Where Has Former FCC Commissioner McDowell Landed?


Former FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell,  a highly respected leader on complex regulatory, legal and business issues in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors, has joined Inside the Beltway law firm Cooley as a partner.

McDowell will be the co-leader of the firm’s global communications practice.

He joins Cooley from Wiley Rein LLP, where he was a partner.

“Having served as an FCC Commissioner for seven years under two presidents, combined with his private sector experience that spans four decades, Rob has a wealth of industry knowledge and global public policy insight that will be of tremendous value to our tech, media and telecom clients here in the US and internationally,” said John Feore, partner in Cooley’s communications regulatory practice. “His practice is perfectly aligned to help emerging and disruptive companies navigate regulatory hurdles as they bring innovative and novel technologies to market.”

McDowell was first appointed to the FCC by President George W. Bush in 2006 and again by President Barack Obama in 2009. Unanimously confirmed each time by the U.S. Senate, he led fundamental policy changes that affected all manner of communications technologies, including initiatives that put more spectrum into the hands of consumers through the two largest wireless auctions in U.S. history at that time.

He led efforts to establish the first federal civil rights rules in a generation by creating a ban on racially discriminatory practices in broadcast advertising, and also worked extensively on several large and complex mergers including Sirius/XM and Comcast/NBC-Universal.

Prior to the FCC, McDowell was SVP for CompTel, the Competitive Telecommunications Association, where he led advocacy efforts before several government agencies, the White House and Congress. He has served on official U.S. diplomatic delegations to the World Conference on International Telecommunications and the World Radiocommunication Conference.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to leverage my public policy, legal and business background to counsel some of the world’s most exciting and innovative tech, media and telecom companies,” McDowell said. “Cooley is a great platform for my practice and I am thrilled at the prospect of working with the team in such an exciting space.”

Cooley has 900 lawyers across 12 offices in the United States, China and Europe. Clients include Gilead, Google, Facebook, and Walmart.com.