Russell Blau practices telecommunications law and related fields, including litigation, regulatory, transactional, and legislative. His clients include telecommunications carriers, Internet service providers, media companies, equipment vendors, customers, and investors. Russ argues before US Courts of Appeals and District Courts, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state courts, and regulatory commissions. He has worked extensively in telecommunications arbitration and formal complaint cases.
Russ represents telecommunications carriers in litigation and arbitration matters, as well as formal complaint proceedings before the FCC. In appellate proceedings, he obtained key rulings on carrier interconnection rights [Southwestern Bell Tel. Co. v. Waller Creek Communications, Inc., 221 F.2d 812 (5th Cir. 2000)], and on the applicability of interconnection contract terms to Internet access traffic [Starpower Communications, LLC v. FCC, 334 F.3d 1150 (D.C. Cir. 2003)].
Additionally, Russ is involved in regulatory policy issues relating to telecommunications and Internet competition before the FCC and state utility commissions. He represents telecommunications carriers in key FCC proceedings implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He led the fight for expanded interconnection rights for competitive telecommunications carriers, widely recognized as the first step along the road to local telephone competition. [In re Expanded Interconnection with Local Telephone Company Facilities, CC Docket No. 91-141, Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 7 FCC Rcd. 7369 (1992)]. Recently, Russ played a leading role in regulatory battles over FCC forbearance policies, the status of Voice over Internet Protocol services, and the FCC’s reform of high-cost universal service and intercarrier compensation rules.
Russ also advises clients on federal and state regulatory issues, including those arising in securities offerings, mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions. He advises clients on Internet issues, including drafting of peering and transit agreements, FCC proceedings involving reciprocal compensation and access charges, and issues relating to domain name assignments and Internet governance.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Russ was a partner in the corporate practice of another international law firm.
Harvard College, 1978, Artis Baccalaureate
Harvard Law School, 1982, Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude
District of Columbia
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
US Court of Federal Claims
US District Court for the District of Columbia
US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, Communications Law, Washington, DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2022, 2023)
Recommended, Media, technology and telecoms: Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, The Legal 500 US (2018–2020)
Recommended, Media, technology and telecoms: Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, The Legal 500 US (2018, 2019)