Monica S. Desai

Monica S. Desai


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. Monica 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 adviser 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. Monica 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. Monica'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. Monica’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.



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


  • 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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  • Speaker, TCPA Developments, ACA International Washington Insights Conference (April 2015) 
  • Panelist, FCBA CLE on Enforcement Issues (March 2015)
  • Speaker, “TCPA Litigation: Your Company May Be a Target,” Squire Patton Boggs Webinar (Nov. 18, 2014)
  • Co-Author, Squire Patton Boggs Client Alert: TCPA Developments: FCC Acts on TCPA Junk Fax Petitions (Nov. 4, 2014)
  • Panelist, “TCPA Class Action Claims: What is Happening and Where are They Going?,” Federal Communications Bar Association Seminar (Oct. 20, 2014)
  • Co-Author, “For the FCC, a Tricky Balancing Act in Clarifying TCPA Requirements,” Bloomberg BNA (Apr. 25, 2014)
  • Co-Author, Patton Boggs Client Alert: Recent TCPA Rulings Explain “Prior Express Consent” in Non-Telemarketing Contexts (Mar. 31, 2014)
  • Presenter, “Last Call for TCPA Guidance: An In-Depth Review and Q&A,” TCPA UPDATE: Compliance with New Rules (Oct. 16, 2013)
  • Co-Author, Patton Boggs Client Alert: New TCPA Requirements for “Prior Express Written Consent” Effective October 16 (Sept. 4, 2013)
  • Co-author, “A TCPA for the 21st Century: Why TCPA Lawsuits are on the Rise and What the FCC Should Do About It,” International Journal of Mobile Marketing (Aug. 12, 2013)
  • Co-author, “Companies May Be Held Liable for the Actions of Their Telemarketer,” Bloomberg BNA Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report (July 5, 2013)
  • Co-author, Patton Boggs Client Alert: FCC TCPA Declaratory Ruling (May 14, 2013)
  • Moderator, "Update of Implementation of 2012 FCC Orders: Intercarrier Compensation," Law Seminars International Telecommunications Annual Law Conference, Seattle, WA (April 4, 2013) 
  • Speaker, “Privacy Foundation Seminar on Mobile App Privacy,” University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, Denver (March 15, 2013)
  • Contributor, Capital Thinking Radio Show, "Mobile Privacy" (March 14, 2013) 
  • Co-author, “The FTC Privacy Report and the White House Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: Policy Making Trends and What You Need to Know in 2013,” International Journal of Mobile Marketing (Winter 2012)
  • Co-author, “The FTC Privacy Report: What the Report Means and How You Can Get Ahead of Enforcement Trends by Implementing Best Practices Now,” International Journal of Mobile Marketing (Summer 2012)
  • Speaker, "Broadband Acceleration: Renewed Federal Focus on Infrastructure," PCIA Annual Conference, Dallas, TX (October 4, 2011)
  • Speaker, "Legal Issues to Consider in a Mobile Marketing Campaign," The Fundamentals of Mobile Marketing Success, Mobile Marketing Association Workshop, Sterling, VA (September 21, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Legal Issues in Mobile Marketing,” Mobile Merger Conference (September 12, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Leasing Antenna Space on Towers: How to Negotiate a Good Rate,” UTC Region 9 Fall Technical Conference, Newport, OR (September 8, 2011)
  • Speaker, "Technology: Should the Government Lead, Follow, or Just Get Out of the Way?" NetIP Conference, Washington, DC (September 2, 2011)
  • Co-author, "LBS Marketing – Why the Federal Government Cares and What You Can Do About It," International Journal of Mobile Marketing, Working Paper (September 2011)
  • Author, “Disposing of U.S. v. CDMG Realty: The Case Against the Application of CERCLA Liability for De Minimis Disturbances of Pre-Existing Contamination,” 6. N.Y.U. Environmental Law Journal 1, (December 1997) 
  • Co-author, “Tax Evasion, Section in Eighth Survey of White Collar Crime,” American Criminal Law Review (Spring 1993)