Jim Baller is president of the Baller Herbst Law Group, a national law firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN. He represents clients in a broad range of communications matters nationally and in more than 35 states. He is also the founder and president of the US Broadband Coalition, a broad and diverse consortium of more than 160 prominent organizations that helped to forge a national consensus on the need for a comprehensive broadband strategy for the United States and recommended the framework reflected in the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan. In addition, Jim is the co-host of the broadband television policy series, Inside Voices on Critical Choices.
The Fiber to the Home Council has recognized Jim as “the nation's most experienced and knowledgeable attorney on public broadband matters.” In 2001, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named him its Member of the Year. In 2006, MuniWireless presented him its first Esme Award, for “working tirelessly to protect the interests of municipalities, many times in the face of huge opposition.” In 2007, NATOA made him its first “Community Broadband Visionary of the Year,” for “almost single-handedly putting the need for a national broadband strategy to the forefront of public consciousness.” In 2007, Washingtonian Magazine listed Jim as one of “Washington's Best Lawyers” (defined as the top one percent). In 2009, Ars Technica included Jim on its list of the 25 Top Names in Tech Policy and FiberToday honored him as its Person of the Year.
As a litigator, Jim has had first-chair responsibility in numerous cases involving complex factual, legal and policy issues, multiple parties, and large amounts in controversy. He works regularly with multi-disciplinary teams of legal, financial, accounting, engineering and other technical experts to assist local and regional government entities in making comprehensive telecommunications plans, establishing state-of-the-art communications systems, developing strategic partnerships, and integrating right-of-way and zoning ordinances, franchises, licenses, pole-attachment agreements, contracts, forms, permits and other related documents. Jim is also working with Google on its Fiber for Communities initiative.
Jim is a frequent keynote speaker and author on communications matters. He is currently organizing a full-day multi-disciplinary program on “Broadband and Economic Development: A Hard Look at Job Creation From All Angles.” Several extensive interviews are available online, including a feature on C-Span, "The Communicators" (December 14, 2008). Representative works include "Bigger Vision, Bolder Action, Brighter Future: Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America,” a white paper for the e-NC Authority of North Carolina (June 2008) (co-author); "Eight Bold Steps to a National Broadband Strategy,” FTTH Prism (Jan. 2007) (co-author); "Deceptive Myths About Municipal Broadband: Disinformation About Public Ownership Impeding Progress,” Broadband Properties Magazine (May 2005); and guidebooks on various topics, including privacy, community broadband, and pole attachments.
Jim is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School. He is a member of the Bars of the Supreme Court of the United States; the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia, Federal, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits; and the courts of the District of Columbia. He holds Martindale-Hubbell's highest AV rating.