Sean Stokes is a Principal of Baller Stokes & Lide, PC, a national communications law firm based in Washington, DC. The only law firm in the United States to be named to Broadband Community Magazine’s FTTH Top 100 for each of the last six years, Baller Stokes & Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters both nationally and in more than thirty-five states, including broadband, cable television, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives, and public-private partnerships.
As a litigator, Mr. Stokes has been involved in numerous cases involving complex factual, legal and policy issues, multiple parties, and large amounts in controversy. He was recently co-counsel for the cities of Chattanooga, TN, and Wilson, NC, in their successful challenges before the Federal Communications Commission of state laws that impaired community broadband initiatives (the FCC’s decision was reversed on appeal). Mr. Stokes regularly works with multi-disciplinary teams of legal, financial, engineering and other technical experts, assisting clients in making comprehensive telecommunications and broadband plans.
Mr. Stokes has significant experience developing and negotiating agreements involving access to poles, ducts, conduits, fiber, and towers, and is the principal author of an extensive guidebook and model pole attachment agreement for the American Public Power Association and the approximately 2,000 public power utilities that it represents. Mr. Stokes has represented several municipal utilities in complex negotiations with Google Fiber and other entities developing city-wide fiber-to-the-home networks. Mr. Stokes also recently advised the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee on issues surrounding pole and conduit attachment regulations.
Prior to joining Baller Stokes & Lide Mr. Stokes served as the Associate General Counsel for the Utilities Telecommunications Council (UTC), where he helped develop and implement the legislative and regulatory strategy of the nation’s electric, gas and water utilities regarding the adoption and implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
A frequent speaker and author, his recent writings and speeches include: “The Truth About Wired and Wireless Issues” (Gigabit City Summit, Aug. 2017); “Key Legal and Regulatory Issues Affecting Community Broadband” (Broadband Communities Summit, Apr. 2017); “Wireless Pole Attachment Issues” (Missouri Public Utility Alliance Workshop, Apr. 2017); “Pole Attachments: Major Challenges and Opportunities” (APPA Legislative Rally, Feb. 2017); “Federal Policy Issues for Community Broadband” (Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference, Oct. 2016); “Dig-Once, Touch-Once, Site Once, Communications Infrastructure Developments” (NATOA Annual Meeting, Sep. 2016); “New Developments in Pole Attachments” (APPA Legal Conference, Oct. 2015); “Communications Law Update” (National League of Cities, June 2015).
Mr. Stokes is a graduate of the National Law Center at George Washington University. He is a member of the Bar of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits as well as the Federal District of Columbia; and the local courts of the District of Columbia. He holds an “AV” rating, the highest peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.