Jonathan V. Cohen

Finance Partner
Office Washington DC

Jonathan works closely with clients in the tech, media, and telecom industries to enable them to overcome regulatory and transactional challenges and achieve their business objectives.  He leverages his deep knowledge of the legal, regulatory, political, and public policy landscape in D.C., gained through his long career in private law practice (mostly at WBK) and his experience working in government (at the White House and FCC), political campaigns, and the media.

Jonathan advises clients ranging from innovative start-ups to Fortune 50 companies and has been singled out for nationwide recognition for “outstanding service” on corporate and commercial transactions.  His ability to achieve positive results for clients stems from instincts honed through work on various leading public policy issues in the telecom, media, and tech regulatory space over the past 40+ years, more recently including artificial intelligence and content regulation.  Jonathan co-chairs the Emerging Issues in Technology committee of the FCBA-The Tech Bar and is a frequent speaker at industry events.  He holds the Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating and is perennially selected as a Washington DC SuperLawyer.

Jonathan devotes time to pro bono legal matters and volunteer activities and was named to the D.C. Bar’s Pro Bono Honor Roll for 2021.  When not working, he likes to hike, bike, golf, swim, and spend time with his family (which of course includes the dogs).

Representative Engagements
  • Counseled wireless industry players on spectrum policies needed for rollout of commercial mobile broadband services (including 5G services)
  • Obtained state and federal regulatory approvals for numerous media and telecom deals, including obtaining Team Telecom clearance when needed
  • Assisted both broadcast and wireless industry clients in navigating the intricacies of virtually all of the significant spectrum auctions since 1998, including the FCC’s innovative broadcast spectrum incentive auction, which repurposed low-band spectrum from television broadcast to mobile broadband use
  • Represented Amtrak in spectrum acquisitions and regulatory approvals needed for the deployment of the Positive Train Control technology
  • Represented Centennial Communications Corp. in its $944 million merger with AT&T Inc., and Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (now ATN International, Inc.) in securing approval for its $200 million acquisition of wireless facilities and customers in 26 markets in six states from Verizon Wireless
  • On behalf of Cingular Wireless (now AT&T), devised and implemented structures to accomplish the unwind of a complex infrastructure-sharing arrangement with T-Mobile USA, a process that involved dozens of agreements and numerous FCC approvals
  • Assisted Cingular Wireless in a broad range of transactions, including its merger with AT&T Wireless Services, a $1.4 billion spectrum acquisition from NextWave Telecom Inc.; and the acquisition of controlling interests in several affiliates that had acquired licenses as “designated entities” under the FCC’s rules
  • Devised the template for the first spectrum lease agreements executed under a new FCC policy in 2003. Many elements of these spectrum leases have become the standard in the industry
  • While at the FCC, advised two FCC Chairmen, co-authored rules for FCC spectrum auctions and directed the FCC’s first broadband PCS auction, which brought digital technology to the mobile phone industry and generated $7.7 billion for the U.S. Treasury and earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest auction to date
  • Director of Outreach for now-U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen’s first Congressional campaign (2002) (while on leave of absence from WBK)
  • Frequently a featured speaker at industry conferences and client seminars
  • Senior Federal Communications Commission staff positions in the Chairman’s Office, Office of Plans and Policy, and Wireless Telecommunications and Mass Media Bureaus (1993-1998)
  • Assistant Counsel to President Clinton in The White House Office of Presidential Personnel (1993)
  • Clinton for President Campaign and Presidential Transition, Washington, DC (1992-1993)
  • Associate in two Washington, D.C. communications law firms (1982-1991)
  • News Reporter, WXLO-FM, New York, NY (1978-1979)
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  • Washington, DC SuperLawyer (2013-2023)
  • Recommended by Legal 500 US (2017-2019)
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating (ongoing)
  • One of 86 Attorneys Nationwide Named to the BTI Transactions All-Star Team (2008)
  • Member, Tech, Media and Telecom Policy Group, 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama
  • Private Sector Advisor – U.S. Department of State delegation to the World Telecommunications Development Conference, Istanbul, Turkey (2002)
  • Recipient of the “Hammer Award” from Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review for Reinventing Government (1995)
  • Dealmaker of the Month, The American Lawyer magazine (May 1995)
  • Member, FCBA – The Tech Bar
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Pro Bono and Volunteer Projects
  • 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll High Honors Recipient
  • WBK Pro Bono Project | Maryland Parole Partnership
  • Co-chair, FCBA Ad Hoc Committee on Emerging Issues in Tech
  • Organized and hosted multi-session FCBA program in summer 2021 on the regulation of online platforms.
  • Spent six years serving on the board of directors of Kol Shalom synagogue in Rockville, MD


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