John W. Hunter, JD ‘72 Alumni Spotlight

January 13, 2023

John Hunter

Can you tell us more about your career path after law school?

My first position after graduation was with the Federal Communications Commission. I continued as a telecommunications lawyer with the Washington office of a telecom company, and as a member of two law firms. I then joined a telecom trade association as a department head and counsel, and became Counsel to a House of Representatives Committee. After that, I returned to the FCC as Chief of Staff to a Commissioner, and remained at the Commission until January 2020. Interspersed among those positions, I was Chairman of the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board under three Governors, and served on the Fairfax County Planning Commission for four years. I am currently Vice President of the Foundation for Law and International Affairs.

Is there a class or experience during your time as a student that helped you in your career?

Professor Arnold Reitze’s many Environmental Law classes were particularly helpful in learning the intricacies of administrative law through the perspective of the emerging environmental regulatory law field. Also, Dean William Wallace Kirkpatrick ’s Antitrust Law classes gave me a deeper understanding of antitrust when later regulating corporations in the telecommunications industry.

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

Take full advantage of learning everything you possibly can in your current position and concentrate on producing the best work product possible. Yes, have your eye on the next position, but don’t lose sight of where you are at the present time.

What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming class reunion?

Fifty years is a long time! I have stayed in touch only with a few classmates, so it will be great to meet and socialize with those I haven’t seen in many years at this end of our careers.

Anything else we have missed that you want to share with us? Why is it important to stay connected with our alumni community?

I do have something else to share, especially about why a recent experience has vividly demonstrated why I think it is so important, compelling, and gratifying to stay involved with the GW Law community. I have always been so grateful to mentors during my career, and particularly to Earl Stanley, JD '49, LLM '50 . He was an inspiration and guide in my early days during and after law school, leading me to GW and my legal career in communications. I have always been so indebted to him and others who followed, that I have tried to support and mentor younger law students and graduates. Recently, I became more actively involved in GW Law activities on campus to support students at the Law School. One of the events I attended was an alumni and student reception on October 11, 2018, a date I vividly remember. That evening, I talked with several students individually and then came upon a group of three delightful people sitting at a table. We engaged in a stimulating conversation. One of them was Shaoming Zhu, an international LLM student, who had already earned an SJD degree from Penn State University, and is one of the most impressive people I have ever known. She had established a foundation, the Foundation for Law and International Affairs, to promote global governance and inclusiveness among the rising generation, which was of great interest to me. To make a long story short, upon leaving the FCC a year and a half later, I became Vice President of the foundation, a position I still hold. So, instead of pursuing some of my less lofty ideas in retirement, I am engaging daily with young international relations students, international lawyers, and scholars around the world to promote the goals of the foundation. This is all because I chose to become involved with GW Law alumni activities.  A word of warning, doing so could change your life, for the better, of course!