Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

JEFF KOSSEFF

students will transition to home schools or
schools with the "least restrictive environment."
Students from kindergarten through high school
can expect to receive increased career and technical opportunities. And pre-referral intervention
strategies will be in place to properly assess
those students with behavioral challenges.

Journalist-Turned-Cybersecurity Expert
By Sarah Kellogg

"In the end, it was a victory, a complete victory,"
McDonald says. "No more kids will be forced to
go there." Log this one under "win-win."

Kosseff may not have planned this career
move, but it has proven to be a fortunate one.
After covering Ron Wyden (the senator who
wrote Section 230) as a reporter with Portland,
Oregon's daily newspaper, Kosseff ended up
interviewing the senator for his book a decade
later.

McDonald earned his law degree from the
University of Minnesota Law School, where
he sits on its advisory board and has advocated
for Somali American students in the admissions
process. A financial donor, too, he has a suite
at the university's football stadium named
after him.

McDonald is widely traveled, to say the least,
but it's Zimbabwe that feels like a second home
after he served as its U.S. ambassador from 1997
to 2001, during President Bill Clinton's administration. He met Clinton while making a name for
himself at a law firm in Cleveland.
It was no easy assignment, either - U.S.
embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya
occurred almost one year after he arrived, and
the HIV/AIDS epidemic had hit its peak in
Zimbabwe - but McDonald says he wouldn't
have traded the experience for anything.
"We did more than any other U.S. embassy to
fight HIV/AIDS. When I arrived it was a death
sentence," says McDonald, who oversaw the
opening of 13 clinics. "The clinics were about
testing, counseling, and knowing your status.
People were moving around not knowing if
they had AIDS or not. We were trying to extend
lives before drugs were widely available."
Challenging as it may have been, McDonald
is grateful for an experience that he says truly
tested his mettle. "It's about being ready when
the call comes," he says. "You prepare yourself
and put yourself in a position to be lucky. You
put yourself in a place where what you want
could actually happen."
continued on page 37

"Why do we have this little law that says
websites are not responsible for user content?"
asks Kosseff. "When the section passed, barely
anyone paid attention to it. Barely anyone paid
attention to the Telecommunications Act of
1996."

Courtesy of Jeff Kosseff

He has built a phenomenal career in business
law and lobbying, negotiating agreements for
U.S. multinational corporations and manufacturers as well as major South African, United
Kingdom, and Japanese companies. In the last
year, his projects have involved solving
problems for businesses in Bangladesh and
Jordan.

E

ight years into a distinguished
career as a political journalist,
Jeff Kosseff decided to take a
very different path. He left behind
congressional hearings, hallway
stakeouts, and press scrums for what
likely would be a quieter life in the
law. Or so he thought.

Today, Kosseff is an assistant professor of
cybersecurity law at the U.S. Naval Academy
and a respected expert on cyber threats.
Thanks to his book, The Twenty-Six Words That
Created the Internet, a history of Section 230 of
the Communications Decency Act, he is often
asked back to Capitol Hill, but this time he's on
the opposite side of the microphone.
"That was a weird experience," Kosseff recalls
of his first congressional hearing as a witness.
"I'd been in so many of these hearings, stuck
in the back writing about them. I tried to
remember what the witnesses said and did. I
was really aware of that when I was testifying."

"The competition between local and longdistance telephone companies was what
people cared about," Kosseff adds. "No one
was thinking about companies' liability for
what their users would say or do. It worked
really well in 1995 when all this technology
was new. Now these companies have larger
market caps than the automakers."
The subject of Kosseff's book is at the heart of
today's most complicated legal and political
battles, including the problematic influence of
social media companies such as Facebook and
Twitter on the tenor and content of the digital
world. It wasn't where Kosseff imagined he'd
necessarily end up, but he was certainly
primed for it.

A REPORTER'S START
A native of East Brunswick, New Jersey,
Kosseff studied economics at the University
of Michigan and wrote for the college paper,
the Michigan Daily, always with the goal of
becoming a business reporter. He earned a BA
and a master of public policy from Michigan.
Kosseff was introduced to newspaper operations during a summer internship with the
Mackinac Island Town Crier. Mackinac Island,
a picturesque tourist destination in northern
Michigan, doesn't allow cars, so his reporting
had to be done using bicycles and horsedrawn buggies. Kosseff has fond memories

MAY 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER

35



Washington Lawyer - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2020

LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
DIGITAL JUSTICE
ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
TAKING THE STAND
ON FURTHER REVIEW
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
SPEAKING OF ETHICS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DIGITAL JUSTICE
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - TAKING THE STAND
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPEAKING OF ETHICS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com