is a partner with Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and heads its
international practice. An expert on telecommunications, international
trade and investment, and national security regulation, he represents
communications and technology companies and investors in a wide variety of
cross-border and domestic regulatory and commercial matters. He is
recognized in the current editions of Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading
Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America,
SuperLawyers, and the Legal 500.
Undersea Cables. Kent works extensively in the
undersea cable sector and represents operators, suppliers, and investors to
address the critical issues they face, including: national security and
foreign investment; telecoms licensing; corporate and commercial agreements for
construction and maintenance, capacity sales, system supply, landings, and
financing; environmental permitting; market access; and the law of the sea.
- He represents numerous owners of new submarine cable systems in seeking U.S. Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") licenses and national security clearances, including:
- Facebook, Microsoft, and Telxius with their U.S.-Spain MAREA system;
- Microsoft, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa, and KT with their U.S.-Japan-Korea-Taiwan-China New Cross Pacific Cable;
- Globe Telecom, GTA, Hawaiian Telcom, RTI, and Telkom Indonesia with their Indonesia-Philippines-U.S. SEA-US system;
- DOCOMO Pacific with its Guam-Northern Marianas Atisa system;
- Telxius with its Brazil-U.S. BRUSA system;
- China Mobile with the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan FASTER system;
- Seaborn Networks with its U.S.-Brazil Seabras-1 system; and
- Angola Cables with the U.S.-Brazil Monet system.
- He negotiated the supply contracts for DOCOMO Pacific’s Atisa system and Bluesky’s Moana system.
- He negotiated the U.S. landing party agreements for Angola Cables in the Monet system and for Emerald Networks (now Aquacomms) with the U.S.-Ireland AE Connect system.
- He has led various industry-wide regulatory-reform and cable-protection initiatives and has long served as counsel to the North American Submarine Cable Association.
- Since 2013, he has chaired the first-ever submarine cable working group of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, leading the development for the FCC Chairman of two landmark reports on submarine cable protection.
- He chairs the Legal Committee of the UNESCO/International Telecommunication Union/World Meteorological Organization Joint Task Force regarding the use of marine data sensors on undersea cables for disaster warning and climate-change monitoring.
Foreign Investment, National Security,
and Cybersecurity. Kent
represents U.S. sellers and foreign purchasers of defense and critical
infrastructure businesses to obtain investment clearances from the Committee on
Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS") under the Defense
Production Act. He also represents service providers, infrastructure
owners, and investors in negotiating network security agreements with the
"Team Telecom" agencies—the U.S. Departments of Justice, Defense, and
Homeland Security ("DHS"), and the FBI. He advises companies on
cybersecurity, wiretapping, surveillance, and related policy issues under the Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act ("CALEA"), the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”), and the USA PATRIOT Act. He also
represents companies to obtain and maintain security clearances for work on
classified contracts and negotiates agreements with the Defense Security
Service to mitigate foreign ownership, control, or influence
- He has represented sellers and purchasers in CFIUS reviews involving the mobile telecommunications, undersea cable, aerospace, munitions, and electrical equipment sectors, including:
- Level 3 Communications in its acquisition of Global Crossing;
- Clearwire in its acquisition by SoftBank and Sprint; and
- TE Connectivity in its acquisitions of Measurement Specialties, the SEACON Group, and the Deutsch Group.
- He represents Level 3 Communications and China Mobile in the FCC’s Team Telecom reform process.
- He represents Ericsson subsidiary iconectiv (formerly Telcordia Technologies) in national security-related aspects of its successful bid and transition to serve as the U.S. Local Number Portability Administrator.
- He has negotiated dozens of security mitigation arrangements with Team Telecom.
Communications Regulation, Licensing,
and Transactions. Kent
represents network operators, service providers, and software and equipment
manufacturers in policy, licensing, and environmental matters before a variety
of regulators and policymakers—including the FCC; the Departments of State,
Commerce, and Defense; state and territorial regulators; the International
Telecommunication Union; and numerous foreign regulators (particularly in the
Pacific and Caribbean regions)—to enable new network infrastructure, emerging
technologies, mergers and acquisitions, and financing arrangements.
- He represented National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (“CFC”) before the FCC and governments of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, France, and St. Maarten in the sale of the Innovative Group’s fixed, mobile, cable television, and ISP businesses in the Caribbean to ATN International, having previously represented CFC before those regulators and a U.S. bankruptcy court to acquire those businesses in 2009-2010.
- He represented Apax Partners to obtain FCC and Team Telecom approvals for its acquisition of satellite services provider Marlink from Airbus.
- He represented Centerbridge Partners to obtain FCC and Team Telecom approvals for its investments in the reorganized LightSquared (now Ligado).
- For more than a decade, he has represented Level 3 Communications to obtain FCC approvals for its acquisitions of tw telecom, Global Crossing, Broadwing, TelCove, WilTel, Looking Glass Networks, Progress Telecom, ICG, and Genuity, and for its sales of network assets to CenturyLink, DG Fast Channel, IDT, Pioneer, and Reach.
- In the Asia Global Crossing bankruptcy, he was admitted as an expert and testified in federal court on U.S. and Japanese telecommunications regulation.
- He advised the Mexican regulator Cofetel regarding regulatory reform and liberalization.
Export Controls and Economic Sanctions. Kent counsels companies
regarding compliance with U.S. and multilateral economic sanctions and export
controls, and represents them before the Departments of the Treasury (OFAC),
Commerce (BIS), State (DDTC), and Defense to obtain licenses necessary to consummate
investment, financial, and export transactions.
- He represents U.S. mobile carriers to ensure that BIS restrictions on exports to Chinese equipment supplier ZTE Corporation do not harm their businesses or U.S. consumers.
- He has represented numerous telecommunications carriers, equipment suppliers, and NGOs to obtain favorable State Department guidance and OFAC and BIS licenses for transactions in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
- He worked extensively with U.S. Government agencies to develop their regulations for Cuba-related telecommunications transactions.
Trade Policy and Market Access. Kent represents companies before
the U.S. Trade Representative and foreign governments in World Trade
Organization ("WTO") matters, market access disputes (including
disputes over goods, services, investment, and government procurement), and
bilateral and regional trade negotiations.
- He has represented telecommunications companies seeking to reduce India's security, technical, and local-content requirements for telecommunications equipment and to promote joint U.S.-India cybersecurity initiatives.
- He represents undersea cable interests to ensure access in Indonesia for foreign-flagged vessels installing and repairing undersea cables.
- He has represented DIRECTV to combat satellite signal piracy in Latin America under bilateral and regional trade agreements.
- He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, analyzing the impact on economic development of WTO commitments to liberalize trade in basic telecommunications services and investment.
Public International Law, Law of the
Sea, and Maritime. Kent
represents companies in public international law matters, particularly those
involving jurisdictional disputes among sovereign states and the law of the sea,
and with related maritime issues.
- He has long represented undersea cable operators regarding treaty protections and environmental regulation.
- He represented submarine cable supplier TE SubCom to settle favorably a dispute over damage to the Hawk system between Cyprus and Egypt.
- He represents cable ship operators in complying with the Jones Act, U.S. Coast Guard regulations, and other cabotage restrictions.
- He represents OPT French Polynesia before the International Seabed Authority to protect its Honotua submarine cable from deep seabed mining activities in the Pacific.
- He has represented mobile carriers regarding the provision of international roaming and cruise ship-based services.
Kent graduated from the University of
Chicago Law School in 1994, where he served as Associate Editor of The
University of Chicago Legal Forum and won the Joseph Henry Beale Prize for
legal writing. Prior to law school, he served as an economic policy
intern in the American Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Kent graduated from
Stanford University, with distinction, in 1991, and studied political
philosophy at Brasenose College, Oxford University, in 1990. In 2013, he
placed second in his class for the diploma course of the Rhodes Academy of
Oceans Law and Policy, a joint program of the University of Virginia and four
Kent is a member of the District of
Columbia and New York Bars, the American Society of International Law
(Assistant Treasurer, 2003-2006), and the Federal Communications Bar Association
(Co-Chair, Global Telecommunications Development Committee, 2000-2003).
He is a native of Portland, Oregon.
University of Chicago Law School, J.D.
Stanford University, B.A., with distinction
Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, Diploma