FCC General Counsel Joins Firm That Represented Zell

Samuel Feder, who served as FCC General Counsel from June 2005 until January 2008, is leaving the Commission to be a partner at the Washington law firm that represented real estate magnate Sam Zell before the commission in Zell’s recent acquisition of Tribune Corp.

The FCC approved Zell’s takeover of Tribune Nov. 30. Feder’s new employer, the national full-service firm Jenner & Block was the lead firm representing Zell in the $8.2 billion deal.

Other clients of the firm have included the Recording Industry Association of America, and Time Warner Cable.

“Sam provided exceptional legal advice on every matter we faced and also played a crucial role in policy development,” FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in a statement. “I have worked with Sam since the day I became a Commissioner in 2001, and I will greatly miss his excellent judgment and wise counsel.”

Feder was appointed General Counsel in June 2005; prior to that he served as Martin’s legal advisor for spectrum and international issues and as a legal advisor to then-Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. Before joining the commission, Feder worked at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, and at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, where he focused on telecommunications and litigation. He has also served as a trial attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the Department of Justice, specializing in constitutional and administrative law, and as a law clerk to the Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Feder is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and finished first in his class at the University of Michigan Law School.

The FCC announced Jan. 22 that Matthew Berry replaced Feder as general counsel. The FCC statements do not explain what Feder’s role at the commission was in the month before the announcement Feder was leaving the commission.

Feder’s new boss called him “a highly experienced communications lawyer” with a background in both the private and the public sectors.

“Sam has been General Counsel at the FCC at a time when the telecommunications industry is undergoing a process of rapid technological and legal change,” said Gregory S. Gallopoulos, Jenner & Block managing partner. “His experience in all areas of telecommunications, especially spectrum, cable, and wireline communications, will be of great benefit to the firm’s clients.”

Feder starts the new job March 3.