Jim Baller is president of the Baller Herbst Law Group, a national law
firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN. The only law
firm in the United States to be named to Broadband Community Magazine's
FTTH Top 100 in each of the last two years,
Baller Herbst represents clients in a broad range of communications
matters nationally and in more than 35 states, including
cable television, high-capacity broadband communications, the Internet,
wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit
attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives,
bankruptcy, privacy, and antitrust.
Jim's clients include the American
Public Power Association, the National Association of
Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), regional and state
utility associations and municipal leagues, and numerous public and
private entities. Jim was also the founder and
president of the US Broadband Coalition,
a large and diverse consortium of prominent communications providers,
high technology companies, manufacturers, labor unions, public interest
and consumer groups, educational institutions, state and local
government entities, utilities, content creators, foundations,
charitable institutions, and other organizations, that helped developed
consensus on the need for a national broadband strategy and recommended
the framework reflected in the Federal Communications Commission's
National Broadband Plan. In addition, Jim served as a
consultant to Google on its Fiber for
Communities initiative and is currently a co-founder and president of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice.
The Fiber to the Home Council has recognized Jim as "the nation's most experienced and knowledgeable attorney on public broadband matters." In 2001, NATOA named him its Member of the Year. In 2006, MuniWireless presented him its first Esme Award
for "working tirelessly to protect the interests of municipalities,
many times in the face of huge opposition." In 2007, NATOA made him its
first "Community Broadband Visionary of the Year,"
for "almost single-handedly putting the need for a national broadband
strategy to the forefront of public consciousness." Also in 2007, Washingtonian Magazine listed Jim as one of "Washington's Best Lawyers" (defined as the top one percent). In 2009, Ars Technica included Jim on its list of the 25 "Top Names in Tech Policy," and FiberToday honored him as its Person of the Year. In
2012, the Fiber to the Home Council presented him its prestigious Chairman’s Award, “for his
relentless promotion and pursuit of community broadband and of faster networks
for everyone. His efforts have paved the
way for the deployment of all-fiber networks across the country.” In 2014
he the Southeast Association of Telecommunications Officers and
Advisor's Community Broadband Advocacy Award for his "extraordinary
efforts at beating back (two years in a row anti-municipal broadband
legislation in Georgia)."
As a litigator, Jim has had first-chair responsibility in numerous
cases involving complex factual, legal and policy issues, multiple
parties, and large amounts in controversy. He also works regularly with
multi-disciplinary teams of legal, financial, accounting, engineering
and other technical experts to assist local and regional government
entities in making comprehensive telecommunications plans, establishing
state-of-the-art communications systems, developing strategic partners,
and integrating right-of-way and zoning ordinances, franchises,
licenses, pole-attachment agreements, contracts, forms, permits and
other related documents.
Jim is a frequent keynote speaker and author
communications matters, and he is the co-host of the broadband
television policy series "BroadbandUS.TV." Several extensive interviews
of Jim are available online, including a feature segment of C-Span "The Communicators." Representative written works include "The Killer App: Economic Development and Job Creation" (September 2012); "Report of the US Broadband Coalition on a National Broadband Strategy (September 2009) (co-author);" "Bigger Vision, Bolder Action, Brighter Future: Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America," a white paper for the e-NC Authority of North Carolina (June 2008) (co-author); "A National Broadband Strategy: 'Make No Small Plans,'" NATOA Journal (Fall 2007); "Eight Bold Steps to a National Broadband Strategy," FTTH Prism (Jan. 2007) (co-author); "America Needs a Fiber-Based National Broadband Policy Now," FTTH Prism (Oct. 2006) (co-author); "Deceptive Myths About Municipal Broadband: Disinformation About Public Ownership Impeding Progress," Broadband Properties Magazine (May 2005); Keynote Address to the Fiber-to-the-Home Conference (October 2004); "Curbing Anticompetitive Practices By Cable Incumbents: If Not Now, When?" NATOA Journal of Municipal Telecommunications Policy (Winter 2004) (co-author); Federal Privacy Guidebook (APPA 2005) (co-author); Community Broadband Guidebook (APPA 2003) (co-author); and Pole Attachment Guidebook (APPA 2002) (co-author).
Jim is a graduate
of Dartmouth College
and Cornell Law School.
He is a member of the Bars of the Supreme Court of the United States;
the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal for the District of
Columbia, Federal, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Eleventh
Circuits; and the courts of the District of Columbia. He holds
Martindale-Hubbell's highest AV rating.