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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,, as well as,,,, and 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

  • 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

  • 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 
  • Privacy Roundtable on Developments in California Privacy Law: Assessing the Present and Predicting the Future, The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Paul Hastings, San Francisco, CA, December 3, 2013 
  • Electronic Media Regulation, PLI’s Communications Law in the Digital Age 2013, New York, NY, November 14, 2013 
  • Data Privacy Panel, The Conference Board, New York, NY, October 17, 2013
  • Hot Developments with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Webinar, American Bar Association, September 25, 2013 
  • Privacy Roundtable, Paul Hastings, Washington, DC, September 18, 2013 
  • BoxWorks 2013: Government Panel, San Francisco, CA, September 16, 2013

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Election Board (2014-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


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