Cablefax is proud to recognize these guardians of the rule of law. These men and women help the media and communications industry navigate a shifting landscape, setting the course amid regulatory upheaval and a transforming media sector. Our honorees excel in contract negotiations, M&A, the intricacies of the FCC, intellectual property, spectrum issues and more. Read on to learn more about these legal heroes.


Elizabeth Biley AndrionElizabeth Biley Andrion

SVP, Regulatory Affairs
Charter Communications

In 2017, Andrion distinguished herself by helping establish Charter Communications as a rising wireless and technology innovator. Her team proposed a strong compromise position on licensing rules for the 3.5 MHz band, received authorization for Charter to conduct innovative testing of fixed wireless and mobile wireless technologies in 3.5 MHz, and successfully advocated that the FCC enact reasonable rules around the implementation of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. “The most important legal issues for me have been those impacting Charter’s broadband deployment,” she says, pointing to FCC infrastructure proceedings as well as CBRS.


Rick BakerRick Baker

SVP, Business & Legal Affairs, Distribution
Viacom

The past twelve months were a banner year for Baker both professionally and privately. Baker and his team successfully sealed multi-year agreements and key renewals with distribution partners including Altice USA and Charter that retained and expanded carriage of Viacom networks while promoting advanced advertising and data capabilities. “I’m focused on guiding our legal strategy to keep us at the cutting edge of the TV content ecosystem as we strengthen and expand our distribution relationships through new creative solutions and innovative partnerships,” he says. To top it off, Baker became the father of twins.


Bruce BeardBruce Beard

Managing Partner
Cinnamon Mueller

Beard spent 2017 dealing with the changes in the telecommunications industry, including the FCC’s order restoring broadband as a Title I service, while advocating for the American Cable Association. A first-time honoree, Beard has served as regulatory and consent/assignment counsel on more than 75 transactions and is well-versed on the ins and outs of retrans consent contracts. Beard describes his negotiating style as polite. “Leave your ego at the door,” he says. Beard serves on the alumni board of trustees for Eastern Illinois University’s Delta Chi fraternity and is a past president of the board for Chaminade College Preparatory School Club Lacrosse.


Jeff BlumJeff Blum

SVP, Deputy General Counsel
DISH

Blum has a key role in DISH’s evolution to a “connectivity” company, helping it prepare for deploying wireless assets while keeping satellite and OTT customers. “Throughout DISH’s history, our success has been the product of long-term thinking and innovation,” says Blum, who reports directly to DISH chair Charlie Ergen. A veteran of the telecommunications industry, his previous work includes helping to establish US Supreme Court case law for copyright protection in the Grokster P2P file sharing case. Blum previously was a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, focusing on copyright, the First Amendment and anti-piracy litigation.


Catherine BohigianCatherine Bohigian

EVP, Government Affairs
Charter Communications

Bohigian and Charter have had a high profile in Washington this past year, with President Trump hosting the operator at an Oval Office ceremony last March that highlighted the company’s commitment to invest $25 billion and create 20,000 US jobs. As Charter’s legislative and regulatory strategist, Bohigian has kept the spotlight on those investments on a national and local level. With previous stops at Cablevision, the FCC, and Wiley Rein, Bohigian is well known in the industry. She serves as a director-at-large for WICT.


Burt BravermanBurt Braverman

Partner
Davis Wright Tremaine

With more than 40 years of experience, Braverman knows his way around a legal brief. These days, he’s invested in how shifts in technology are impacting MVPDs’ business. “All of this complicates negotiation of distribution and content rights deals, with each side trying to obtain or retain, as the case may be, more rights—even when they’re not quite sure what to do with them,” he says. The bottom line is that deal-making is more complex than ever, but Braverman is well equipped with a track record that includes litigating before the US Supreme Court.


Matthew BrillMatthew Brill

Partner
Latham & Watkins

Brill knows a thing or two about robocalls. He spent 2017 challenging a provision of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as violating the First Amendment. “We have argued that this provision is unconstitutional because …. it authorizes a huge volume of autodialed calls to collect government-backed debt while prohibiting other autodialed calls that present less significant privacy issues,” he says. Brill expects 2018 to bring appellate decisions that will resolve the issues, which would be welcome news to pay TV operators getting hit with TCPA lawsuits. Brill worked at the FCC and in private practice before joining Latham & Watkins.


Rudy BriocheRudy Brioche

VP & Counsel, Global Public Policy
Comcast Corporation

Brioche spent the past year working on fostering a comprehensive federal privacy and data security framework for the internet ecosystem and strengthening cybersecurity for the industry. “They’re opposite sides of the same coin and have been relatively new policy issues,” he says. Developing Comcast’s public policy positions and legislative analysis, Brioche honed his skills working for the FCC, also serving as a commercial litigator, and as counsel to the Washington Bureau of the NAACP. Brioche supports Roots of Development, an organization dedicated to helping impoverished communities, and is an active mentor.


Kerry BrockhageKerry Brockhage

EVP and Chief Legal Counsel, Content Distribution
NBCUniversal

Brockhage’s efforts in closing major distribution agreements, including a recent portfolio deal with Charter, were important to the recent success of NBCUniversal’s television business, resulting in billions of dollars of revenue. Brockhage also spent 2017 navigating “the impact of new distributors on the online video marketplace and the unique licensing issues they represent,” she says. Brockhage is involved in WICT and the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute to inspire women in the cable industry and the legal profession. In her off-time, she reads and goes to the theater.


Brown_Hunt_Charter-CommunicationsHunt Brown

SVP, Legal Operations
Charter Communications

Brown and his team provided vital legal advice following the Time Warner Cable and Bright House transactions and have helped keep innovation rolling at the MSO. The most important issues in the communications field for Brown have to do with accelerated facilities deployment and the execution of reasonable network practices for broadband. His rule for negotiating? “Identify and address both the separate and shared goals and concerns of parties to the underlying transaction to resolve issue-specific impasse with an eye toward appropriately balanced risk responsibility.” Brown is an Eagle Scout volunteer and helped in the Philmount Mountain trek in New Mexico.


Diane BursteinDiane Burstein

VP & Deputy General Counsel, Legal and Regulatory Affairs
NCTA

This NCTA veteran has a powerful track record representing cable in its relationship with broadcasters—from the DTV transition to the upcoming ATSC 3.0 standard. The latter has meant many recent visits to 12th Street to drive home the industry’s concerns over what she says is currently an “incompatible broadcasting standard.” While Burstein is deeply rooted in broadcast issues, she has her eyes on the Apples and Googles of the world. “We can expect the complex legal issues surrounding the tech giants to remain hot this year,” she says.


Lynn CharytanLynn Charytan

EVP & General Counsel
Comcast Cable

Issues of net neutrality, privacy, broadband data services and makeready kept Charytan on her toes in 2017. The industry was made more unpredictable because of the evolving political landscape. “The wild changes in each regime make it difficult to make predictions about the regulatory framework on which to base business plans,” she says. Charytan is a long-time veteran of the communications industry, working at Wilmer-Hale for more than 17 years before her current position. At Comcast, she’s responsible for the full range of legal affairs across 39 states and DC.


Chessen_RickRick Chessen

SVP, Law and Regulatory Policy & Chief Legal Officer
NCTA

Chessen spent 2017 representing cable on a number of issues, with net neutrality and infrastructure probably topping the list. But he’s also had ATSC 3.0, spectrum and Sinclair’s proposed Tribune transaction on his legal radar. Chessen says that dealing fairly with others is key to his role. “The world of communications is relatively small,” he says, “you’re going to deal with this person again.” He served at the FCC for 14 years, serving on the bureau’s Digital Television Task Force and at various law firms before joining NCTA.


Cohen_Michelle_Ifrah-PLLCMichelle Cohen

Member
Ifrah Law

With growing concern over data breaches and cyberattacks, Cohen is regularly called on to help determine if a breach has occurred and what actions are required in response. She leads the firm’s data protection and cyber security group, with her clients including esports firms and other online companies. Cohen cites the #metoo movement as one of the most important legal issues of the past year. “We see these issues in practice, including with employees who are concerned with executives violating companies’ harassment policies, as well as corporate ethics and compliance policies,” she says. Cohen started as a litigator at Paul Hastings, and was partner in the Thompson Hine telecommunications group. She volunteers for the Special Olympics.


Coley-Flippin_MauritaMaurita Coley Flippin

Interim President & CEO
MMTC

Coley Flippin was promoted to interim president and CEO of MMTC in 2017 following Kim Keenan’s departure. The two-time honoree has served for five years as EVP and COO of the nonprofit dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity in media. A leading advocate for diversity in media, she has invested in award-winning independent films produced by filmmakers of color and was part of the previous management team for BET Holdings (now Viacom). She recently presided over MMTC’s 9th annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit, interviewing FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel about broadband adoption.


Bruce CollinsBruce Collins

General Counsel and Corporate VP
C-SPAN

For more than three decades, Collins has shined as C-SPAN’s sole in-house counsel, supervising the company’s copyright protections and other legal issues, including authoring several Supreme Court amicus briefs supporting C-SPAN and/or cable industry policy objectives. Collins says that one of the biggest issues in 2017 was separating falsehoods from truth for content providers. “The myriad of consequences of how technology can toy with facts, indeed, even create new realities, will trigger legal responses,” he says. “My hope is those responses will continue to respect free speech.” A cancer survivor, Collins is a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


David ConnollyDavid Connolly

EVP, General Counsel & Secretary
Altice USA

Between striking innovative agreements with content partners, seeking ways to revolutionize Altice USA’s products and services and preparing for the changes consolidation in the industry brings, Connolly is faced with challenges. He’s keeping a close eye on AT&T’s $85 billion proposed acquisition of Time Warner. “The outcome [of the merger] certainly could have a significant impact on how the industry looks at the potential for consolidation in the months and years ahead,” he says. Overseeing all of Altice’s legal affairs across the country, Connolly served as an adviser on Altice’s acquisition of Cablevision while a partner for Sherman & Sterling.


Christa D’AlimonteChrista D’Alimonte

EVP, General Counsel and Secretary
Viacom

D’Alimonte was promoted to her current position in 2017, monitoring more than 600 employees worldwide for Viacom’s global legal affairs. Her efforts have resulted in multi-year agreements with Altice USA and Charter. She and her team also helped reach a cross-platform deal with Tyler Perry in television, film and short-form video. “We are focused on ensuring that Viacom continues to accelerate its transformation for the future in these changing times,” she says. A mother of two, D’Alimonte is also a legal adviser for Dress for Success, a non-profit organization furthering women’s interests.


Seth DavidsonSeth Davidson

Member
Mintz Levin

Davidson finds himself dealing with the intersection of old rules and assumptions and the changing environment in the telecommunications industry. “The most important legal issue … continues to be how do policymakers, industry and consumers navigate the rapidly changing technological and competitive environment,” he says. “For me personally, this issue has manifested itself in the intersection of copyright and communications law, both with respect to issues arising under the 40-plus-year-old cable compulsory license and the 20-year-old DMCA.” Davidson faces the task by drawing from his experience in the industry, including a stint as counsel at NCTA.


Tom DavidsonTom Davidson

Partner
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

It’s been a busy year for Davidson with a Republican-led FCC making major changes to communications law. “Although both the reinstatement of the UHF discount and relaxation of the media ownership rules have been appealed to the courts, the rules were not stayed pending completion of the appeals,” he says. “We already are experiencing increased merger and acquisition activity and investment in the media sector, including increased consolidation and transactional activity among existing media groups.” Davidson has represented clients for more than 30 years, with his expertise including FCC incentive auctions and spectrum.


Kyle DixonKyle Dixon

VP, Public Policy
Time Warner

In 2017, Dixon focused on copyright and privacy issues, making sure everyone in the industry got involved. “Our top priority is to ensure that the overall legal framework—communications law, copyright, privacy—preserves incentives for all players in the industry to invest, innovate and experiment to meet evolving consumer demands,” he says. Dixon applies a similar wide approach to negotiating. “Spend as much time understanding the other party … not just what they say they need, but the motivations behind it,” he says. That spirit of cooperation is important, with Dixon often joining with peers at Disney, Fox, Viacom and CBS to lobby together on policy issues.


Yaron DoriYaron Dori

Partner
Covington & Burling

Dori recently advocated for Century Link in a $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications and dealt with industry changes from the FCC reclassifying broadband as an information service. Dori’s expertise in net neutrality should serve him well in 2018 as he continues to advise clients on broadband regulation. His net neutrality forecast? “To quote the great Clubber Lang from Rocky III: ‘Prediction? Pain.’” Dori’s 20 years in the industry includes strategic planning, policy development, investigations and enforcement, and regulatory compliance.


Susan FoxSusan Fox

VP, Government Relations
Walt Disney Company

Facing the challenges of net neutrality and the results of Disney’s possible acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, Fox benefits from having worked both in the public and private sector, working for the FCC and Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) before joining Disney. Her negotiation skills help her tackle new issues. “It’s a lot easier to figure out a solution if you actually understand what problem the other side is trying to address,” she says. Fox, who has been with Disney for 17 years, represents all of Disney’s operating divisions before the federal government.


Rob FreemanRob Freeman

Partner & Co-Chair/TMT Group
Proskauer

As partner in the Sports Group and co-chair of Proskauer’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group, Freeman plays a pivotal role in the content consumers view today. He leads a team of attorneys representing a wide-range of clients, including Hulu, Altice USA, NFL Media and Discovery. His work included advising Hulu on the launch of its live TV service. Like many other attorneys on the list, he’s keeping close watch on the DOJ’s challenge of the AT&T-Time Warner merger. “Which side ultimately prevails in the case is likely to have a wide-reaching impact on the media industry,” he says.


Jamie GallagherJamie Gallagher

General Counsel
AMC Networks

Gallagher finds himself increasingly involved in cybersecurity and privacy issues at AMC Networks. “We’ve instituted a cybersecurity task force across a number of disciplines including Legal, IT, Operations, Corporate Communications and HR,” he says. It meets monthly and has created an incident response plan. With oversight of legal issues for the AMC Networks’ portfolio, Gallagher also addresses securities, corporate transactions, litigation and strategic planning. When negotiating, Gallagher says he focuses on building trust. “My golden rule is to work hard to try to build a relationship of trust with the counterparty and to try to understand their point of view,” he says.


Angela GiancarloAngela Giancarlo

Partner
Mayer Brown

Giancarlo says her work in 2017 was dominated by Title II monopoly era regulation. “This is an all-encompassing issue to which I have a devoted significant time and energy for more than a decade—dating back to 2007, while serving at the FCC,” she says. Giancarlo’s work has included helping develop rules and policies for safeguarding data privacy and securing networks against cybercrimes as well as working on implementation of the modern Emergency Alert System. She began her post-undergraduate career in the congressional office of the late former US Representative Jack Kemp (R-KY).


Paul GlistPaul Glist

Partner
Davis Wright Tremaine

Following the restoration of internet privacy authority to the FTC, Glist has found himself explaining why states don’t need to rush in and create their own legislation. The past year also had him renewing the national voluntary agreement for energy efficiency in set-top boxes. And still he finds time to visit events like CES to keep his finger on the industry’s pulse. The ability to juggle multiple complex issues is one of his keys to negotiating. “Know the business, law, policy, and technology of the deal and be able to translate it to the different stakeholders,” he says.


Neal GoldbergNeal Goldberg

General Counsel, Legal and Regulatory Affairs
NCTA

Goldberg’s skills were tested in 2017, with the seasoned attorney facing open internet battles along with the renewal of the voluntary agreement for set-top box energy efficiency. The latter required him to work with all sectors of the pay TV industry, including DBS, telco TV providers and device manufacturers, as well as energy advocates such as NRDC. His golden rule is to stay informed. “Put yourself in the other party’s shoes so you can better understand the positions they are taking and gain insight into areas where they may ultimately be flexible,” he says. He expects the coming year to bring many IoT challenges, including issues related to cybersecurity and privacy.


Ilene Knable GottsIlene Knable Gotts

Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

With recent work involving transactions such as CenturyLink-Level 3, Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House and Deutsche Telekom-MetroPCS, Gotts has honed her antitrust skills. She served as editor of the 2017 edition of the ABA’s Merger Review Process book “Law Business Research’s Private Competition Enforcement Review.” Gotts has had more than 200 articles published on antitrust and serves on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors. Gotts previously worked for the FTC Bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection.


Nathaniel HardyNathaniel Hardy

Of Counsel
Marashlian & Donahue

Hardy focused on addressing issues of programming distribution rights and broadcast ownership limits in 2017. “These issues are critical right now because the future of the video programming industry is uncertain,” he says. “Companies are fighting for every advantage, which includes obtaining the most desirable programming at the best possible price.” Hardy combines the industry with his love of the outdoors, negotiating a settlement for the construction of wireless telephone towers near the Appalachian Trail and moderating a panel on the placement of such towers near national scenic trails.


Cliff HarrisCliff Harris

SVP, Legal-Program, Product and Regulatory
Charter Communications

Harris distinguishes himself in programming and regulatory issues, including piracy, which was at the forefront of his practice in 2017. “It is absolutely critical for our industry to stop the widespread theft of content,” he says. That’s a sermon Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has delivered several times over the years. Since joining Charter from Cablevision in 2016, Harris has overseen all legal support for programming and product groups as well as regulatory compliance and policy matters. His work has included implementation of processes to comply with conditions from the Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House integration. Outside of work, Harris is an avid fan of the New York Mets.


Kim HarrisKimberley Harris

EVP, General Counsel
NBCUniversal

With broad experience in the public and private sector, Harris has a strong foundation in the telecommunications industry. Previously working for the DOJ and the White House Counsel’s Office, Harris is an expert in both business and legislative issues. She was recently awarded with the BESLA Beacon of Industry Award from the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association for her contributions to the industry. The ability to multitask serves her well outside of work, helping raise three sons at home with her husband and participating in Advocates for Children of New York.


Jennifer HightowerJennifer Hightower

SVP, Law & Policy, General Counsel
Cox Communications

Hightower helped resolve a long-time issue between Cox and another provider in 2017 that ended with both companies forming a business relationship. “I always enjoy working with multiple parties to obtain a good resolution rather than defaulting to litigation,” she says. In 2018, Hightower expects to deal with cybersecurity and industry consolidation issues. “The implications of both will keep attorneys busy for years,” she says. Hightower serves on the Atlanta’s Woman’s Foundation Board of Directors and the Greater Metro Atlanta YMCA Board.


Henry HobermanHenry Hoberman

EVP and General Counsel
A+E Networks

Hoberman’s recent credentials include helping boost A&E’s international revenue and earnings by 73 percent and 53 percent, respectively. As the supervisor of legal and business affairs teams for A+E, Hoberman brings experience from more than 30 years in the industry, with previous stops at the Motion Picture Association of America and RHI Entertainment, a television production company. His attitude toward negotiating is “everybody eats.” “You treat people on the other side of the table with respect and look for a resolution that creates a win-win for everyone,” he says.


Kimberly HulseyKimberly Hulsey

VP of Legal and Government Affairs
Discovery

Hulsey spent 2017 advocating before the FCC and Congress to protect the Scripps Networks’ C-band spectrum content transmission from disruption and interference. “We oppose neither new uses nor users, but we want to ensure that our content transmission remains protected from harmful and disruptive interference,” she says. “With at least five FCC open matters on this topic and Hill measures touching it too, we are engaging with both the FCC and Congress to protect this important business interest.” Hulsey oversees legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for Scripps, now Discovery. She first made her mark in the industry working for TV One, BET, Fleischman & Walsh and the FCC.


Rick KaplanRick Kaplan

General Counsel & EVP, Legal and Regulatory Affairs
NAB

Kaplan spent 2017 helping the FCC modernize its media ownership rules, advocating to the FCC to allow broadcasters to voluntarily transition to the Next Gen TV standard and seeking fair music licensing rates for radio stations. “This has been a very busy year for broadcasters on all fronts,” he says. Kaplan has the dual role of representing NAB before federal agencies and supervising all of NAB’s legal affairs. His background uniquely prepares him for the roles, having served at the FCC in the Wireless Communications Bureau, and as an appellate law clerk.


DeDe LeaDeDe Lea

EVP, Global Government Affairs
Viacom

Lea in 2017 spearheaded the government relations and advocacy efforts for the successful acquisition of Argentine broadcaster Telefe by Viacom, coordinating meetings between the US Department of State, the US Embassy to Argentina, the Argentine Embassy to the US, the President of Argentina and more. Her portfolio covers a wide range of regulatory and public policy issues among the many countries where Viacom operates. “One global issue that remains critically important to Viacom and our industry is the advancement of laws that protect content creators and consumers alike,” she says. Lea serves on the board for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as well as MedStar Washington Hospital Center.


Ross LiebermanRoss Lieberman

SVP, Government Affairs
ACA

A tireless advocate for independent cable operators, Lieberman feels especially relieved by the FCC’s reversal of Title II classification for broadcast providers. “For broadband service providers, it has significant long term implications for their decisions to invest in their networks and to offer innovative services. This is especially true for small cable operators,” he says. Lieberman’s role at ACA has him advising member companies on a myriad of issues, including the Connect America Fund Phase II auction and implications from the ATSC 3.0 broadcasting standard. Lieberman says that representing small cable operators makes him identify with Ant-Man. “Heroes don’t get any bigger,” he says.


Jennifer MannerJennifer Manner

SVP, Regulatory Affairs
EchoStar Corporation

Manner spent 2017 advocating for spectrum for satellite broadband and testifying about it before Congress. Manner told lawmakers that using satellites in broadband was not only cost-effective, but that satellites were not affected by disasters on the ground. She believes 5G interoperability could be the biggest sleeper issue in communications. “If 5G is really what it is going to be, you are going to have so many moving parts and of course, you have operators who are in competition,” she says. “We saw this years ago when competition first came to the telecommunications marketplace, and I expect we will see it again.”


Gwen MarcusGwen Marcus

EVP, General Counsel
Showtime Networks

As Showtime’s legal officer, Marcus keeps watch over programming and distribution transactions, as well as IP, litigation and other policy matters. Her work over the past year has included the Mayweather-McGregor fight and the expansion of OTT. She also was a speaker at the Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce Annual Diversity Summit, which focused on LGBT rights. Marcus enlisted companies and law firms to join the employer amicus brief in the challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act at the US Supreme Court. She also fought against online piracy and enforcing online terms of use. “I’m happy to say that we were successful in our litigation efforts relating to both of those issues,” she says.


Barbara MeiliBarbara Meili

Shareholder
Greenberg Traurig

Meili spent 2017 dealing with contractual issues regarding industry consolidation of distributors and programmers. Leading the New York Entertainment and Media Practice for Greenberg Traurig, Meili has represented major cable programming services, station groups, sports content providers and online and Internet-delivered programming providers. Meili says one aspect of the industry she particularly likes is that success is measured through tangible results. “I like working with companies that, at the end of the day, measure success based on their ability to distribute content which mirrors and informs society,” she says.


Scott MillerScott Miller

EVP, Associate General Counsel, Content, Negotiations, & Strategy
Turner

Promoted to his current position in 2017, Miller oversees Turner’s structuring and negotiating of all the company’s content distribution agreements of domestic networks across traditional and new media platforms in the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Canada. In so doing, Miller doesn’t just focus on law. “The most significant challenges we are facing in our business are less legal in nature and stem more from the rapidly evolving changes in the industry, such as consolidation, technology and product innovations, and consumer behavior,” he says.


Francisco MonteroFrancisco Montero

Managing Member
Fletcher Heald & Hildreth

Montero spent considerable time last year helping revitalize the broadcasting, wireless and telecommunications network in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Montero, who was an early supporter of Hispanic and Spanish language media, has represented clients including Univision, Entravision, SBS and Bustos Media. In 2018, he is focusing on issues including TV channel repacking, the survivability of “must carry” and cable cord cutting. “I frequently consider the impact on the media landscape of the major changes we are seeing in today’s market,” he says.


Matthew MurchisonMatthew Murchison

Partner
Latham & Watkins

Murchison expects to spend 2018 once again absorbed in matters of preemption. He helped litigate a case last year where a court struck down Nashville’s “one touch make ready” ordinance on preemption grounds. “Anyone following the latest twists and turns in the net neutrality debate knows that preemption issues have occupied the spotlight there recently,” he says. “Preemption issues have taken on renewed importance in various other contexts as well, including online privacy and broadband infrastructure policy.” A well-rounded attorney, Murchison has provided pro bono representation on matters involving religious freedom and international humanitarian financing and serves with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.


Keith MurphyKeith Murphy

SVP, Government Relations and Regulatory
Viacom

This year Murphy was pivotal in Viacom’s acquisition of Telefe in Argentina, speeding the approval of the landmark investment by advocating to the Argentine government on the importance of the deal. An expert in regulatory law in communications and media, Murphy sees consolidation as a prevailing factor. “I think the dominant legal issue in media has been the role of antitrust as our industry changes and consolidates,” he says. Murphy is known for his ability to view an issue in both the short and the long term and often leads policy initiatives on behalf of entertainment industry trade associations.


Elizabeth NewellElizabeth Newell

SVP, M&A and Corporate Legal
Discovery

Newell spent 2017 helping Discovery acquire Scripps Networks Interactive and keeping up with the regulatory and commercial law developments in M&A in an ever-changing media industry. When negotiating, Newell says she focuses on fair play and respect. “Negotiate with integrity and respect, and expect the same from the other side,” she says. “You will cross paths with lawyers and business people again.” Newell helped negotiate Discovery’s 2016 investment in Bethia Communications, the owner of Chile’s Mega TV.


Reta PeeryReta Peery

EVP and General Counsel
UP TV and Aspire

For Peery, 2017 was dominated by multiple issues. “Managing copyright interests and volume of DMCA takedown work required to protect rights; [and] ensuring content rights procurement sufficient to allow for unrestricted growth on new and emerging platforms” were top priorities, along with the possible impact of Next Gen standards on cable, she says. Peery has delivered deals for UP TV and Aspire including providing continued carriage and new launches of on major platforms. Peery enjoys mentoring others, and is an equestrian, formerly competing in the sport.


Endi PiperEndi Piper

Acting General Counsel and SVP, Business and Legal Affairs
TV One

Piper says that it is the duty of the telecommunications industry in 2018 to prevent misinformation and propaganda. “Working for a network that targets African Americans, there is an increased expectation of communication and transparency when it comes to the issues … and we are rising to meet the challenge,” she says. Piper takes that same idealistic attitude outside of work, serving as court appointed special advocate for foster children. Piper honed her skills working for Radio One, BET and Scripps Networks Interactive.


Stephanie PlasseStephanie Plasse

SVP and Associate General Counsel, Legal and Business Affairs
A+E Networks

Plasse’s recent successes include overseeing the legal transition of the H2 Network to Viceland with distributors in the US and in the Caribbean with a 100% success rate. Her achievements are based on a strong background in the industry, previously working at HBO, Greenberg Traurig and Cravath, Swaine & Moore. When it comes to negotiating, she comes to the table prepared. “If you have an objection to a term or language that is being proposed, be prepared to present a clear rationale for the objection as well as an alternative approach,” she says. Plasse balances life at home with her five-year-old twin boys.


Robyn PolashukRobyn Polashuk

Managing Partner, L.A.
Covington & Burling

Blockchain has been a big buzzword for 2018 and it’s been important in Polashuk’s practice as well. “Blockchain may transform distribution models and rights management and require entirely new strategies for deal-making,” she says. Polashuk’s work includes the licensing and distribution of television networks and programming content. She says that the ever-changing industry of television provides challenges. “The rapidly changing media landscape is driving broad changes,” she says. “This is pushing lawyers to develop creative legal approaches to implement business solutions.”


Tom PowerTom Power

SVP and General Counsel
CTIA

Combining a skill set from all different aspects of the telecommunications industry, Power has been a leader in the industry for several decades. Power’s background includes working at the FCC, Fiberlink Communications, Winston & Strawn, the US Department of Commerce and in the White House Office of Science and Technology. Power also served as Chief of Staff for the National Telecommunications Information Administration. His expertise includes broadband, common carrier and mass media issues.


Rob RaderRob Rader

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Ovation

In addition to wrestling with distribution, litigation and other general counsel tasks, Rader helped launch Ovation’s digital strategy by doing the deals for Ovation’s TV Everywhere app OvationNOW and its new OTT cultural travel network JOURNY. This included key distribution and advertising deals with Roku, Apple, Android, Xumo and Wurl. Rader can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the FCC hadn’t aborted a proceeding last year examining independent programming, including “most favored nations” and “alternative distribution methods” clauses. Fun fact about him—he has the law license to thrill. “When I was at MGM, I devised the winning copyright strategy based on Ian Fleming’s not surviving into the second term of copyright,” he says.


Jennifer RichterJennifer Richter

Partner
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Richter’s 2017 was punctuated by video relay service rate reform at the FCC and the FAA’s release of a report on remote tracking and identification of drones. She also promoted a new paradigm for spectrum-sharing technology in the Citizens Band Radio Service and helped ZVRS and Purple Communications combine under ZVRS Holdings. Richter says that spectrum band sharing will dominate 2018. “More bands opened up for spectrum sharing, spectrum focused on unmanned aerial systems,” she says. In addition to her expertise on spectrum policy, Richter is well versed in the Erate program and broadcast incentive auctions.


Richard RosenRichard Rosen

Senior Counsel
Arnold & Porter

An expert in mergers and acquisitions and civil and criminal matters before federal agencies, Rosen has worked on billion dollar deals in the telecommunications industry. Previously working for the DOJ and the FTC on competition and antitrust, Rosen’s clients are from the telecommunications, information technology and media industries. Rosen represented AT&T in the $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV and Cytec Industries in Solvay, S.A.’s $5.5 billion acquisition of the company.


Faiza SaeedFaiza Saeed

Presiding Partner
Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Saeed represents Disney in its pending $66 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Saeed’s experience in the industry spans the globe, with work in Canada, France, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and China. She also is skilled in many parts of the industry, including the consumer, media/tech and biotech sectors. 2017 was a stellar year for Saeed, in which she was named one of the “Top 100 Power Lawyers” and one of “Hollywood’s Top 20 Dealmakers” by The Hollywood Reporter.


Louise SamsLouise Sams

EVP & General Counsel
Turner

Sams spent 2017 learning the best way for Turner to interact with viewers. “Our businesses are seeking and using consumer data,” she says, while also considering consumers’ privacy and data security. Sams is in charge of Turner’s worldwide legal matters, including acquisitions, joint ventures, and production and clearance of content. She says that when negotiating, she tries to know what the other side wants. “My golden rule in negotiating is to put myself in the shoes of the person across the table, understand what they want out of the negotiations— that is the shortest route to a fair meeting of the minds,” she says.


Austin SchlickAustin Schlick

Director of Communications Law
Google

Last year, Schlick helped Loon, Alphabet’s internet via balloon project, get the necessary clearance to offer service in parts of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands following the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Focusing on telecommunications and media law, Schlick draws upon his background of working at the DOJ and the FCC, and serving as legislative assistant to Sen John Danforth of Missouri. Schlick also served as a law clerk on the US Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals.


Tom ShebarTom Shebar

Practice Group Attorney
Greenberg Traurig

Shebar has spent the past year addressing net neutrality and the changing merger landscape. Drawing upon his previous experience at a media distribution company as well as work in the private sector, Shebar’s expertise includes cable television distribution agreements, retransmission consent agreements, as well as media, data and technology licensing. He expects the year ahead to involve a look at the competitive advantages held by large technology firms in cloud computing power. “(It) will impact the industry as platforms continue to converge,” he says.


Jared SherJared Sher

SVP & Associate General Counsel
21st Century Fox

Sher was busy in 2017, working on Disney’s possible acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets and responding to the FCC’s renewed push to modify and relax the antiquated media ownership regulations. “The push for changes in the past year has been a major development that could enable broadcasters to compete more fairly in a market very different than the world of three networks 50 years ago or more,” he says. Sher’s expertise is broadened by his experience working at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom. When it comes to negotiating, his advice is to “always be honest and always demand honesty in return.”


Claudia Teran. EVP Business & Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel, FNG. CR: FNG / FCN.Claudia Teran

EVP, Business and Legal Affairs, General Counsel
Fox Sports/Fox Networks Group

The lead legal adviser for Fox’s first FIFA World Cup in Russia, Teran is the top negotiator for many of Fox Sports’ most important deals. She helps implement the digital and new media strategy when reviewing major deals. Fluent in English, Spanish and French, Teran works in complex international markets that are often politically charged. She is active in mentoring at Fox, helping junior executives develop in the industry.


Paresh TrivediParesh Trivedi

Senior Counsel
Proskauer

2017 was a busy year for Trivedi, ranging from the aftermath on net neutrality to renewing distribution agreements. “The FCC’s rollback of the 2015 Open Internet Order regarding net neutrality was an important legal issue in communications—particularly as it may affect the growth of streaming video services and virtual MVPDs,” he says. Successes for Trivedi in 2017 included representing Altice USA in a renewal of its distribution agreements with Disney-ESPN Media Networks, and representing cable operators in retransmission consent agreements for stations affiliated with Big 4 television networks across the country.


Rita Tuzon. EVP, Business & Legal Affairs & General Counsel, Fox Networks Group. CR: FNGRita Tuzon

EVP and General Counsel
Fox Networks Group

Tuzon addressed legal and social issues in 2017. She oversaw strategies in FNG’s pending employment case against Netflix, and was at the forefront of the company’s move to new platforms for digital distribution of content on YouTube TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now and Hulu Live. Socially, Tuzon embraces fighting sexual harassment in the workplace. “The most important legal issue in communications is the most important legal issue in our culture today: sexual harassment and the very important workplace issues the #MeToo awakened in gender equality in pay and promotions in the workplace with #TimesUp,” she says.


Wallace_Lauren_Layer3-TVLauren Wallace

Head of Business and Legal Affairs
Layer3 TV

Wallace helped lead Layer3 TV’s launch and expansion of its television service in five markets in 2017 along with the company’s acquisition by T-Mobile. “Building a new cable television company … required my team to swiftly master an understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape governing not just traditional content distribution, but mercurial rules in the new media space,” she says. Wallace assisted with that by creating Layer3 TV’s “Breakfast and Learn” mentoring sessions. A team player, she also designed a summer associate intern program for local law students, some of whom have joined her department. Wallace is guided by her past work at DISH, where she played a key role in the launch of Sling TV.


Joseph YoungJoseph Young

SVP & General Counsel & Secretary
Mediacom

Young is an expert in retransmission consent issues, often injecting dry legal filings with his trademark wit. In the past year he has been increasingly busy with NY Cosmos-related legal matters following Mediacom chief Rocco Commisso’s majority acquisition of the legendary soccer club. Young has more than three decades of experience practicing corporate and securities law. Within Mediacom, he’s admired for his commitment to diversity, especially within his own department.


 

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