Robert G. Kirk

Office Washington DC

Companies turn to Bob for regulatory advice when their businesses employ emerging technologies – particularly in the wireless and uncrewed aircraft industries. With more than 30 years of experience, he helps clients navigate the application of existing regulatory regimes to new technologies and advocate for new regulatory approaches.

With the explosive growth in the uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS or drone) industry, he has assisted clients in obtaining authority from the FAA to utilize UAS in ways not contemplated by the rules; advocating for business- and consumer-friendly UAS regulations at the federal, state, and local levels; opposing state and local proposals to criminalize certain UAS activities; evaluating potential UAS business cases; and formulating compliance plans for UAS operations. He is regularly involved in FAA and local proceedings dealing with UAS regulation and has been at the forefront on federal preemption issues, successfully working with clients in cases challenging state and local laws attempting to regulate drone operations.

Bob’s work on UAS matters dovetails with his infrastructure practice. He has drafted various petitions that resulted in changes to, or relief from, FCC siting rules, including a petition that resulted in FCC preemption of a local ordinance restricting tower deployments. He also works extensively with clients on network resiliency issues.

Bob also has been advising clients on all aspects of wireless service for more than two decades. He regularly appears before the FCC on enforcement matters and his experience ranges from defending clients in administrative hearings to negotiating consent decrees with the FCC in formal complaint cases.

Representative Engagements
  • Administrative and Court Litigation
    • Successfully represented various clients in FCC administrative hearings.
    • Successfully obtained rare “Second Thursday” relief for client.
    • Represented client before a Federal bankruptcy court on FCC law and procedure issues.
    • Represented client in case overturning state law attempting to regulate drone operations.
  • FCC Enforcement
    • Represented clients in numerous FCC Enforcement proceedings.
    • Assisted in the negotiation of various consent decrees terminating enforcement proceedings.
    • Drafted compliance plans and related materials required by consent decrees.
  • Tower Siting and Infrastructure
    • Drafted various petitions that resulted in changes to, or relief from, FCC siting rules.
    • Drafted petition that resulted in FCC preemption of local ordinance restricting tower deployments.
    • Extensive work on behalf of clients on network resiliency matters.
  • Wireless Communications & Spectrum Policy
    • Testified as an expert internationally on wireless policy.
    • Draft advocacy materials for a variety of clients in numerous areas, including network outage reporting, signal booster rules, contraband phone solutions, wireless emergency alerts, and wireless 911 issues.
  • Drones/Uncrewed Aircraft Systems
    • Successfully obtained FAA authorizations for clients to operate drones.
    • Drafted compliance and operating manuals for clients seeking to integrate drones into their businesses.
    • Drafted advocacy materials successfully opposing numerous state and local proposals to regulate drone operations.
    • Assisted in the preparation of numerous pleadings regarding federal drone rules.
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  • Co-author, the Telecommunications Act Handbook, a Complete Reference for Business (Government Institutes, 1996), and Beyond the Telecommunications Act, A Domestic and International Perspective for Business (Government Institutes, 1998).
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Speeches and Presentations
  • Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 2017) — moderator of drone panel
  • Interdrone (Sept. 2018) – member of drone panel
  • Texas Association of Broadcasters Convention (Aug. 2017) – speaker on panel addressing the use of drones in newsgathering
  • Great Lakes Media Show (March 2018) – Created and presented a “drones 101” session for broadcasters.
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Pro Bono and Volunteer Projects
  • Alternate member, Fairfax County Athletic Council
  • Former Vice President, South County Little League
  • Worked with Fairfax County to form a public-private partnership to revitalize baseball fields in Lorton, Virginia.
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Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • J.D., George Washington University National Law Center
  • B.A., Merrimack College