JON NUECHTERLEIN, a partner and co-leader of Sidley’s Telecom and Internet Competition practice, focuses on telecommunications law, antitrust, and appellate litigation. He rejoined the firm in 2016 after serving as General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission. Jon’s extensive government experience also includes positions as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, as Assistant to the Solicitor General, and as law clerk to D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams and Supreme Court Justice David Souter. He is the author (with Phil Weiser) of a widely cited treatise on telecommunications law and policy.
Since rejoining Sidley in 2016, Jon has advised clients on a range of regulatory and appellate matters, including:
- Advising tech companies in connection with FTC and DOJ antitrust investigations and rulemaking proceedings
- Presented argument in the D.C. Circuit on behalf of all major ISP trade associations on appeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules (Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, 940 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2019))
- Briefed and argued appeal on behalf of a telecom industry group in support of the FCC’s new competition regime for business data services (Citizens Telecomms. Co. of Minn. v. FCC, 901 F.3d 991 (8th Cir. 2018))
- Represented AT&T on appeal in defense of its $85 billion merger with Time Warner (United States v. AT&T, Inc., 916 F.3d 1029 (D.C. Cir. 2019))
- Representing a major ISP in connection with the FTC’s investigation into broadband industry privacy practices
The Best Lawyers in America named Jon as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Communications Law in Washington, D.C. The publication quotes clients who describe him as “incredibly smart” and “an excellent writer and oral advocate, particularly when it comes to taking complex legal, economic, and technical concepts and translating them into plain English.” Jon is also listed in Band 1 for Telecom, Broadcast and Satellite in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2017-2021). Chambers quoted one client as remarking: “He is one of the best telecom attorneys in the industry. He is truly one of the smartest people I have ever met, and brings a fresh and well-reasoned perspective to knotty issues.” In January 2020, Law360 named Jon and his Sidley colleagues “Telecommunications Group of the Year,” citing their “high-profile court victories in closely watched telecom cases over the last year.”
As the FTC’s General Counsel from 2013 to 2016, Jon represented the FTC in court, provided legal counsel on a range of antitrust and consumer protection issues, and oversaw the Commission’s appellate litigation activities. Under his leadership, the FTC won a string of high-profile appellate victories. These included two cases that Jon argued himself: McWane, Inc. v. FTC, 783 F.3d 814 (11th Cir. 2015) (affirming FTC finding of unlawful exclusive dealing), and POM Wonderful LLC v. FTC, 777 F.3d 478 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (affirming FTC finding of deceptive advertising). In addition to his responsibilities as General Counsel, Jon also served as Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in several antitrust investigations.
Before his FTC appointment, Jon served in a variety of legal positions in and out of government, including:
- Partner at another international law firm (2001 to 2013), where he chaired its Communications, Privacy, and Internet Law practice group
- Deputy General Counsel of the FCC (2000 to 2001), where he coordinated the defense of FCC orders in the federal courts of appeals
- Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice (1996-2000), where he presented seven arguments to the Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government and drafted the government’s briefs in many additional cases
Jon began his legal career at Sidley, where he was a litigation associate from 1992 to 1995 after clerking for Judge Stephen Williams of the D.C. Circuit (1990 to 1991) and Supreme Court Justice David Souter (1991 to 1992).
Over the course of his career, Jon has gained deep expertise in litigating appeals of federal agency orders. For example, he has argued, and achieved substantial victories for his clients, in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, 940 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (FCC reclassification of broadband as a deregulated Title I service); Citizens Telecomms. Co. of Minn. LLC v. FCC, 901 F.3d 991 (8th Cir. 2018) (regulation of business data services); McWane, Inc. v. FTC, 783 F.3d 814 (11th Cir. 2015) (exclusive dealing); POM Wonderful LLC v. FTC, 777 F.3d 478 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (deceptive advertising), American Elec. Power Serv. Corp. v. FCC, 708 F.3d 183 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (access to electric power company infrastructure); Cablevision Sys. Corp. v. FCC, 649 F. 3d 695 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (access to terrestrially delivered video programming); Ad Hoc Telecomm. Users Comm. v. FCC, 572 F.3d 903 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (regulation of enterprise broadband services); and BellSouth v. FCC, 469 F.3d 1052 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (lawfulness of volume discount plan for special access services).