James M. Tobin
James M. Tobin formed the Tobin Law Group in January of 2006 to focus his practice on the evolving deregulation of utility industries by state and federal regulatory agencies such as the California Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and similar bodies, with emphasis on policy development, regulatory implementation issues, and related business transactions. From 1990 until 2005, Mr. Tobin was a partner in the San Francisco regulatory practice of Morrison & Foerster, a large international law firm. Mr. Tobin has over thirty years of legal and business experience in representing parties affected by, and interested in, the evolving deregulatory treatment of traditional regulated utilities.
Mr. Tobin's practice is focused on the transactional, regulatory, and political aspects of the legislative and regulatory introduction of competition to various traditional monopolies such as the telecommunications and power industries. Mr. Tobin "chose sides" in this contentious battle over thirty years ago, always representing new entrants to monopoly markets, smaller competitors of former monopolies still dominant in their markets, and customers of the dominant firms. His clients have included applicants seeking CPUC authority to provide a natural gas pipeline from Canada to California to compete with PG&E, large real estate developments seeking competitive utility infrastructure and services for their new communities, telecommunications companies seeking to compete with the prior monopoly incumbents, as well as providers of enhanced and Internet-related services, large users of utility services, and government regulators. Mr. Tobin has negotiated numerous utility infrastructure agreements, interconnection agreements between utilities, and large utility user agreements.
Mr. Tobin served as the Chairman of the Board of Qwest from 1991 through 1993, when it was owned by the Anschutz Corporation and constructing a nationwide fiber optic system. He has also held corporate offices as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of ALC Communications Corp. (now part of Global Crossing) and Vice President -Regulatory Affairs of Sprint, responsible for both federal and state regulatory matters. Mr. Tobin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Equal Access International, a non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco that produces and distributes educational and human empowerment programming in several developing countries.
Mr. Tobin has lectured and spoken on regulatory issues at the University of California, Golden Gate University School of Law, the Institute of the Americas, California Continuing Legal Education classes, and other industry and legal seminars in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 2004, San Francisco Magazine named Mr. Tobin one of Northern California's Super Lawyers, and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers named him one of the world's finest regulatory communications lawyers of the years 2005 through 2008. Mr. Tobin has been listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law annually since 1992.
Mr. Tobin received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1974 and a B.A. with honors from the University of California (Riverside). He is a member of the California Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and California Council of Public Utilities Counsel.
Mr. Tobin lives in Tiburon, California with his wife and two children.
- Representation of numerous large users of communications services, including Bank of America, California State Automobile Association, VISA, Apria Healthcare, Robert Half Int'l, Inc., the City of Santa Rosa, and the County of Los Angeles in negotiations with service providers, including telephone companies, cable companies, wireless carriers, and internet and other unregulated service providers.
- Representation of real estate developers and home builders, including Lennar Corporation and Pulte Homes, in connection with negotiations to structure their participation in the provision of telephone, CATV, and Internet services to large planned communities.
- Representation of CLECs, including Pac-West Telecomm, O1 Communications, Telekenex, Brooks Fiber, and Teleport Communications in negotiation and arbitration of Interconnection Agreements with Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers and disputes regarding compliance with these agreements and other regulatory obligations.