Monica S. Desai

Partner

Monica Desai advises clients from the technology and communications sectors on the regulation of their industry by such agencies as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), helping her clients understand and navigate existing – and shape pending – complex regulatory rules and policy.

Much of her work involves representing client interests before the FCC through the development of policy initiatives and regulatory proposals related to media, privacy, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), and spectrum issues. Ms. Desai has served as an expert witness and consults on litigation related to FCC issues, and represents clients before Congress. She advises investors in the technology communications sectors, and counsels governments around the world on the development of communications law and regulation.

Monica has spent more than a decade in senior positions at the FCC, under Republican and Democratic administrations, including service as chief of the Media Bureau, chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, deputy chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and legal advisor to a former FCC commissioner.

As chief of the Media Bureau at the FCC, she established, directed, and conducted oversight of all policy, budget, personnel, press-related, Congressional, and administrative matters within the Media Bureau; she also testified twice before Congress during this time regarding digital television and cable issues. She also developed, administered and advised the chairman and commissioners on FCC licensing programs for cable television, broadcast television and radio, as well as orders and federal rules related to video franchising, Direct Broadcast Satellite service, program carriage, program access, cable ownership, media ownership, leased access, digital television, digital audio broadcasting, and other matters. Ms. Desai draws on that background when advising private sector clients on media-related issues, including mobile marketing, program access and program carriage, children’s programming, set-top box issues, and review of transactions before the FCC.

Similarly, in her capacity as chief of the Consumer Governmental Affairs Bureau at the FCC, Monica advised the chairman and commissioners, developed orders, and managed all rulemaking proceedings related to general consumer and disability policies, including closed captioning, TCPA, TRS, and hearing aid compatibility. She also served as liaison from the FCC to industry leaders, federal advisory committees, consumer groups, disability groups, and professional associations in coordinating consumer issues, and managed the FCC’s relationship with federal, state, and tribal government agencies. Ms. Desai’s experience with these issues is especially valuable when representing private sector clients before the FCC and in Congress on consumer and accessibility issues. A significant component of her work has involved TRS and TCPA rules and policies. Ms. Desai’s experience also encompasses relevant privacy-related issues, and representing clients on those issues before the FTC.

Monica leverages her FCC background when counseling and advocating on behalf of clients at the FCC and in Congress on matters involving spectrum and wireless infrastructure. She has extensive experience in wireless infrastructure issues, waivers, historic preservation issues, and review of transactions before the FCC.

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Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., cum laude
  • George Washington University, B.B.A., magna cum laude, National Merit Scholar

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Federal Communications Bar Association, Executive Committee (2008 – present)

Clerk Experience

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
    Hon. Deborah K. Chasanow
    January 1998 - January 1999
  • Honoree, FCC Leaders and Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Women's History Month Celebration, April 10, 2013
  • Featured as “Geek of the Week” by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council’s Broadband and Social Justice Blog, Week of April 1, 2013

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