Meet the OGCs: Don Levy
Don is a 30+ year veteran corporate and transactional tech lawyer with deep experience in a wide range of sectors, including Internet/e-commerce, SaaS, communications (wireless and satellite), semiconductor, software, mobile device, market research, and entertainment/media. Over the course of his career, Don has served in numerous legal and business roles, both in-house and in Big Law, taking him to places like Japan, England, and Hungary. He has worked with such tech giants as Meta, Panasonic Avionics and CommQuest, as well as for multiple tech start-ups in positions within legal, corporate development, finance, and other business roles.
Don got his start in the technology space in a very roundabout way. While practicing as a corporate attorney with Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the firm sent him to Budapest after the Iron Curtain fell to help open Weil’s office there. As it turned out, much of the former Soviet system’s software work was being done in Central Europe, offering Don exposure to both technology and emerging legal issues. Don was fascinated by this area, so much so that when he returned to the U.S, he asked to join Weil’s recently opened Silicon Valley office. Although the request was initially denied, Don ultimately landed there by making a deal with the firm: in exchange for agreeing to a year-long secondment in Japan, handling corporate development and licensing for the firm’s client (Panasonic), he could return to Weil’s Silicon Valley office. And the timing could not have been more right, as he landed there just in time for the Internet revolution.
Some of the most interesting transactions of Don’s career happened while working in-house for Panasonic. For example, Don represented the company in its acquisition of the patents for lithium-ion batteries, which was a game changer for Panasonic’s battery business. He also handled the integration of MCA/Universal after it was acquired by Panasonic, a complex undertaking given the vast differences in company culture.
Don credits his in-house roles with giving him important insights into key operational dynamics and business issues that he still leverages to this day when drafting commercial and transactional agreements for his clients. Understanding how technology works – its development, manufacture, and commercialization – has made a real difference in Don’s approach, including his ability to identify when outside counsel has misused so-called “standard” legal provisions. Don is certainly one of OGC’s tech gurus, and we’re lucky to have him on the team.
More about Don Levy
In addition to advising clients, Don is an active contributor to thought leadership in the technology sector. Most recently, his article, “Building better chip agreements without losing your mind – or your IP,” was featured by WestLaw Today; and, in a companion blog piece, An OGC Primer: Understanding the Custom IC Development and Supply Process to Help Craft Better Agreements, Don offers a white paper on custom integrated circuit (IC) technology, including the nuances and intricate supply chain interdependencies that are involved in both developing and supplying custom chips.
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