Hank Kelly is the managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office. Mr. Kelly’s practice is focused exclusively on communications, energy and public utility law and regulation, where he provides clients with a deep bench of legal and business experience that is specific to the ongoing challenges they face. Representing a broad range of public and private companies, he works closely with businesses that range in size from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.
With more than three decades of specialized telecom and energy industry experience, Mr. Kelly advises clients on compliance with state and federal regulations, and how to structure business transactions, mergers and acquisitions to conform to legal and regulatory requirements. He is personally committed to working with each client to enhance asset value, solidify return on investment and protect market share.
In the area of dispute resolution, traditional litigation and public agency advocacy, Mr. Kelly draws upon his proven expertise and practical know-how in dealing with the nuances and complexity of telecom and energy regulations. He has successfully advocated his client’s positon in litigation claims and other matters involving intellectual property, class action defense, state and federal preemption, and actions to enforce state and federal telecom and energy laws. Mr. Kelly’s advocacy and actual trial experience is notable; he has successfully argued cases before more than 10 state public service commissions, as well as separately litigated enforcement actions in over 14 federal court jurisdictions.
Appreciated for his constancy, levelheadedness, honesty and straightforward approach to communication both inside and outside of court, Mr. Kelly is dedicated to presenting information and the facts in an easily understood and effectual way. He knows from experience that the drivers of competitive advantage vary from business to business. Consequently, he strives to identify and leverage each client’s opportunities for growth while creating a cost-effective strategy that achieves commercial goals. As the telecom and energy industries are constantly changing, Mr. Kelly has proven highly effective in navigating the emerging terrain by synthesizing even the most outdated laws and regulations, and applying them to cutting-edge technologies and progressive business models.
A Chicago Communications “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers Magazine, Mr. Kelly co-founded the PowerUP–Energy Thought Leaders Quarterly Forum and Navigant’s Energy Group leadership, which supports an ongoing dialogue on the most pressing energy topics of interest to the Midwest’s energy thought leadership. He is also ranked as a Tier 1 attorney in Communications by Chambers USA; listed among The Best Lawyers in America© in Communications Law; included in the US Legal 500 in the Telecoms and Broadcast—Regulatory section; selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois by Crain’s Chicago Business; and listed among Illinois Super Lawyers.
Mr. Kelly has served as general counsel to the Illinois Power Agency, the state agency that oversees competitive electricity procurement by Illinois’ largest electricity distributors, and monitors renewable energy portfolio procurement and demand response measures by the state’s electricity utilities. Throughout his tenure at the agency, he was involved in formulating, executing and enforcing energy policy. As a result, he delivers the requisite experience and point of view needed to craft viable and functional solutions for even the most difficult challenges.
Represented two national wireless providers challenging on constitutional grounds the imposition of state surcharges on certain wireless services.
Represented a Broadband Internet Access Service (“BIAS”) provider in compliance with FCC rules, and the acquisition of a wireline communications company.
Represented a nationwide communication company in collecting unpaid switched access charges.
Represented a national communications provider in a patent infringement case involving a patent related to communications traffic exchange.
Represented a national communications provider in numerous multi-jurisdiction state public service proceedings seeking interconnection terms and conditions between competitive carriers.
Represented a national communications provider in arbitrations seeking interconnection under Section 252 of the Federal Communications Act with local exchange carriers in 13 state public service commissions.
Represented a venture capital fund in the due diligence related to its $1 billion acquisition of a wireless communications service provider.
Represented an international communications provider in due diligence related to an offshore communications company.
Represented entities accused of assisting and facilitating other companies’ telemarketing efforts in providing autodialing services, claimed to be in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rules and TCPA.
Represented telecommunications carriers responding to several complaints in Pennsylvania, California and Texas federal courts alleging violations of the TCPA.
Represented a nationwide service provider in a class action in Illinois federal court, alleging violations of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA), which requires certain companies to destroy personally identifiable information.
Representing a telephone company in a consumer class action in Connecticut federal court. The suit alleged that the company placed telemarketing calls using an autodialer to a number registered on the national Do Not Call Registry, in violation of the TCPA.
Represented a company before the Federal Communications Commission in its investigation that addresses how the FCC would interpret and apply the TCPA.
Represented a broadcast satellite service provider in litigation initiated by the FTC and the states of North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio and California in the Central District of Illinois, seeking civil penalties for violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule for alleged calls placed to telephone numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry and the provider’s internal Do Not Call list, and for calls made by independent third-party retailers.
Provided advice and counsel on TCPA regulations to a producer of digital communication products.
Represented companies in successfully resolving several class action lawsuits alleging unauthorized charges for premium services to wireless telephone subscribers.
Represented a nationwide association of communications providers in a federal action seeking collection of compensation required under Section 276 of the Federal Communications Commission.
Represented a state association in actions seeking to enforce state and federal communications policies related to the pricing of local exchange services. The actions were pending at the Federal Communications Commission, several state public service commissions and several state courts of appeals.
Represented a national communications provider in four simultaneous federal court proceedings seeking the enforcement of interconnection agreements and Federal Communications Commission decisions.
Represented several communications providers in negotiations with municipalities regarding emergency telephone service surcharges.
Represented a coalition of communications providers in multistate jurisdictions arbitrating the rates, terms and conditions for interconnection under the FCC’s Triennial Review Order and Triennial Review Remand Order, i.e., Petition for Arbitration Pursuant to Section 252(b) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with Illinois Bell Telephone Company to Amend Existing Interconnection Agreements to Incorporate the Triennial Review Order and the Triennial Review Remand Order, on behalf of Cbeyond Communications, LLC; USXchange of Illinois, LLC, d/b/a ChoiceOne Communications; First Communications, LLC; ICG Telecom Group, Inc.; New Edge Network, Inc.; nii Communications, Ltd.; OnFiber Carrier Services, Inc.; Talk America, Inc.; and Trinsic Communications, Inc.
Represented a coalition of communications providers in state public service commission proceedings establishing the cost-based rates for unbundled network elements.
Memberships & Associations
Federal Communications Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Honors & Awards
Ranked as a leading practitioner in the Communications area by Chambers USA from 2002-2016. Ranked as a Tier 1 attorney in Communications.
Named “Lawyer of the Year”, The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Communications Law, 2013.
The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Communications Law, 2012-2016
Recommended in US Legal 500 for his work in the Telecoms & Broadcast – Regulatory area, 2012-2014 and 2016.
Designated as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), Communications Law, 2007-2010, 2012-2017