The fact that you are reading this tells us that you have found your way to CommLawCenter.com, our effort to simplify the gathering of information and resources relating to the communications industry, particularly regarding its legal aspects. CommLawCenter is an effort to step outside the normal confines of law firm websites and memoranda to address breaking news more directly and quickly by bringing everything under one roof. In structuring the site, we have tried to make it as flexible as possible so that it can improve where possible and adapt where needed. As it grows, we hope that you become a part of it, contributing your thoughts and advice on its continuous refinement.
But first, a bit of background: the core of Pillsbury’s communications law practice is a group of attorneys who have practiced together for many years. Most of us began our practices at a communications law boutique named Fisher Wayland Cooper & Leader. Fisher Wayland, as it was popularly known, was founded in 1934 as one of the nation’s first communications law firms by Ben S. Fisher of the Federal Radio Commission – the predecessor agency of the FCC.
The creation of the Federal Communications Commission that same year marked a new approach by the federal government to regulating the rapidly expanding segments of the communications industry. Since that time, communications technologies have improved and multiplied at an amazing pace, with Fisher Wayland, and now Pillsbury, lawyers involved at every turn: the launch of FM radio, broadcast television, cable television, satellite distribution, cellular telephone service, space-based consumer entertainment technologies, and an explosion of Internet-based communications services in recent years. In recognition of this, USA Today once described Fisher Wayland as “among the most venerable” of communications law firms.
Times change, however, and nowhere is that more true than in the communications industry. As the industry moved toward integration and consolidation, communications law boutiques needed to provide an ever-broader array of services to these expanding clients, leading many of them to merge with large and diverse firms capable of tackling any legal issue imaginable.
Why are we telling you this? Well, it was ten years ago today that Fisher Wayland merged into Shaw Pittman Potts and Trowbridge, and five years ago today that Shaw Pittman merged into Pillsbury. The result is a truly national (actually, international) firm whose lawyers remember well that it is the personal relationships (and cool technology) that make communications such a personally rewarding field in which to practice. It is therefore fitting that we are launching CommLawCenter on this anniversary. From snail mail, to fax, to email, to web distribution, to this site, our efforts to keep clients and friends informed over the past 75 years have been an ever-evolving process. CommLawCenter will allow that audience to access our content more quickly and easily than ever before. We hope you will visit us regularly, and whether you look at it as Pillsbury v.2.0 or Fisher Wayland v.4.0, that you join us at CommLawCenter as we continue to explore what the next iteration of the communications industry will look like.
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