Communications law encompasses the laws and regulations concerning public communication, such as newspapers, the internet, and cable, as well as the mechanisms by which people communicate privately, through telephone, emails, and texts.
As communications technology evolves and proliferates at a dizzying pace, becoming ever more omnipresent and critical for personal and professional needs, so is the need for attorneys with expertise governing this industry in an increasingly global market. Attorneys may specialize in media, such as telephones, cable, and the internet, while others focus on information technology itself.In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission, which is an independent federal agency, regulates interstate and international communications by radio, wire, satellite, and cable and is the primary authority for communications law and regulation. The rapid rise of cloud “computing” and the use of mobile devices is an especially “hot” topic matter in this sector.
What do communications lawyers do?
Whatever her or his specialty, the attorney’s primary role is to help clients navigate the complicated laws and policies. Given the complexity of the field and the continuous changes in the practice, communication attorneys enjoy a wide variety of daily activities. Attorneys in private law firms and in-house advise companies on commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions, negotiate contract terms and disputes, and manage compliance and tax issues. Attorneys in government practice may focus on policy issues, such as competition and cybersecurity. Expertise in administrative law and knowing who to “go to” in the agency in question is particularly important. Advocates for the public interest may focus on issues including privacy and the effect of mergers on low-income and disadvantaged communities. In all areas, the successful practitioner will have excellent research, analytical and writing skills, in addition to interpersonal, teamwork and negotiation skills.
What to do if you are interested in communications law?
- Administrative Law
- Communications Law and Policy
- Law of Cyberspace
- Emerging Law Governing Digital Information
- Institute for Public Representation, Communications and Technology Law Section
- The Internet and International Trade Law
- Entertainment Media Alliance – Law
- Future of Technology in the Law
- Student Intellectual Property Law Association
Relevant Bar Associations
- American Bar Association Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section: Communications, Cable &Internet Committee
- Federal Communications Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association Section of Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation
- Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Communications Law Forum
Helpful Communications Law Resources
- Electronic Privacy Information Center
- National Telecommunications &Information Administration, US Department of Commerce