RICK BOUCHER is the head of Sidley Austin’s Government Strategies group where his practice is focused on counseling clients whose business needs require the development of public policy strategies in the telecommunications, energy and the environment, and financial services industries.
Rick has extensive experience representing clients in Congressional investigations, counseling them on the expectations of the investigating committee, preparing written materials responsive to investigative requests, preparing witnesses for investigative hearings and interacting with the committee on the client’s behalf throughout the investigative process. He gained a valuable perspective on these matters from his many years of service as a member of Congress and previously as a member of the Virginia State Senate.
During his 28 year Congressional tenure Rick served on both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee, chairing the subcommittees on Energy and Air Quality; and Communications, Technology and the Internet. He carved out a role as a trusted bipartisan leader on critical issues. Rick was a leading participant in every major Congressional telecommunications policy debate over the past 25 years. He chaired the subcommittee that oversaw the commercialization of the Internet and its transition from a government-owned R&D project to the global platform we know today. In that role he authored the 1992 law that permitted the first commercial use of the Internet. He was one of two co-founders of the Congressional Internet Caucus, and served as co-chairman of the 170 member group for 15 years. Rick helped to fashion the Telecommunications Act of 1996, was instrumental in drafting the initial legislation providing privacy rights for Internet users, and has been a longstanding proponent of fair use opportunities for digital media purchasers. In the areas of energy and the environment, Rick was an architect of the Clean Air Amendments of 1990 and was a major participant in the formulation of greenhouse gas control legislation, having worked extensively with business leaders to achieve a legislative balance that garnered the support of the business community. In that effort, he organized and chaired 28 days of hearings on global climate change and drafted cap and trade legislation for greenhouse gas control which became the foundation for the legislation that passed the House in 2009. In addition to his energy and telecommunications-related work, Rick drafted and introduced the Bipartisan Free Flow of Information Act, and was the lead Democratic co-sponsor of both the Comprehensive Bankruptcy Reform and Class-Action Reform measures, signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Rick served in the Virginia Senate for seven years and before entering public service was in the private practice of law for 12 years in New York and Virginia.
Rick has been recognized since 2013 in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Communications Law and was recommended in the Legal 500 USA 2013 in the area of Technology: data protection and privacy.
Rick is broadly recognized as one of the leading congressional authorities on privacy, telecommunications and technology and was the author of significant legislative proposals on privacy and media issues.