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Ajit Pai was nominated to the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama and on May 7, 2012 was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.
Commissioner Pai's focus is on creating a regulatory environment in which competition and innovation will flourish, thus benefitting American consumers. He believes that it is vital for the FCC to adopt policies that will give private firms the strongest incentive to raise and invest capital; to develop new products and services; and to compete in established and new markets. Specifically, Commissioner Pai is working to remove uncertainty that can deter businesses and investors from taking risks, to revisit outdated regulations, and to set clear, modernized rules for the road. These steps will result in consumers enjoying better products at lower prices and the communications industry contributing to faster economic growth and more job creation.
Commissioner Pai also believes that the FCC must act with dispatch to reflect the pace of change in today's marketplace. Faced with an industry as vibrant and dynamic as today's communications sector, the Commission must be careful not to cling to twentieth century approaches in addressing the technological landscape of the twenty-first century. Thus, for example, it is a priority of Commissioner Pai to increase promptly the availability of spectrum for high-value uses.
Commissioner Pai's regulatory approach has been shaped by his decade and a half of experience in communications, law, and policy.
Between 2007 and 2011, Commissioner Pai held several positions in the FCC's Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel. In this role, he had supervisory responsibility over several dozen lawyers in the Administrative Law Division and worked on a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters involving the wireless, wireline, cable, Internet, media, and satellite industries.
Commissioner Pai's career outside of the FCC has spanned the private and public sectors. With respect to the private sector, Pai worked in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block LLP, where he was a Partner in the Communications Practice until being sworn in as a Commissioner. Years earlier, he served as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.
Commissioner Pai also has served in all three branches of the federal government. After moving to Washington, DC in 1998, his first post was with the United States Department of Justice's Antitrust Division as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force. There, he worked on proposed mergers and acquisitions and on novel requests for regulatory relief following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He later returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy. Pai has worked on Capitol Hill as well, first as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, and later as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. Immediately following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Commissioner Pai received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University in 1994 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas J. Mulroy Prize. In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
The son of immigrants from India, Commissioner Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Janine, son, Alexander and daughter, Annabelle.
Chief of Staff
Matthew Berry previously served as the Commission's General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel. In those roles, he was responsible for providing legal advice to the Commission and managing the Commission's litigation docket. Prior to joining Commissioner Pai's office, he was a Partner at Patton Boggs LLP, where he was a member of the firm's Technology and Communications practice group. Mr. Berry has also worked at the United States Department of Justice, serving as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy and an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel. During his tenure there, he earned the Department's John Marshall Award for providing legal advice related to counter-terrorism policy.
Mr. Berry has also served as a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Additionally, he was a visiting professor at William and Mary School of Law, where he taught courses on the First Amendment and election law, and worked as a staff attorney at the Institute for Justice. Mr. Berry graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and received his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Legal Advisor, Wireline
Nicholas Degani comes to Commissioner Pai’s office from a detail to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he served as counsel under Chairman Fred Upton and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden. His portfolio included communications issues and agencies, with a focus on the Universal Service Fund, intercarrier compensation, privacy, cybersecurity, agency jurisdiction and spending, and the administrative process.
Before his detail, Mr. Degani served as an Attorney Advisor in the Wireline Competition Bureau’s Telecommunications Access Policy Division, where he worked on issues related to the Universal Service Fund’s low-income and schools and libraries programs, as well as contributions and eligible-telecommunications-carrier issues. Mr. Degani has also worked in the Commission’s Office of General Counsel and the Wireline Competition Bureau’s Competition Policy Division, where he worked on pole attachment issues, transaction review, broadband policy, and numbering issues related to Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Services. Mr. Degani entered the Commission through the Attorney Honors Program in 2007.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Degani served as a law clerk for Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and magna cum laude from Yale University, where he studied Electrical Engineering/Computer Science and History.
Legal Advisor, Wireless, Public Safety, and International
Brendan Carr joins Commissioner Pai’s office from the FCC’s Office of General Counsel. In that role, Brendan provided legal advice on a wide range of spectrum policy, competition, and public safety matters. Prior to joining the Commission, Brendan was an associate at Wiley Rein LLP, where he worked on telecom litigation, appellate, and regulatory matters. Earlier in his career, Brendan served as a law clerk for Judge Dennis W. Shedd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Brendan graduated magna cum laude from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and obtained a certificate from its Institute for Communications Law Studies. During law school, Brendan gained experience interning for Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, and the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Brendan received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.
Ms. Alexiou has served most recently as a Litigation Specialist for the Office of General Counsel. Before that, she served as Confidential Assistant to Commissioner Meredith A. Baker and Chairman Kevin J. Martin. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Alexiou worked at the law firms of Wiley Rein LLP and Fisher, Wayland, Cooper and Leader. She started her career working for a physician's practice in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Erwin is the staff assistant for Commissioner Pai's office. She handles meeting requests for Nicholas Degani and Brendan Carr, as well as travel arrangements and greeting visitors to the office. Previously, Ms. Erwin was the assistant for William Lake, Chief of the Media Bureau. Ms. Erwin began her career at the Commission in 2000.
There's no place like home.
I grew up in the great state of...