Gardner F. Gillespie

Gardner F. Gillespie: Attorney with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP AV stamp icon
Attorney Awards


Gardner Gillespie Of Counsel in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's Washington D.C. office.

Areas of Practice

Gardner’s practice focuses on complex judicial and administrative cable television and telecom litigation. In his long career, he has handled dozens of appeals in the United States Courts of Appeal and state supreme and appellate courts; he has appeared before trial courts (federal and state) in California, New York, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and the District of Columbia. He has also handled hearings and arbitrations before administrative agencies in Ohio, Hawaii, California, New York, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and the Federal Communications Commission. His recent primary focus has been on infrastructure issues including access to rights-of-way, conduits and utility poles; municipal franchising disputes; disputes related to municipal and state-mandated franchise fees and fees in support of Public, Educational and Governmental (“PEG”) channels; clearing bandwidth for new uses and services; competition from new providers and disputes related to cable operators’ institutional networks.


•Telecommunications MVP, Law360, 2016
•Top 100 Attorney, Washington, D.C., America's Top 100 Attorneys, 2016
•Media, Technology and Telecoms, Legal 500, 2013-2015, 2017, 2018


•Clerked for Honorable John Minor Wisdom, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
•Obtained summary judgment in federal district court in North Carolina against a municipal claim for an Institutional Network valued at $40 million
•An arbitration in Hawaii, regarding claims for $16 million in fees related to PEG equipment
•Successful litigation for three different clients in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, and Texas related to disputes over reclaiming channel capacity devoted to PEG channels
•Litigation for cable clients regarding denial of class certification in a California class action regarding use of utility easements
•Lead counsel in a two-week trial in Florida regarding regulatory classification of advanced cable services and claims in excess of $30 million
•Lead counsel in a week-long trial in a case of first impression in North Carolina dealing with rates for attachment by cable operators to municipal and cooperative utility poles
•Lead counsel in cases in Florida involving access to developments
•Representation of cable operators in regulatory adjudications and rulemaking proceedings on infrastructure issues at the FCC and numerous state regulatory agencies, including California, Ohio and Kentucky
•Franchise and PEG fee disputes in federal district courts in California and Nebraska
•An investigation by a state attorney general regarding pass-through of franchise fees on subscribers’ bills
•Formal franchise renewal and modification disputes with municipalities in Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas, Michigan, Maryland and Ohio


•Author, Rights-of-Way Redux: Municipal Fees on Telecommunications Companies and Cable Operators, 107 Dick. L. Rev. 209 (2002); Rights-of-Way Redux...Redux, 107 Dick. L. Rev. 877 (2003)

FCC Law Blog Posts

• North Carolina Court Issues First Decision Controlling Coop Pole Attachment Rates, May 29, 2014

Media Mentions

•Telecom MVP: Sheppard Mullin's Gardner Gillespie
Law360 , December 6, 2016
•Feds Reach Deal To Protect Sea Turtles From Shrimpers
Law360 , September 12, 2016

Areas of Practice (5)

  • Litigation
  • Appellate
  • Privacy and Cybersecurity
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Communications

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
202.747.1905  Phone
202.747.3815  Fax
University Attended:
Williams College, B.A., cum laude, 1967
Law School Attended:
University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, Executive Editor, Virginia Law Review, 1973
Year of First Admission:
U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Eleventh; 1973, Virginia; 1975, District of Columbia; U.S. Supreme Court


•Member, American Bar Association
•Member, Federal Communications Bar Association

Birth Information:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 16, 1945

Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

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

Washington, District of Columbia

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