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Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Washington, DC

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP  - Washington, DC
  • 1200 Eighteenth Street, NW
  • 12th Floor
  • Washington, DC
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20036-2560
  • Managing Partner: Mark A Grannis
  • Number of partners: 21
  • Number of lawyers: 29
  • Languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish

Firm Overview:
Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP (“HWG”) is one of the premier communications, information technology, and litigation law firms in North America. The firm’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, investors, individuals, and other organizations. As former senior government officials, federal prosecutors, Congressional staff, and experienced litigators, HWG lawyers advise their clients on how decision makers think, how legal and political institutions work in the real world, and how those institutions can affect a transaction or business plan.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Communications & Internet: Regulation & Licensing: HWG’s communications, Internet, and technology practice—ranked in Band One by Chambers USA—is home to legal, policy, and engineering experts in virtually every area of communications and technology law, and has played a major role in shaping US regulation in these areas. HWG represents carriers, equipment providers, software companies, ISPs, telecommunications users, undersea cable operators, satellite providers, media companies, and investors. The firm assists its clients in regulatory, licensing, and enforcement proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), State Department, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and other US and foreign government agencies on the full range of communications and technology regulatory issues, including wireline, wireless, roaming, satellite, and spectrum regulation; media (including satellite and cable); Internet and VoIP regulation; and accessibility rules.

Communications & Internet: Mergers, Acquisitions & Financing: Transactions are central to HWG’s communications practice. The firm assists large and small entities seeking FCC approval of transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions; transfers of wireline, wireless, broadcast, or satellite licenses; and spectrum leasing. It also supports client financing activities. Recent representations include: General Communication, Inc. in the establishment of its wireless joint venture with Alaska Communications Systems Group; DIRECTV in its offering of senior notes and the establishment of a revolving credit facility; Tyco International in its spin-off of ADT Corporation and the reorganization of its security business; NEATT Wireless in its sale of spectrum to AT&T; and ABRY Partners in its sale of Atlantic Broadband.

International Trade, Investment, & National Security: HWG’s renowned international trade, investment, and national security practice assists telecommunications, technology, and defense businesses with legal and policy issues arising from foreign direct investment, cross-border infrastructure, and export and cross-border services transactions. HWG counsels and represents clients to: obtain investment clearances from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); negotiate network security agreements with the “Team Telecom” agencies; comply with US wiretapping and surveillance laws; comply with and obtain licenses under US economic sanctions and export controls (including those of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls); and comply with Defense Security Service industrial security rules. HWG represents companies before the US Trade Representative and Department of State in WTO matters, market access and investor-state disputes, and bilateral and regional trade negotiations. HWG represents companies in public international law matters, particularly those involving jurisdictional disputes among sovereign states and the law of the sea, particularly as it relates to undersea cables and satellite services.

Litigation: Supreme Court & Appellate: HWG attorneys brief and argue a wide variety of cases in the Supreme Court, including cases involving antitrust, communications law, employee benefits, torts, and criminal law. In the federal courts of appeals, HWG attorneys are involved in many of the most consequential cases in communications law each year, as well as a broad array of appeals in other substantive areas. This breadth of experience permits HW&G to preserve victories at administrative agencies and trial courts, and to challenge adverse decisions. Cases argued by HWG attorneys in 2013 include a landmark victory in a complex abstention case in the Supreme Court, a victory on behalf of a foreign sovereign in the DC Circuit in a Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act case, and a victory on behalf of cable subscribers in a Fourth Circuit case involving the validity of an exclusive service contract that also presented a plethora of administrative law issues including standing, mootness, and ripeness.

Litigation: White Collar, Civil, Criminal, & Government Investigations: HWG represents companies and individuals in civil litigation and government investigations before federal courts, state courts, arbitrators, and administrative tribunals. Led by Thomas Connolly, a former federal prosecutor, and widely recognized as one of the leading trial lawyers in Washington, DC, the firm’s trial litigation practice handles all stages of litigation, administrative investigations, and internal investigations—from formal discovery, to administrative investigations, through trial. Recent matters include representing Freddie Mac in relation to Justice Department investigations; defending foreign executives accused of tax, antitrust, and bribery crimes by the United States; defending a foreign government sued in federal court; asserting, defending, and protecting privacy rights; and, representing a wide range of communications companies in FCC enforcement actions and in investigations related to procurement, the Federal Universal Service Fund, E-Rate, and consumer billing practices.

Areas of Practice

  • Communications & Internet: Mergers, Acquisitions & Financing
  • Communications & Internet: Regulation & Licensing
  • International Trade, Investment, & National Security
  • Litigation: Supreme Court & Appellate
  • Litigation:White Collar, Civil, Criminal, & Government Investigations

Branches

Telecommunications - District of Columbia

What the team is known for Broad scope of expertise covering wireless, satellite and cable issues in regulatory, transactional and litigation capacities. Represents an array of clients including service providers, equipment manufacturers and hi-tech companies in need of strategic counsel.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have really good lawyers, who give us very tailored advice and really dedicate themselves to our business."

"They are experts in their field. They know all the technical stuff and are good at explaining it all."

Work highlights Represented Clearwire before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US in connection with issues of national security relating to the client's acquisition by Sprint Nextel, and indirect acquisition by SoftBank.

Continues to advise Google in connection with the need for expanding access to broadband for company services, which involves numerous FCC actions on cutting-edge issues.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department John Nakahata is deemed to be "a great attorney, who is well-connected, very thoughtful, bright and well liked." He led the team as principal outside regulatory counsel to General Communication. He is an expert in advising on issues connected to cable, telecommunications and internet regulations.

Impressed interviewees assert that Paul Margie is "fantastic - he's probably one of the town's best spectrum experts. An excellent lawyer who knows how to move a complicated issue forward." He is also praised for being "able to discuss strategy, write pleadings and lobby federal agencies with equal effectiveness."

The "extremely intelligent" Christopher Wright has significant FCC experience and has stood out to observers for being "extremely knowledgeable in appellate procedures and an excellent oral advocate."

William Wiltshire has particular understanding of the technical elements of telecoms work, and is "able to translate arcane concepts into actionable concepts," according to commentators. His client base includes DIRECTV.

Significant clients Level 3 Communications, Qualcomm, North American Submarine Cable Association, Sorenson Communications, Tyco Electronics Subsea Communications. 

Appellate Law - Nationwide