Delbert D. Smith

Dr. Del Smith has more than 35 years of experience as an international lawyer dealing with high-technology law, including the financing, regulatory, institutional, and international aspects of telecommunications and satellite communications. His specializations include direct satellite broadcasting, utilization of the geostationary orbit, international telecommunications policy, technology transfer, transborder data flow, satellite insurance, and computer/communication interactions. He has represented satellite manufacturers, banks, and space insurance underwriters in numerous transactional matters. These include assessments of financial, technology, and country risks; drafting and negotiation of investment agreements and loan documents; conduct of corporate valuations and due diligence analyses; international and domestic legal and regulatory compliance; and preparation of corporate disclosures. He has also advised satellite companies on the security and financing aspects of delivery-in-orbit satellite construction contracts.
In addition, Del's representations have involved the negotiation of asset-based and corporate acquisitions by foreign interests seeking to invest in the U.S. telecommunications market; the negotiation of joint venture relationships, often entailing the transfer of new technologies; and licensing and distributorship arrangements. His experience covers satellite purchases, satellite transponder leases or sales, microwave system lease arrangements, and earth station service agreements. He also has frequently advised on the conduct of due diligence examinations of investment opportunities in the communications field.
He has drafted and negotiated strategic joint venture agreements, satellite capacity leases, and capacity leaseback arrangements for established international satellite communications companies. He has also structured and assisted in the formation of several start-up satellite companies, including the preparation of the initial corporate documentation, drafting and negotiation of private investment contracts, and initial private offering memoranda.
Del is often called upon to provide strategic consultation to commercial enterprises and public sector entities alike pursing the development and implementation of communications satellite systems. In particular, he has assisted non-U.S. companies in expanding into U.S. domestic and international space and telecommunications markets through direct investment and joint ventures.
Del's regulatory practice at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) includes applications for earth stations, satellite system and microwave licenses, earth station access and launch authority applications, tariff proceedings, petitions for declaratory rulings, and petitions for assignment or transfer of control of FCC licenses. He also pursues an active regulatory practice at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland, and before the regulatory communications agencies of foreign countries. He provides advice and consultation to clients regarding the allocation of radio spectrum among competing service offerings at the ITU, and participates in the proceedings leading to such allocations, as well as appearing before the ITU Bureau with regard to the registration of geostationary orbital positions for the operation of communications satellites.
Further areas of experience include networking technologies, such as the Internet, telemedicine, distance learning, earth remote sensing, commercial uses of Global Positioning Satellite technology, video conferencing, audio broadcasting from satellites, mobile telephone services, and the impact of the removal in the U.S. barriers to competition. He also has developed a great deal of experience with the legal issues surrounding meteorological, ocean sensing, and solar power satellite systems and is actively involved in work pertaining to the risks presented by orbital debris.
Del is a member of the American Bar Association (Air and Space Law and Science and Technology Law Sections), the Federal Communications Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Society of Satellite Professionals International, the International Astronautical Federation, the International Institute of Space Law, and the Royal Television Society, London. He serves as a trustee of the Space Shuttle Children's Fund, on the advisory panel of the Journal of Computer, Media and Telecommunications Law (London), and is the founding editor of Satellite Communications magazine.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Government Regulation
Law School University of Wisconsin Law School
Education University of Wisconsin (B.S., 1963
Bar Member / Association Wisconsin and District of Columbia
Most recent firm Jones Day
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