Wilkinson Barker Knauer Expands With Addition of Kathleen Abernathy, Barry Ohlson and Natalie Roisman As Partners
Washington, D.C. communications law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP has announced that, effective today, former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy, along with Barry J. Ohlson and Natalie G. Roisman, have joined the firm as partners, arriving from the Washington, DC office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, where Ms. Abernathy was a partner, Mr. Ohlson a special counsel and Ms. Roisman a counsel.
Ms. Abernathy’s arrival represents a homecoming of sorts – she was a partner in Wilkinson Barker Knauer from 1999 until 2000. L. Andrew Tollin, Managing Partner of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, said, “It is a genuine pleasure to have Kathleen return to our firm, and to welcome Barry and Natalie. All three have built stellar reputations within the communications bar, and their experience at the highest levels of FCC policymaking will further enhance our ability to provide top-quality services to our clients and to advocate on their behalf. In addition, Natalie’s expertise in media law will add additional depth to our growing media and technology practice, which recently expanded when David O’Connor joined us earlier this year.” Ms. Abernathy commented, “Barry, Natalie and I are very much looking forward to moving our practices to one of the premier communications law firms in the country. The breadth and depth of Wilkinson Barker’s expertise will allow us to provide even better service to our clients.”
Biographical information regarding Ms. Abernathy, Mr. Ohlson and Ms. Roisman follows:
Kathleen Q. Abernathy:
Ms. Abernathy advises clients on a wide variety of policy and regulatory issues related to the telecommunications and media fields. From 2001-2005, she served as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, where she was involved in decision-making in all of the policy areas under the FCC’s jurisdiction. Ms. Abernathy chaired the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service and participated as a U.S. representative in numerous international bilateral and multilateral negotiations, including the 2002 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference and the 2003 ITU World Radiocommunications Conference. She was appointed by the ITU to chair the 2004 ITU Global Symposium for Regulators.
Before joining the FCC as a commissioner, Ms. Abernathy was vice president for public policy at BroadBand Office Communications; a partner in Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP; vice president for regulatory affairs at US West; and vice president for federal regulatory affairs at AirTouch Communications. Earlier in her career, she was legal advisor to two FCC commissioners and a special assistant to the agency’s general counsel.
Accolades for Ms. Abernathy include her selection as one of the 2007 Washington DC Super Lawyers. She also has received the President’s Medal in 2005 from the Catholic University of America; the Forerunner Accolade in 2002 from Women in Cable and Telecommunications for her commitment to encouraging, developing and promoting women in the industry; and the Milestone Award in 2001 from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law for her exemplary service to the law school and outstanding achievement in the field of communications law. In addition, she was named one of the most powerful women in television by Electronic Media magazine (October 2002).
Ms. Abernathy serves on the boards of Frontier Communications, Go America, the Progress and Freedom Foundation and the John Gardner Fellowship Association, Stanford University and on the advisory board of ictQATAR, the telecommunications regulator in Qatar. Ms. Abernathy received her B.A. magna cum laude from Marquette University and her J.D. from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Federal Communications Bar Association, of which she is a Past-President.
Barry J. Ohlson:
Mr. Ohlson’s practice focuses on the wireless, telecommunications, and broadband sectors, with an emphasis on assessing the strategic and regulatory implications of advanced technologies and new telecommunications services. For the majority of his six-year tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, he was Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, providing counsel on all administrative and policy matters, particularly those involving spectrum, satellite, technology, public safety and international issues. Mr. Ohlson previously served as Chief of the Policy Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, as a Legal Advisor to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief, and as Acting Chief of the Bureau’s Public Safety and Private Wireless Division.
Before his government service, Mr. Ohlson was the senior director of federal regulatory affairs at Winstar Communications, and he practiced law at McDermott, Will & Emery and Keller and Heckman in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Ohlson earned his A.B. from the College of William & Mary and his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. He is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association, and currently serves as a co-chair of the Professional Responsibility Committee.
Natalie G. Roisman:
Ms. Roisman advises clients in the media and telecommunications fields on a wide variety of policy and regulatory issues. She works with broadcast, cable, motion picture studio, telecommunications, wireless carrier, and equipment manufacturer clients to develop and execute advocacy strategies with respect to industry-wide rulemakings, adjudicatory proceedings, regulatory compliance, and enforcement actions. Ms. Roisman also advises investors and the financial community regarding media and telecommunications acquisitions and the impact of Congressional and FCC policy actions on relevant industries.
Ms. Roisman served as an Attorney-advisor in the policy division of the FCC’s Media Bureau, where her primary areas of responsibility included the digital television transition; content protection and digital rights management; consumer electronics equipment; low-power FM radio; program access and carriage; and issues relating to IP video and telco entry into the programming distribution market, including video franchising and Section 621 of the Communications Act.
Ms. Roisman earned her A.B. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1996 and her J.D. in 1999 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was the updates editor of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law, a member of the University of Pennsylvania American Inn of Court and president of the class of 1999. She is a trustee of the Federal Communications Bar Association Foundation and an adjunct faculty member of The George Washington University Law School.
Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP is one of the largest law firms in the nation dedicated exclusively to the practice of communications and technology law. The firm advises its clients, which range from global Fortune 100 companies to small start-ups, in regulatory, transactional, corporate and litigation matters involving all aspects of telecommunications and mass media. More information about the firm can be found at http://www.wbklaw.com.