Paul Alan Levy

Attorney, Public Citizen Litigation Group

Paul Alan Levy has worked as an attorney with Public Citizen Litigation Group since December 1977.

After working as a law clerk to Honorable Wade H. McCree, Jr. (United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit) and Special Assistant to Solicitor General McCree, Paul joined the Litigation Group to represent workers in rank-and-file labor law cases, largely representing dissident union members in cases involving union governance. He has been with the Litigation Group ever since, with the exception of a one-year sabbatical when he taught at Cardozo Law School. Over the years, he also developed subspecialties in issues such as removal jurisdiction, and the representation of “lawyers in trouble” from sanctions, contempt findings and the like.

Paul has argued scores of cases in United States Court of Appeals (three en banc). He has argued four cases in Supreme Court of the United States, as well as writing briefs for parties in seven other cases. One odd aspect of his Supreme Court practice is that each of these eleven cases have been decided 9-0 – win or lose.

More recently, Paul has specialized in free speech issues arising on the Internet. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts throughout the country about the identification of anonymous Internet speakers. His amicus curiae brief in Dendrite v. Doe, whose approach was adopted by New Jersey’s Superior Court Appellate Division, has become the model for other cases. His Internet practice also includes the defense of trademark and copyright claims brought as a means of suppressing critical web sites. His cases in this area, such as Bosley Medical v. Kremer and Lamparello v. Falwell, have established the right to create internet “gripe” sites that include the trademark names of companies in their domain names and meta tags. In Smith v. Wal-Mart Stores, he defended the right of a parodist to make fun of Wal-Mart’s trademarks. In arguing against the issuance of prior restraints in Bank Julius Baer v. Wikileaks, he had the key insight that the case had been filed without subject matter jurisdiction. For several years, Paul chaired subcommittees (on domain name litigation or on keyword advertising) of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section.

He gives a continuing legal education course on Practical Considerations in Litigating Online Free Speech Cases.  A description of his work in this area was published in the Washingtonian Magazine as “Paul Levy, the Web Bully’s Worst Enemy.” He currently serves on the Legal Review Committee for the American Civil Liberties Union for the District of Columbia.