Howard Symons Named FCC General Counsel

Howard SymonsWASHINGTON– FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today announced the departure of Jon Sallet as the FCC General Counsel and his intention to appoint Howard Symons as the next General Counsel. Sallet will become the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

“Jon Sallet has been an incredible contributor to the activities of the commission over the last two and a half years,” Chairman Wheeler said. “He has been a great counselor to me and the commission. As general counsel, Jon worked closely with our colleagues at the Department of Justice; it should be no surprise that the Antitrust Division would seek to have Jon join their team. To the Antitrust Division, we say, ‘Good move!’ To our friend Jon Sallet we say, ‘Godspeed.’”

In his new position as FCC general counsel, Symons will lead the office that serves as the principal legal advisory office to the commission as a whole. Attorneys in the office represent the commission in litigation, recommend decisions in adjudicatory matters, assist the commission in its decision-making capacity and perform a variety of legal functions regarding internal and other administrative matters.

“Howard Symons has distinguished himself as a sage practitioner of communications law for decades,” the chairman said.“I have had the opportunity of working with Howard many times on complicated and important communications issues and know from firsthand experience his significant abilities. Now that the Incentive Auction rules are in place and the auction is underway, we have the flexibility to ask Howard to transfer his considerable talents to become general counsel.”

Prior to joining the commission, Sallet was been a partner in three law firms, served as chief policy counsel for MCI Telecommunications (later MCI WorldCom), and served as Director of the Office of Policy & Strategic Planning for the Department of Commerce. He was a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and the Honorable Edward A. Tamm of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Symons has been working in telecommunications in both the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. Before his appointment to the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force in January 2014, he was the chair of the communications practice at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. and served as senior counsel to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications in the U.S. House of Representatives. He graduated from Yale University and earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.