our top-notch communications practice and will allow us to enhance the services we provide to our clients in this key area—I’m very excited to welcome her to Akin Gump.”

Issues on which Ms. Richter advises include wireless transactions and wireless policy; regulatory and compliance matters; in-flight broadband; tower transactions; Universal Service Fund issues, including significant work with service providers and schools that participate in the E-rate program; connected health care issues; educational technology and digital education issues; work on the nationwide First Responder Network (FirstNet); unmanned aerial systems/vehicles (also known as drones); broadcast incentive auctions; device and technology licensing; ISP regulatory compliance and diligence; and negotiation of a wide range of agreements that are needed by technology and communications companies and their investors.

“The wireless and broadband sectors are poised for dramatic growth in the coming years, and Jennifer’s insights into the key regulatory, transactional and policy issues will be of great benefit to our clients,” noted Tom Davidson, head of Akin Gump’s communications and information technology practice. “Combined with Michael’s strong policy work on Capitol Hill, we are even better positioned to assist our clients with their most sophisticated communications law needs.”

“The breadth of Akin Gump’s communications and information technology practice, spanning the areas of regulatory compliance, policy and legislation, as well as private equity and hedge funds, offers an ideal platform for my practice,” said Ms. Richter. “I am very happy to be here and look forward to working alongside my many new colleagues.”

Mr. Walden, who is nationally recognized in the areas of aviation and government ethics, advises airlines; air taxi operators; companies that buy, sell, lease or own aircraft; and others on matters before the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection and Congress. He also advises presidential appointees, members of Congress, companies and individuals on government ethics issues.

Ms. Goggins works on legislative strategies for clients in various policy areas, focusing mostly on the technology and agricultural industries.

Mr. Bartlett represents clients in the communications, technology and entertainment industries on a wide range of regulatory, transactional and policy matters.

“Jennifer’s arrival, combined with the addition of Greg, Michael, Ben and Melanie and the great talent we brought on board last year, has significantly boosted our capabilities in several crucial areas—namely, communications, media and transportation—that will help our clients in a number of ways,” added Don Pongrace, head of Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice. “For example, we are blending their deep and diverse skills to better advise clients in the important and emerging area of the commercial use of drones. There is a great deal of policy work being developed around that topic that could impact a number of industries, and our clients will benefit greatly from the counsel we will be able to provide in this burgeoning area.”

About Jennifer L. Richter

Prior to joining Akin Gump, Ms. Richter worked for another large law firm. She was also counsel to the National Private Telecommunications Association, a group of entrepreneurs providing competitive residential telephone service.

Ms. Richter received a J.D. and M.A. in mass communication/information policy concurrently from Drake University. She received a B.A., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

About Gregory S. Walden

Previously, Mr. Walden practiced at another large law firm. He served as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, as chief counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration and as associate deputy attorney general with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he had previously served as special assistant and counselor to the assistant attorney general, Civil Division. Mr. Walden also served as associate counsel to President George H.W. Bush and as transition ethics counsel for then-President-Elect George W. Bush.

Mr. Walden received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Washington and Lee University.

About Akin Gump’s Communications and Information Technology Practice

Akin Gump’s communications and information technology practice provides the benefit of our extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of global telecommunications to clients. Our lawyers serve as transactional counsel to top-tier telecommunications companies throughout the world as well as new technology companies and other industry service providers, foreign governments, financial lenders, underwriters and private equity funds.

The practice represents clients before domestic and international regulatory agencies regarding the formulation of policy in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere and also with regard to a wide range of day-to-day compliance issues. Akin Gump also represents clients involved in all types of transactions, from routine to complex, including transactions involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, commercial arrangements and joint ventures.

About Akin Gump’s Public Law and Policy Practice

Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice has long understood that solutions to many issues facing clients involve the very processes by which legislation and policy are conceived, developed and implemented by governments in the United States and around the world. For this reason, Akin Gump has built and maintained one of the largest and most diverse government relations practices of any major law firm worldwide. Our practice stresses careful evaluation of client issues and detailed design of strategies and tactics to achieve objectives and provide advocacy that is executed in an effective, timely and coordinated manner.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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