Dave Thomas



Dave Thomas is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's Washington D.C. office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Thomas has a national practice in the telecommunications and broadband communications industries, and in cyber and data security. His practice focuses on the deployment and operations of competitive wire-based and wireless networks and services, with a particular emphasis on the mesh of federal, state and local regulations surrounding broadband networks in matters involving network operations and security, local franchising, rights-of-way and infrastructure.

During his more than 25 years as counsel to the nation's top cable and broadband companies, cable and telecommunications trade associations, and other business organizations, and having handled cases in approximately 40 states, Mr. Thomas is a nationally recognized authority on utility and telecommunications infrastructure, pole attachments, rights-of-way, federal, state and local broadband and telecommunications regulatory and communications plant deployment issues and public utility law.

Mr. Thomas has handled a wide range of regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters involving telecommunications providers, broadcasters, satellite communications, federal, state and local licensing and permitting, data security and privacy and spectrum use. He has litigated before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), numerous state public service commissions and federal and state courts. In addition to those bodies, he regularly appears before state legislatures and county and municipal governments.

A frequent speaker at communications and utility industry conferences, Mr. Thomas has published works on a variety of domestic and international industry issues, including cyber and data security, new technology, infrastructure and use, network deployment and spectrum use and allocation.

Mr. Thomas is also the partner in charge of lateral recruiting for Sheppard Mullin's Washington, D.C. office.


•Best Lawyer in America, Communications, Best Lawyers, 2019
•Media, Technology and Telecoms, Legal 500, 2013-2015, 2017, 2018


•How a Consumer Group’s Cybersecurity Initiative Could Shape the Market
Morning Consult, June 12, 2017
•New Broadband-Friendly Laws In Ohio, Louisiana
Law360, August 18, 2014

Eye On Privacy Blog Posts

•Let’s Go Crazy: The FTC and FCC Launch “Parallel” Investigations Into Security Updates of Mobile Communications Industry, May 13, 2016
•NTIA Issues Request for Comments on Policies Related to Cyber Threats Surrounding Internet of Things, May 4, 2016
•To Share or Not to Share (with the Government)? That is the Question: DHS Announces Interim Guidelines for Sharing Cyber Threat Indicators, March 1, 2016

FCC Law Blog Posts

•FCC Seeks “Large Step” Toward Advancing Broadband Infrastructure Goals With Draft One-Touch Make-Ready Order, July 16, 2017
•FCC Vows It’s Never Gonna Give Up On Bridging Digital Divide: Opens Rulemakings To Promote Access To Broadband Infrastructure, April 21, 2017
•Sixth Circuit Rejects FCC’s Effort To Preempt State Regulation Of Municipal Broadband Providers, August 11, 2016
•They Can Be Heroes: The FCC Proposes Expansive and Detailed Privacy & Cybersecurity Regulations for Broadband ISP, April 8, 2016
•What’s That? What’s That? Fourth Circuit Upholds FCC Collocation Regulations Against 10th Amendment Challenge, January 8, 2016
•Government Forces Awaken: The Rise of Cyber Regulators in 2016, December 30, 2015
•FCC Slams Door on Higher Pole Attachment Rates, November 25, 2015
•Cyberspace Oddity: The FCC Regulates Internet Services as Common Carrier Telecommunications Services, 'Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,' February 27, 2015
•Headin’ Down the Copperhead Road - the FCC Proposes New Rules for Legacy Infrastructure, January 5, 2015
•Turnin’ Havana to Atlanta: The White House Opens Doors for U.S. Telecommunications Investment in Cuba and Latin America, December 19, 2014
•If They Could Be All You Wanted: The FCC Gets Serious About Small Cells, October 28, 2014
•Of Buckeyes and Batons Rouges: Ohio and Louisiana Adopt Comprehensive Pole Access and Attachment Rules, August 11, 2014
•Is Wheeler Gaga for Gigabit? The FCC Liberates 100 MHz of Spectrum for Unlicensed Wi-Fi, April 7, 2014
•Sleeper “Small” Cells: The Battle Over The FCC’s Wireless Infrastructure Proceeding, February 27, 2014

Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Blog Posts

•To Share or Not to Share (with the Government)? That is the Question: DHS Announces Interim Guidelines for Sharing Cyber Threat Indicators, March 29, 2016

Media Mentions

•New Broadband Privacy Rules Face Perilous Future
San Francisco Chronicle, January 22, 2017
•Telecoms Freed From FTC Grasp In 9th Circ. AT&T Ruling
Law360, August 30, 2016
•Obama's Set-Top Box Move Is Latest Attempt At FCC Meddling
Law360, April 19, 2016
•FCC Broadband Privacy Rules Set ISPs Apart On Liability
Law360, March 11, 2016

Speaking Engagements

•Panelist, The Perfect Storm Critical Infrastructure & the Crucial Role of the Communications Network, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) 124th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, November 11-14, 2012


•Practical Approach: Business & Investing in the Telecommunications Sector in Mexico Under New Regulatory Framework
Sheppard Mullin New York, September 9, 2014

Areas of Practice (10)

  • Litigation
  • Privacy and Cybersecurity
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • International Reach
  • Japan
  • Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade
  • Public Policy and Government Affairs
  • Communications
  • Construction
  • Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
202.747.1916  Phone
202.747.3814  Fax
University Attended:
Cornell University, A.B., 1984; Boston University, M.S., 1987
Law School Attended:
Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1990
Year of First Admission:
1990, District of Columbia


•Federal Communications Bar Association
•International Association of Privacy Professionals
•Advisory Board of Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary (Wiley Publishing, 2008)


Peer Reviews

This lawyer does not have peer reviews.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Documents (4)

Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

Washington, District of Columbia

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