Frank Montero JD '86

November 28, 2023

Frank Montero headshot

Tell us about your career path after law school.    

After graduation in 1986, I went to work for Nixon Hargrave Devans & Doyle, the predecessor to today’s Nixon Peabody, where I worked with newspaper clients. One particular client purchased a Spanish-language newspaper paper in New York City and I realized I had a unique opportunity to represent that paper given my Spanish language skills. When newspapers started purchasing broadcast stations, I realized that Spanish language broadcasting and media was rapidly growing in the US. An important event was the 1990 U.S. census which predicted that Hispanics would be the largest ethnic minority in the country by the turn of the century. With that the Spanish media industry in the U.S. exploded.  During that time, still as an associate, I helped organize the first trade association of Spanish language broadcasters. From there I continued working with and representing Spanish language broadcast and media companies, which are still the core of my practice.

What made you decide to apply to be a member of the GWLAA board and later serve as its President? Were there any particularly rewarding or challenging experiences while serving on the board?

Years ago I was enlisted to be on the committee for my 20th class reunion and it was during that time that I crossed paths with several 1986 classmates who had served on the GWLAA board and had even served as President, including Brad Irelan and Barry Nigro. It was Barry who encouraged me to apply to join the board. Prior to becoming President, I served as chair of the Programs Committee and was able to put together several interesting programs at the law school, including one involving then Chairwoman of the FCC Mignon Clyburn (Congressman Clyburn’s daughter) who came to GW to speak on a variety of issues including net neutrality. The event was very well attended and extensively covered by the media given that it was one of Chairwoman Clyburn's last public events prior to leaving office.   

What other ways do you give back of your time to the school? 

I have grown to cherish and pursue opportunities to work with the law school. After chairing a class reunion, I served as the chair of the Barrister's Society, and I've mentored many law students.  I've also spoken on panels at the law school on a variety of issues and have served on the Dean's Advisory Committee.  I have taught the pre-1L class to this year's incoming law class.  Likewise, I try to be a regular contributor to the law school and frequently attend events to meet with and encourage accepted students to attend GW. My law firm, which practices communications law, has worked the Federal Communications Law Journal at GW to assist note writers with their topics, and whenever my law firm has recruiting needs my first go-to resource has been GW Law which has always provided me with outstanding law student applicants. Many of my firm's lawyers are GW alums.

As an active volunteer why do you think it's important for alumni to remain connected with each other and current students?

I have found volunteering at the law school to be extremely rewarding. Aside from meeting so many students, which I find invigorating, it has also put me in contact with many of my classmates and other alums at the law school, to say nothing of allowing me the opportunity to meet law school faculty, administration, and especially the Dean.  It's a wonderful group of people and I have really benefited from getting to know them and reconnect with them.

What advice do you have for fellow alumni who would like to become more involved with the law school?

I think you should reach out to the law school and to the GWLAA to make them aware of your interest in getting more involved. Also attending the social functions and getting on the mailing lists to know when they are held in your community is helpful.

Is there a class or experience during your time as a student at GW Law that you found particularly helpful or impactful?

When I arrived at GW Law, being the child of Spanish immigrants in Brooklyn, NY, it all seemed overwhelming and intimidating at first. So what I remember most are some of the silly social events at the law school which helped me relax and bond with classmates. I remember the law school hosting a Trivial Pursuit contest (…boy, doesn't that date me) as well as an annual touch football game against Georgetown Law. We even had a mock homecoming parade for the law school football rivalry. It was lots of fun.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself as a 1L?

I think that's a really good question and I also think it emphasizes the benefits of the law school’s pre-1L class. That class and the modules in that program (which I had the benefit of teaching for the first time this year) really address many of the issues that I would want to discuss with my 1L self. Issues like how to fight off “impostor syndrome”, dealing with the insecurities of being in law school, unpacking the feelings of competition and stress, as well as good decision making and learning how to not take on too much, are all vital.  Also, learning how to read and prep for a law class, brief cases, and outline a course are hugely important.  Today’s GW law students are fortunate to have that resource and I wish I’d had a class like that when I was a 1L.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I just really appreciated my time serving on the GWLAA board and as its President.  It was a difficult time starting just as the Covid pandemic was starting and having to constantly make up new ways of handing meetings and agenda items. Still, despite the challenges, I met some wonderful people including the current President Michele Blackwell, my predecessor Theresa Bowman, and the incoming president-elect Adam Gropper. I think it's a wonderful organization and I would encourage anyone who might be interested, to participate.