December 16, 2008

David Levy, Leading Postal Regulatory Lawyer, Joins Venable in Washington

4 min

25-year veteran of postal rate wars has served as first chair counsel on every major postal rate case since 1983; Has first-chaired 25 rate cases and argued six cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals; Mr. Levy’s clients include country’s largest high-volume financial mailers, magazine publishers and nonprofits

NEW YORK (December 16, 2008) – Venable LLP announced that David Levy, a prominent postal regulatory and appellate lawyer, has joined the firm as a partner in its Washington office.

Mr. Levy arrives from Sidley Austin LLP, where he has practiced postal rate work since 1983.  Back then, a First-Class letter cost a mere 20 cents to mail. 

Over the years, he has represented many of the nation’s largest mailers and their trade associations, including the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the Magazine Publishers of America, the National Postal Policy Council and the National Association of Presort Mailers.  He also counsels large companies and institutions – including large banks, magazine publishers and nonprofit organizations – that rely heavily on direct mail to correspond with customers.

“The nuances and complexities of postal regulations create many ways for bulk mailers to get in hot water with the Postal Service – I spend a great deal of time making sure our clients stay in compliance on rates, negotiated service agreements and other key areas,” Mr. Levy explained.

A recognized leader in the close-knit postal bar, Mr. Levy has served as first-chair counsel for mailers in every major postal rate case before the Postal Regulatory Commission since 1983.  He also counsels mailers in appeals regarding USPS revenue deficiency claims and other adverse rulings concerning mail classification, rate eligibility, mailability and organizational eligibility.  He has also helped mailers defend against claims under the False Claims Act.

Mr. Levy negotiated and won regulatory approval for three of the five largest rate contracts struck by the Postal Service with individual mailers. He has testified before Congress and drafted amendments to the postal laws that preserved nonprofit rates.  In 2007, he was one of two members of the postal bar invited to appear as panelists at a Postal Rate Commission/USPS summit on the implementation of the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act of 2006.

In addition to postal law, Mr. Levy has tried many cases involving telecommunications, energy and railroad regulation.

At Venable, Mr. Levy joins one of the country's preeminent postal regulatory group, part of the firm’s larger practice involving regulatory, advertising and marketing law.  Venable represents leading direct marketers and advertisers, national trade associations such as the Direct Marketing Association, and large and small nonprofit organizations.  Venable also represents suppliers of mail-related services, including printers, letter shops, and data list managers. The firm’s Government Contracting Group also serves major suppliers of products to the Postal Service.

“We’re extremely fortunate to add David Levy to our group – he brings a remarkable range of regulatory, litigation and appellate experience on behalf of companies that either depend on the postal service as a prime form of communication or do extensive business with the USPS – from magazine publishers, banks and insurance companies to nonprofit organizations,” said Ian Volner, the chair of Venable's Regulatory Practice Group. Levy and Volner have worked together and on opposite sides of postal regulatory issues for several decades.

“David will also apply his exceptional experience on the macro issues confronting mailers today that go beyond postal service regulations – such as privacy and data security, environmental concerns, and information technology,” Mr. Volner added.
Mr. Volner represents many top-tier players in the direct marketing industry, and was a key architect of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the culmination of a decade of effort to revamp the USPS and assure its continued viability as a communications channel in the 21st century.

Mr. Levy noted that Venable’s strengths in advertising, marketing and nonprofit law, were major attractions in moving his longtime practice.  “Venable probably has the strongest and most diversified postal practice in the country – I am excited about harnessing my own work to that mix.

“This is a critical period for major mailers,” he added.  "The USPS is under financial stress, and the postal reform legislation enacted two years ago is still being fleshed out.. Mailers who can do creative deals with the Postal Service will come out ahead.”

Mr. Levy also noted that compliance will be increasingly important for bulk mailers as the USPS steps up enforcement of mail preparation requirements.  “With the ubiquity of e-mail and growth of electronic payments, along with a downturn in the shipment of periodicals and catalogs, the USPS is looking aggressively for additional sources of revenue.  High volume mailers are going to have to be on their guard to stay out of trouble,” he said.

Mr. Levy received his J.D. from the University of Michigan (1979) and his B.A. from Cornell University (1975).