AUSWR
The Association of U S West Retirees
 

 

 

Former FCC Member Abernathy To Join Akin Gump Law Firm
By Ashby Jones
The Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 13, 2006

Kathleen Quinn Abernathy, a former commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, is joining Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Washington, D.C., office as a partner in the law firm's communications and information-technology department.

Ms. Abernathy, 49 years old, will counsel the firm's media and telecommunication clients on policy-related and regulatory issues.  She starts March 29.

"This is great news for us," said Tom Davidson, the head of the department.  "We've been looking for a high-profile, senior person like this for a number of years and were fortunate to be able to land her."

In December, Ms. Abernathy left the FCC after her term as commissioner expired.  (Her initial term expired in 2004 but was extended.)  In February, President Bush nominated telecommunications attorney Robert M. McDowell to fill Ms. Abernathy's seat.

During her tenure, which began in May 2001, Ms. Abernathy oversaw a number of high-profile acquisitions, including News Corp.'s 2003 purchase of DirecTV Group Inc., Verizon Communications Inc.'s 2005 acquisition of MCI Inc. and SBC Communications Inc.'s purchase of AT&T Corp. to become AT&T Inc., which also occurred last year.  The FCC, during her tenure, defined the regulatory framework for broadband services offered by phone companies and grappled with setting standards for media-ownership levels.

Ms. Abernathy initially anticipated that, upon leaving the FCC, she would re-enter the corporate world.  (Before serving at the FCC, Ms. Abernathy served as a vice president of public policy at BroadBand Office Communications Inc.)  "But my meetings with Akin Gump convinced me that a law firm offered a much more flexible venue," she said, referring to her ability to represent different clients in a variety of different forums, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Ms. Abernathy said she chose Akin Gump over other firms that courted her because the firm had "tremendous lawyers on board," many of whom were working on international issues.

Before working at BroadBand Office Communications, Ms. Abernathy held senior positions at AirTouch Communications Inc. (part of Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone AirTouch PLC) and U S West Communications Inc. (part of Qwest Communications International Inc.)  She holds degrees from Marquette University and from Catholic University's Columbus School of Law.  She has spent her entire career in the telecommunications industry.

Write to Ashby Jones at ashby.jones@wsj.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114222328413796390-search.html?KEYWORDS=Qwest&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month