Kent is a partner with Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and heads its international practice. An expert on telecommunications, international trade and investment, and national security regulation, he represents communications and technology companies and investors in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic regulatory and commercial matters. He is recognized in the current editions of Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America, SuperLawyers, and the Legal 500.
Undersea Cables. Kent works extensively in the undersea cable sector and represents operators, suppliers, and investors to address critical issues they face, including: national security and foreign investment; telecoms licensing; corporate and commercial agreements for construction and maintenance, capacity sales, system supply, landings, and financing; environmental permitting; market access; and the law of the sea.
- He has led various industry-wide regulatory-reform and cable-protection initiatives and has long served as counsel to the North American Submarine Cable Association.
- He chairs the submarine cable protection working group of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council ("CSRIC") of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ("FCC").
- He chairs the Legal Committee of the UNESCO/International Telecommunication Union/World Meteorological Organization Joint Task Force regarding the use of marine data sensors on undersea cables for disaster warning and climate-change monitoring.
Foreign Investment, National Security, and Cybersecurity. Kent represents U.S. sellers and foreign purchasers of defense and critical infrastructure businesses to obtain investment clearances from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS") under the Defense Production Act. He also represents service providers, infrastructure owners, and investors in negotiating network security agreements with the "Team Telecom" agencies—the U.S. Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security ("DHS"), and the FBI. He advises companies on cybersecurity, wiretapping, surveillance, and related policy issues under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act ("CALEA") and the USA PATRIOT Act. He also represents companies to obtain and maintain security clearances for work on classified contracts and negotiates agreements with the Defense Security Service to mitigate foreign ownership, control, or influence ("FOCI").
- Most recently, he has represented sellers and purchasers in CFIUS reviews involving the mobile telecommunications, undersea cable, aerospace, munitions, and electrical equipment sectors, including Level 3 Communications in its acquisition of Global Crossing, Clearwire in its acquisition by SoftBank and Sprint, and TE Connectivity in its acquisition of Deutsch Group.
- With Team Telecom, he has negotiated innovative outsourcing of security-related functions by OPT French Polynesia, and he negotiated the first-ever termination of a network security agreement for Level 3 Communications.
- He led industry negotiations with the White House, FCC, and DHS regarding new data collection requirements for undersea cable outages, cable damage, and restoration.
Communications Regulation, Licensing, and Transactions. Kent represents network operators, service providers, and software and equipment manufacturers in policy, licensing, and environmental matters before a variety of regulators and policymakers—including the FCC; the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense; state and territorial regulators; the International Telecommunication Union; and numerous foreign regulators (particularly in the Pacific and Caribbean regions)—to enable new network infrastructure, emerging technologies, mergers and acquisitions, and financing arrangements.
- He has represented National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation to obtain approvals from the FCC, U.S. bankruptcy court, U.S. Virgin Islands Public Services Commission, and the governments of the British Virgin Islands, France, the Netherlands Antilles, and St. Maarten for the acquisition and sale of fixed, mobile, satellite, cable television, and ISP businesses in the Caribbean.
- He has represented Level 3 Communications to obtain FCC approvals for its acquisitions of Global Crossing, Broadwing, TelCove, WilTel, Looking Glass Networks, Progress Telecom, ICG, and Genuity, and for its sales of network assets to CenturyLink, DG Fast Channel, IDT, Pioneer, and Reach.
- In the Asia Global Crossing bankruptcy, he was admitted as an expert and testified in federal court on U.S. and foreign telecommunications regulation.
- He has advised the Mexican regulator Cofetel regarding regulatory reform and liberalization.
Export Controls and Economic Sanctions. Kent counsels companies regarding compliance with U.S. and multilateral economic sanctions and export controls, and represents them before the Departments of the Treasury (OFAC), Commerce (BIS), State (DDTC), and Defense to obtain licenses necessary to consummate investment, financial, and export transactions.
- He has represented companies to obtain licenses for transactions in Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Sudan, and Syria and to comply with fast-moving sanctions affecting transaction in Libya and Russia/Ukraine.
- He worked extensively with U.S. Government agencies to develop their regulations for Cuba-related telecommunications transactions.
Trade Policy and Market Access. Kent represents companies before the U.S. Trade Representative and foreign governments in World Trade Organization ("WTO") matters, market access disputes (including disputes over goods, services, investment, and government procurement), and bilateral and regional trade negotiations.
- He has represented telecommunications companies seeking to reduce India's security, technical, and local-content requirements for telecommunications equipment and to promote joint U.S.-India cybersecurity initiatives.
- He has represented undersea cable interests to ensure access in Indonesia for foreign-flagged vessels installing and repairing undersea cables.
- He has represented DIRECTV to combat satellite signal piracy in Latin America under bilateral and regional trade agreements.
- He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, analyzing the impact on economic development of WTO commitments to liberalize trade in basic telecommunications services and investment.
Public International Law and Law of the Sea. Kent represents companies in public international law matters, particularly those involving jurisdictional disputes among sovereign states and the law of the sea.
- He has long represented undersea cable operators regarding treaty protections and environmental regulation.
- He has represented mobile carriers regarding the provision of international roaming and cruise ship-based services.
Kent graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1994, where he served as Associate Editor of The University of Chicago Legal Forum and won the Joseph Henry Beale Prize for legal writing. Prior to law school, he served as an economic policy intern in the American Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Kent graduated from Stanford University, with distinction, in 1991, and studied political philosophy at Brasenose College, Oxford University, in 1990. In 2013, he placed second in his class for the diploma course of the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, a joint program of the University of Virginia and four foreign universities.
Kent is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the American Society of International Law (Assistant Treasurer, 2003-2006), and the Federal Communications Bar Association (Co-Chair, Global Telecommunications Development Committee, 2000-2003). He is a native of Portland, Oregon.
University of Chicago Law School, J.D.
Stanford University, B.A., with distinction
Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, Diploma