J. Tyson Covey focuses his practice primarily on telecommunications regulation and related litigation. Since the passage of the landmark federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, Mr. Covey has acted as regulatory and appellate counsel for large telecommunications carriers on numerous issues arising from the Act and its intersection with state law, including proceedings in more than 25 different state public utility commissions and several state and federal courts. His cases have involved a wide variety of issues on topics like deregulation and competitive classification of services, preemption of state regulation of broadband/VoIP or wireless services, interconnection and unbundling duties, TELRIC pricing cases and intercarrier compensation. Mr. Covey had broad experience in carrier-to-carrier disputes, arbitration of interconnection agreements, rulemakings and investigations at state public utility commissions, and has acted as lead counsel in many appeals from such proceedings. Given the nature of these cases, he has gained significant experience in helping prepare extensive expert testimony and in cross-examining experts on technical, policy and economic issues regarding telecommunications, as well as explaining such issues to decisionmakers.
Mr. Covey also has experience negotiating pole attachment and small-cell agreements with both governments and other utilities, and renders advice on regulatory issues for satellite and “over the top” video services. He has been included in Chambers USA for communications law every year since 2003, and in 2016 was recognized by Best Lawyers in America as “Lawyer of the Year” for Chicago in Administrative/Regulatory Law. Mr. Covey also has experience representing large public utilities in rate cases for electric, gas and water service (and in related appeals).
Mr. Covey is a 1991 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was administrative editor of the University of Illinois Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. He also is a magna cum laude graduate of Augustana College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Areas of Practice
Telecommunications Regulation and Litigation
- Representing AT&T California (and its affiliates) in a statewide investigation of telecommunications competition in California, leading to no new substantive requirements. Order Instituting Investigation Into the State of Competition Among Telecommunications Providers in California, Decision No. 16-12-025, 2016 WL 7243749 (Cal. Pub. Utils. Commm’n 2016).
- Acting as lead outside counsel in a novel effort by AT&T’s incumbent carriers to relinquish their Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designation, leading to success in 16 states (and counting), with no defeats. E.g., Petition of AT&T Ohio Seeking to Relinquish Its Eligible Telecommunications Carrier Designation in a Portion of Its Service Territory, 2019 WL 1244300 (Ohio Pub. Utils. Comm’n 2019).
- Acting as lead outside counsel for AT&T incumbent carriers in complaints against Halo Wireless in 11 states for disguising its traffic to avoid payments, leading to success in all 11 states. E.g., Complaint and Petition for Relief of BellSouth Telecommunications, Docket No. 2011-304-C, Order 2012-516, 2012 WL 4093711 (S.C. Pub. Serv. Comm’n 2012).
- Representing AT&T California (and its affiliates) in an ongoing agency proceeding seeking to compel tariffing of “Next Generation” broadband 911 service. Order Instituting Rulemaking Regarding Emergency Disaster Relief Program , Rulemaking 18-03-011 (Cal. Pub. Utils. Comm’n).
- Appellate counsel for AT&T California in successfully persuading the California Appellate Court to twice reverse state commission orders awarding intervenor compensation in public utility commission proceedings. New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Pub. Utils. Comm’n , 246 Cal.App.4th 784 (2016); New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 21 Cal.App.5th 1197 (2018).
- Appellate (and trial) counsel for AT&T Illinois in defeating a claim for more than $20 million in refunds to payphone service providers, and in defeating a consumer claim for more than $100 million in refunds for an alleged violation of billing rules. Illinois Public Telecomms. Ass’n v. Illinois Commerce Comm’n and Illinois Bell Tel. Co., 2017 IL App (1st) 161139-U; Underwood v. Illinois Commerce Comm’n and Illinois Bell Tel. Co., 2017 IL App (1st) 170476-U.
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1991
- Administrative Editor, University of Illinois Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- Augustana College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1987
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2020-present
- Mayer Brown LLP
- Partner, 2000-2020
- Associate, 1997-2000
- Sidley Austin LLP
- Associate, 1993-1996
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- Staff Attorney, 1991-1993
Honors and Awards
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2021
Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2003-2021
Named a "Lawyer of the Year" in Administrative/Regulatory Law – Chicago by The Best Lawyers in America, 2016
Listed in Legal 500, 2007
- Co-author, "COVID-19 Responses in the Telecommunications Industry," Duane Morris Alert, April 1, 2020
“Change With the Changing Times: 100 Years of Telecom Lawyering,” ABA Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section, Summer 2017
“Eighth Circuit Largely Affirms FCC Deregulatory Pirouette on Business Data Services,” ABA Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section, Spring 2019
Contributor to ABA Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section (previously Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Section) Spring, Fall, and Annual “Recent Developments” Reports, 2010-present