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Jonathan E. Nuechterlein

Jonathan E. Nuechterlein

Sidley Austin LLP

Washington, DC, USA

JON NUECHTERLEIN, a partner and co-leader of Sidley’s Communications Regulatory practice, focuses on telecommunications regulation, antitrust law, online privacy, and appellate litigation. He joined the firm in March 2016 after serving as General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Jon’s extensive government experience also includes positions as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and as an Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice.  

As the FTC’s General Counsel from 2013 to 2016, Jon represented the Commission in court, provided legal counsel on a range of antitrust and consumer protection issues, and oversaw the Commission’s appellate litigation activities. Under his leadership, the FTC won a string of high-profile appellate victories, including:

  • FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., 799 F.3d 236 (3d Cir. 2015) (affirming FTC authority over data security practices) 
  • POM Wonderful LLC v. FTC, 777 F.3d 478 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (affirming FTC finding of deceptive advertising)
  • McWane, Inc. v. FTC, 783 F.3d 814 (11th Cir. 2015) (affirming FTC finding of unlawful exclusive dealing)
  • North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015) (affirming FTC’s position on antitrust’s state action doctrine)

Jon argued POM and McWane himself, becoming the first FTC General Counsel in two decades to present appellate arguments for the Commission. In addition to his responsibilities as General Counsel, Jon served as Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in several antitrust investigations.

Between his positions at the FCC and FTC, Jon was a partner at an international law firm from 2001 to 2013, where he chaired its Communications, Privacy, and Internet Law practice group. In recognition of his industry standing, he was listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Telecom, Broadcast, and Satellite from 2005–2013 and was ranked in Band 1 from 2010 to 2013. He was also listed in both The Best Lawyers in America and Washington DC Super Lawyers from 2007 to 2013.

From 2000–2001, Jon served as Deputy General Counsel of the FCC, where he coordinated the defense of FCC orders in the federal courts of appeals and provided legal advice to the Chairman and Commissioners. From 1996 to 2000, he was an Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he presented seven arguments to the Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government and drafted the government’s briefs in many additional cases. In 1999, he received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for preparing the FCC’s briefs in AT&T v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 525 U.S. 366 (1999). Jon began his legal career at Sidley, where he was a litigation associate from 1992 to 1995 after clerking for Judge Stephen Williams of the D.C. Circuit (1990–91) and Supreme Court Justice David Souter (1991–92).

Jon has a particularly strong background in litigating appeals of federal agency orders. For example, in various prior roles, he has argued eight such appeals in the D.C. Circuit alone and won substantial victories for his clients in all eight. These include, most recently, POM Wonderful LLC v. FTC, 777 F.3d 478 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (deceptive advertising), American Elec. Power Serv. Corp. v. FCC, 708 F.3d 183 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (access to electric power company infrastructure); Cablevision Sys. Corp. v. FCC, 649 F. 3d 695 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (access to terrestrially delivered video programming); Ad Hoc Telecomm. Users Comm. v. FCC, 572 F.3d 903 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (regulation of enterprise broadband services); and BellSouth v. FCC, 469 F.3d 1052 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (lawfulness of volume discount plan for special access services).


  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1990 (Articles Editor, Yale Law Journal)
  • Yale College, B.A., 1986 (summa cum laudePhi Beta Kappa)

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