Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
IN-HOUSE COUNSEL: Jack S. Levy, Register.com Inc. TITLE: General counsel AGE: 31 ORGANIZATION: New York-based Register.com is the world’s second-largest registrar of the Internet’s most popular domain names — those ubiquitous Web site and e-mail addresses ending in “.com,” “.org” and “.net.” In June 1999, after the U.S. government ended Network Solutions Inc.’s monopoly over the sale of commercial domain names, Register.com became the first competitor. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals make up the bulk of its 5.1 million customers, but the company has some Fortune 500 clients, including Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., Procter and Gamble Co., and Warner-Lambert Co. THE DEPARTMENT: This 229-employee company has a legal department of three: Levy; Associate General Counsel Roni Jacobson, formerly of the New York office of Loeb & Loeb; and legal specialist Denise Wheeless, who has a law degree but does not practice law. Management duties, including overseeing the legal department and corporate planning with other senior executives, and routine contract work take up about half of Levy’s time. His remaining hours are spent on Securities and Exchange Commission matters, corporate acquisitions (including the September 2000 purchase of Afternic.com for $10 million in cash, plus stock), joint ventures, litigation oversight, corporate governance and policies of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the nonprofit that referees domain-name disputes. FROM WALL STREET TO SILICON ALLEY: Levy came to Silicon Alley from Wall Street’s Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he represented several technology-related clients but few in the Internet field. “I probably remain one of the least computer-savvy people at the company,” Levy confesses, admitting that once his Palm Pilot ran out of batteries he never replaced them. Levy, a native of Englewood, N.J., graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1992 and then studied political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a year on a Raoul Wallenberg Scholarship. After earning his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1996, Levy spent three years in Willkie’s corporate department. He was 29 when he joined Register.com in 1999, admittedly young for a general counsel in a public company. “The people here definitely took a chance on me, and I appreciate that,” he says. “In this industry, where many CEOs are in their 20s and 30s, age isn’t really as much of an issue as to whether or not you’re pulling your weight.” He doesn’t believe anyone “has taken me less seriously in negotiations, as an adversary or as a client, because I am relatively young for my position.” But he adds, “I also recognize that I still have a lot of learning ahead of me and do my best to keep the educational process going and to rely on outside help when I feel I need to.” GOING PUBLIC: As a 26-year-old associate at Willkie in 1996, Levy was the most junior attorney on the team working on Panavision Inc.’s $60 million initial public offering (IPO). Just three years later, he was the general counsel of Register.com, in charge of the lawyers who put together the company’s March 2000 IPO. “I remember saying to my wife when I switched jobs, ‘Well, it’s not going to be worse hours because it can’t be; there aren’t more hours in the day.’ ” The hard work paid off, with the sale of 5.2 million Register.com shares grossing $120 million. In its first day of trading on Nasdaq, the initial $24 share price shot up to $57.25. (By early January, however, the stock price was hovering in the $6 range.) CYBERSQUATTING AND TRADEMARKS: The nature of Register.com’s business has presented it with some unusual legal problems. Register.com’s automatic online registration system means that the company cannot screen applicants for potential trademark infringement or cybersquatting abuses, Levy says. The company, however, complies with directions from courts or arbitrators to freeze or transfer Internet addresses. In 2000, for example, Register.com revoked the registration of “Walmartcanada.com” and “Texacocanada.com” by a Canadian named Kenneth Harvey. This led to an unusual legal dilemma. Harvey then logged on to Register.com and bought “registercom-sucks.com.” On this new Web site, Harvey detailed his complaints against the company. He also posted personal information about 100 Register.com clients, gleaned from a restricted customer list maintained by all domain-name registrars. Harvey reportedly threatened to repeat this exercise on a monthly basis. According to Levy, after Harvey received a cease-and-desist order, he removed the names and addresses from the Web site. But Register.com will not force Harvey to relinquish the uncomplimentary domain name, says Levy, explaining that the company will “continue to monitor the site to see if there’s action that violates our rights, or customers’ rights and privacy.” SPAM LAWSUIT: It has taken more than a sternly worded letter to resolve a dispute with Web site hosting provider Verio Inc. In an August 2000 lawsuit in federal court in New York, Register.com accused Verio of sending “spam” e-mail and making cold calls to the company’s new customers. The complaint alleged trademark, trespass, breach of contract claims and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On Dec. 8, the court preliminarily enjoined Verio from using Register.com’s customer database to make unsolicited contacts. Verio is also barred from representing that its activities are sponsored or endorsed by Register.com. PRINCIPAL OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Loeb & Loeb serves as general corporate counsel and has played a key role in acquisitions, financing and contract work. For the IPO, Levy used San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Brobeck’s New York office also handles ongoing securities, acquisitions and general matters. Register.com’s litigation counsel is New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. “Any one [of the three firms] could do anything I ask of them,” Levy says, which “fosters a little competition among them. They all know they need to perform.” “The biggest issue is expenses, and they all are sensitive to that,” he adds, explaining that he could “definitely see looking” in the “very near future” for a firm outside the high-priced Manhattan market that “can help us in more ordinary core stuff where we don’t necessarily need the expensive expertise.” FAMILY: Levy and his wife, Dahlia, live in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, in New York, with their sons, Amitai, 2, and Nadav, 4 months. Levy is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the City University of New York. LAST BOOK READ: The Book and the Sword, a memoir by David Weis Halivni, a Holocaust survivor, Talmud professor at Columbia University and rabbi at the synagogue that Levy attended (and represented pro bono) when he lived in Manhattan.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.