Jacob Lewis has been selected to receive the FCBA’s 13th annual award for outstanding government service. The award was first given in 2008 to recognize individuals with long-term careers in federal government in the communications field who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in public service.
Jacob M. Lewis is currently the Chief of the Litigation Division in the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of General Counsel.
Born in New York City, he received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. After a year-long clerkship for United States District Judge Milton Pollack in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), he practiced for five years in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers.
Mr. Lewis started his government law career in 1987 at the U.S. Department of Justice, as a member of the Civil Division’s Appellate Staff. He spent nearly fifteen years there, first as a line attorney and then as Appellate Litigation Counsel. During that time, he litigated dozens of cases in federal (and state) courts of appeals involving a wide range of federal statutory and constitutional issues. These included a number of communications law issues, including First Amendment challenges to broadcast and cable indecency regulation, to laws prohibiting unlicensed (pirate) broadcasting, and cases involving bankruptcies arising out of the FCC’s C-Block spectrum auction. (One of the first matters Mr. Lewis handled as a Justice Department attorney involved a challenge to the Commission’s rules against indecent pre-recorded telephone messages, which eventually resulted in the Supreme Court’s decision in Sable Communications of Calif., Inc. v. FCC, 492 U.S 115 (1989)).
In 2003, Mr. Lewis moved to the FCC as an Associate General Counsel and Counselor to then-General Counsel John Rogovin, where he continued to brief and argue (and oversee the briefing and argument of) numerous cases in the federal courts of appeals in defense of FCC orders. One of the first matters Mr. Lewis briefed and argued for the Commission when he joined the General Counsel’s office was Prometheus Radio Project’s challenge to the FCC’s media ownership rules. Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 373 F.3d 372 (3d Cir. 2004). The fourth iteration of that long-running lawsuit continues to this day. Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 939 F.3d 567 (3d Cir. 2019) (Prometheus IV), petition for cert. filed (April 17, 2020). Other notable matters in which Mr. Lewis has been involved for the Commission include litigation over the Commission’s do-not-call list rules, the broadcast incentive auction, lawsuits involving the Restoring Internet Freedom and Open Internet orders, and issues involving the Telecommunications Relay Service and under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
In 2011, Mr. Lewis became Chief of the Litigation Division, succeeding Daniel M. (“Mack”) Armstrong, who had presided over the Division for more than 35 years. As Chief of the Division, Mr. Lewis oversees the work of a dozen appellate and trial attorneys who advise the Commission on litigation matters and handle the court cases in which the Commission is a party or in which its interests are involved. He lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife of 35 years, Lorraine. He has a daughter, Emma, a lawyer in Washington, DC, a son, Benjamin, who is clerking for a federal court of appeals judge, and a nephew, Alex, who is a senior in college.