Mike is a business lawyer who focuses on regulatory and transactional matters, primarily in the communications and technology sectors. He works hard to understand the legal and business pressures facing his clients and the objectives of each project. You may speak to Mike on the phone more than other lawyers, as he finds that email is often not the best way to actually communicate. Mike despises ambiguous language and needless repetition and works hard to weed them out of his work product. He plays guitar and keeps one in his office; he may strum it when things get tense.
Mike’s communications law experience encompasses many of the issues that have confronted the industry since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He has represented providers of communications services (telecom, cable, VoIP) in all phases of the business life-cycle, including from start-up to industry dominance. For more than a decade he has represented the nation’s largest cable provider on state regulatory, interconnection, and related telecom matters.
He also serves as principal outside counsel to several mid-size companies that do not have in-house counsel and helps clients on matters ranging from business formation, structuring, and governance; financing; contract drafting and negotiation; intellectual property protection; employment; and dispute resolution.
Mike has long served as lead outside counsel for state regulatory and interconnection matters to one of the largest voice, video, and Internet service providers in the country. In addition to providing counsel on the full range of regulatory issues, Mike has first-chaired more than three dozen contested matters (arbitrations and complaint proceedings) since 2009 before state regulatory commissions, the FCC, and private arbitrators around the country (including Washington State, Washington, D.C., Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Michigan, Vermont, Georgia, Florida, California, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Minnesota).
Mike has led the successful effort to maintain the carrier status and interconnection rights of carriers that provide wholesale service to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service providers. In addition to regulatory and legislative advocacy on this issue, Mike has prevailed in contested proceedings before the FCC and state public utility commissions (and federal district courts) in Pennsylvania, Washington, New Hampshire, Michigan, Vermont, Georgia, Florida, and Indiana.
Since 2004, Mike has been involved in matters related to the (still) unresolved regulatory classification of interconnected VoIP services. Earlier in his career he was responsible for developing the legal theory and wrote all the briefs in the landmark Vonage preemption cases before the FCC and the 8th Circuit. See Vonage Holdings Corp. v. Minn. PUC, 290 F.Supp.2d 993 (D. Minn. 2003), aff’d Vonage Holdings Corp. v. Minn. PUC, 483 F.3d 570 (8th Cir. 2007); Vonage Holdings Declaratory Ruling, 19 FCC Rcd. 22404 (FCC 2004). More recently, Mike has represented clients in VoIP classification proceedings in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Maine.
Mike is highly familiar with the regulatory, privacy, and business issues surrounding directory publishing, directory assistance, privacy, and the Internet domain name assignment process. He obtained a favorable ruling for a client in the 11th Circuit, holding that telecommunications carriers may use wholesalers to distribute directory information under Sections 222(e) and 251(b)(3) of the Act.
Mike advises communications providers, banks, venture capital firms, and other investment companies on the regulatory aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions, as well as financing and debt arrangements. He has managed regulatory transfer-of-control matters in all 50 states and before the FCC.
Health Care Connect Fund
Mike has significant expertise on the FCC’s Universal Service Health Care Connect Fund. He is helping clients apply for funding to implement more robust telemedicine services under the new program. A paper describing this program can be found here.
Prior to his legal career, Mike worked in Congress and the White House Office of Management and Budget. He clerked for United States District Court Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez, in the District of Puerto Rico, immediately after law school.
Setting the standard
Admitted to Practice
District of Columbia, 1998
J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1995, cum laude
- Law Review
- Moot Court
- W.H. Page Award recipient
M.P.A., Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, 1987, magna cum laude
B.A., English Literature, Northwestern University, 1986
Memberships & Affiliations
- Chair, Communications Law Committee, Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, American Bar Association
- Federal Communications Bar Association