Jonathan Mark, L’16

Invisible signals

September 27, 2023

Alumni Profile

Even as a kid, Jonathan Mark, L’16, knew he wanted to work in communications. He realized only later that this interest would take him through law school.

Mark is currently communications law counsel for Google, with previous stops at the FCC and Davis Wright Tremaine. His work focuses on issues related to telecommunications and media law.

“Google creates a lot of products that are just on the edge of established communications law,” he said. These include wireless services, Android, and its Google Pixel phone — products competing in a fast-moving regulated industry. He also works on uses related to spectrum — the range of electromagnetic waves that carry everything from satellite signals to public safety communications. Concerns about interference rise as the limited spectrum becomes more crowded, which makes the rules for sharing increasingly important.

“The government is a huge user of the spectrum, but it doesn’t occupy all of the spectrum that it has rights to, so we’ve created innovative solutions to share that spectrum so that it can be used by the public,” he said.

This immersion in technical issues is a recent career development for Mark. He majored in journalism at Hampton University and started at Richmond Law intending to become a lawyer in the entertainment industry. He gradually shifted to telecom, particularly after an externship at the FCC during his 3L year through Richmond Law’s D.C. externship program.

“I thought it was really cool that there are these invisible signals that are traveling through the air at all times, and they can be used for things that connect us in different ways,” he said. “I built my practice on helping companies who utilize those airwaves and create innovative communications products.”

He is also a member of the leadership committee of the Black Law Alumni Association. Its outreach to current and prospective students is particularly important, he said. “We want to help bridge that gap for students who might feel a bit more marginalized, to let them know that they do belong and to say that there’s a place for you.”