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DLA Piper Moves Smith Into New Regulatory Leadership Role

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:40 PM

DLA Piper has named Washington managing partner Edward “Smitty” Smith as chair of the firm’s regulatory and government affairs practice, a new position, as it looks to sharpen its regulatory focus.

The firm created the new leadership job as its clients have been forced to respond in recent years to fast-changing regulatory climates in the U.S and abroad, said DLA Piper spokeswoman Geneva Youel in a statement. Smith, who has ties to the Federal Communications Commission, will oversee a team of regulatory lawyers and government affairs advisors across a wide range of fields, including life sciences, health care, government contracts, and privacy and cybersecurity.

As a partner in the firm’s telecommunications practice, Smith has advised clients on wireless and satellite sector issues before the FCC and other agencies. He also served as a member of President Joe Biden’s FCC transition team earlier this year.

Before joining DLA Piper in 2017, Smith advised FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, according to his law firm bio page and his LinkedIn profile, including on wireless telecommunications, engineering and technology. He also oversaw FCC policymaking on 5G technology, spectrum sharing, and other issues.

In 2014, Smith ran to become attorney general for the District of Columbia, losing to fellow Democrat Karl Racine.

A host of new regulations have been revived in the U.S. under the Biden administration. In Europe the regulatory landscape has shifted significantly in recent years, in part due to the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, known as the GDPR.

DLA Piper is a mammoth global firm with offices in six continents and more than 40 countries, according to its website. The firm grossed $3.1 billion in 2020, according to the most recent American Lawyer rankings, the third-highest ranking firm on the list.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at