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Sherrese M. Smith

Partner, Corporate Department
T 1(202) 551-1965
F 1(202) 551-0465
Sherrese Smith is a partner in the Telecommunications, Media, and Technology (TMT) and Privacy and Cybersecurity practices at Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. She is a highly regarded lawyer with significant private sector and high-level government experience in media, communications, Internet, digital technology and e-commerce issues as well as privacy, security and data security issues.

Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Ms. Smith served as Chief Counsel for Chairman Julius Genachowski at the Federal Communications Commission. In this position, she managed the overall policy agenda for the agency and developed the FCC’s positions and key messages for all media, telecommunications, and mobile policy issues and specialized in the areas of media, Internet, video, broadcast, cable, broadband, IP, mobile and wireless spectrum issues, telemarketing issues, and data privacy and security. Her work involved extensive interaction with external stakeholders, including wireless, media, cable, and telecommunications companies, industry groups and trade associations, federal and state agencies, and Congress.

Prior to joining the FCC in 2009, Ms. Smith was Vice President and General Counsel of Washington Post Digital. In this role, she was in charge of all legal and policy matters for this leading digital media and technology company which managed The Washington Post Company’s flagship website, washingtonpost.com, as well as Slate.com, ForeignPolicy.com, TheRoot.com, TheBigMoney.com, and Loudounextra.com. As General Counsel, she oversaw and managed a full range of matters, including various media and Internet issues, content protection and privacy/data issues as well as technology, licensing, and commercial transactions. Further, she represented the Company on all regulatory and government affairs issues, including federal and state cases, consumer class actions, and state attorney general administrative actions. She also supported the corporate and business development teams in strategic transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures.

In addition, Ms. Smith currently provides up-front guidance on establishing compliance programs that reflect privacy policy and industry best practices. She has counseled companies on data governance issues, including use of customer and advertising data. She has advised industry associations on emerging privacy issues and measures to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities and has also advised and written on privacy best practices and evolving standards in the rapidly growing area of mobile privacy. She counsels frequently on compliance with the European Union Data Protection Directive and privacy issues in a variety of foreign jurisdictions.

Ms. Smith is currently an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University.

Accolades and Recognitions

  • Recognized by Chambers USA in its 2016 edition as among its leading Media & Entertainment lawyers. Sources say: "She does not over-promise, but she absolutely over-delivers. I am not aware of anything she has done that has not been done to the highest standard."
  • Influential Women in Communications Award, 2012
  • American Bar Association’s “Women to Watch” Award, 2009
  • Named an “Outstanding In-House Counsel” by the District of Columbia’s chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, 2007

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Leaders in Corporate Innovation, Financial Times-Paul Hastings Innovators Forum, San Jose, CA, February 11, 2016
  • Keynote Session – Policy Issues for Reimagined Telecoms and Panel on Legal and Regulatory Considerations in a Digital World, Pacific Telecommunications Council Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI, January 18, 2016
  • Electronic Media Regulation Panel, Practicing Law Institute’s Communications Law in the Digital Age 2015, New York, NY, November 12, 2015
  • HOW Forum, The Alchemy of Innovation, New York, NY, November 6, 2015
  • Communications Privacy and Security and FCC Enforcement, Privacy and Security Forum, Washington, DC, October 22, 2015
  • Data Privacy and Cybersecurity – Sharing Best Practices, Women in Corporate Governance Symposium, Washington, DC, October 14, 2015
  • Practical Consequences Of The EU Decision On Safe Harbor, Paul Hastings Webinar, Washington, DC, October 13, 2015
  • Best Practices on Protecting Employee Data, Company Data & Internal Emails, Corporate Counsel Women of Color Eleventh Annual Career Strategies Conference, Atlanta, GA, September 23, 2015
  • 2015 Privacy Law Salon: Policymaker Roundtable, Washington, DC, September 11, 2015
  • FCC Regulatory Update, SNL Kagan’s Analyst Training in Media and Communications Program, New York, NY, August 11, 2015
  • Aspen Action Forum, Aspen Institute, Aspen, CO, July 26-31, 2015
  • The New Economics of Retransmission Consent: Rising Rates and Rising Reverse Panel, SNL Kagan Institute’s 32nd Annual TV and Radio Finance Summit, New York, NY, June 25, 2015
  • The Fundamentals of FCC Regulatory Law, The American Conference Institute’s FCC Boot Camp, San Francisco, CA, June 22, 2015
  • Untwisting Regulatory Pretzels with the FCC, NAB Show, Las Vegas, NV, April 14, 2015
  • Media Advocacy Workshop, ABA Forum, Scottsdale, AZ, February 5, 2015
  • Legal and Regulatory Risks in a Broadband World, Pacific Telecommunications Council Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI, January 19, 2015
  • Privacy Issues for Financial Institutions, AXA Law Department, New York, NY, December 12, 2014
  • Electronic Media Regulation Panel, Practicing Law Institute’s Communications Law in the Digital Age 2014, New York, NY, November 13, 2014
  • A frequent lecturer on media, Internet, data protection and security, and intellectual property issues and a faculty member for the Practicing Law Institute. Recent speaking engagements include:
  • Media Regulation and Impact on Earnings and Valuation, SNL Kagan Media School Conference, New York, NY, October 6, 2014 
  • Co-Chair, Media Law Resource Center/American Bar Association/National Association of Broadcasters, 2014 Media Law Conference, Reston, VA, September 17-19, 2014 
  • 2014 Privacy Law Salon: Policymaker Roundtable, Washington, DC, September 8-9, 2014 
  • The Economics of Retransmission Consent – The Next Two Years, SNL Kagan Summit, New York, NY, June 3, 2014 
  • A Roundtable Discussion on the Pitfalls of Emerging Technology and Other Issues, 34th Annual Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate & Securities Law Institute, Northwestern Law, Chicago, IL, May 1-2, 2014 
  • Hot Issues in FCC Law, ABA Forum on Communications Law 19th Annual Conference, Aventura, FL, February 6-8, 2014 
  • Social Media Misuse in the Workplace: Privacy, Mobility, and Best Practices, National Employment Law Council’s Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, April 23, 2014 
  • Pillar Two CLE Program – Emerging Topics in Broadcast Regulation and Dealmaking, Goldman Sachs, New York, NY, February 13, 2014 
  • Legal, Technological and Business Issues in a Global Digital Environment, Pacific Telecommunications Council Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI, January 20, 2014 

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Board of Director, Student Press Law Center (2015-present)
  • Serves on the board of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Media and Communications Law
  • Member of the Federal Communications Bar Association
  • Past board member of the Media Law Resource Center Institute
  • Past co-chair of the Copyright Committee of the ABA
  • Admitted to practice in the District of Columbia

Education

  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1996
  • University of South Carolina, B.A. in Business Administration, 1993