TechFreedom, the premier market-oriented technology policy think tank, seeks a lawyer or economist with significant antitrust experience to study, document and combat a populist frenzy sweeping across the political spectrum, channeling broad outrage about the tech sector, and demanding fundamental changes to antitrust law — the so-called “TechLash.”
About Us: TechFreedom’s offices are located in Washington, D.C., but our work addresses state, national, and international policy considerations, and this role could be based anywhere. We advance a philosophy of dynamism in tech policy debates: optimism about the future, humility about anyone’s ability to predict the course of technological change, and skepticism about technocratic attempts to engineer a better future through regulation. We aim to transcend traditional political and industry divides with a principled message. We take deep dives into legal and policy issues and produce a variety of materials, including comments before regulatory agencies, amicus briefs in legal cases, and briefing materials for Congressional offices. Our experts are respected as thought leaders, participating regularly on panel discussions, convening our own working groups with other experts, commenting to the media, and more.
Our Approach to Competition Policy: Just a few years ago, policymakers were still celebrating the entrepreneurs who led the Digital Revolution. Now they’re clamoring to jail business leaders — and increasingly blaming the Internet for society’s ills. Likewise, after three decades of unparalleled digital dynamism, many now assume that today’s “Big Tech” giants are locked into their market positions forever, that disruptive innovation has ceased… that the Internet has reached “The End of History.” Such thinking is driving calls for completely changing how we govern the digital realm, especially competition law.
Across the political spectrum, populists insist the consumer welfare standard that has guided antitrust law for decades should be abandoned — so competition regulators can make highly subjective policy decisions through antitrust enforcement. Others propose significant changes to the process of antitrust enforcement, such as changing burdens of proof, flipping evidentiary presumptions, or having the FTC write competition rules — and demand deference for those rules in court. Such changes could make the digital world less, rather than more, dynamic, slowing beneficial innovations, denying consumers the largely unseen and unknownable benefits of lost innovation, and politicizing antitrust enforcement even more than it already has been at both the federal and state level.
Scope of Work: The Techlash didn’t just happen. It reflects a coordinated, sustained effort — and so will an effective response. Our new Senior Fellow will, of course, spend part of their time responding to, and debunking, the arguments that the digital sky is falling and that only radical changes to antitrust law can save us. But even more important is building the intellectual foundation needed for us to defend well-developed antitrust principles that are now under fierce attack from the growing “hipster antitrust” movement — and to answer the legitimately hard questions raised by critics of the status quo.
We expect our new colleague to help us shape a proactive agenda of scholarship, including:
- Analyzing tech-related antitrust lawsuits in the US and Europe to understand their broader implications for antitrust doctrine
- Monitoring digital markets to maintain familiarity with the technical, business and user experience details necessary to provide expert commentary on the rapidly evolving debate about digital competition
- Explaining how changes in antitrust enforcement or statutes could have perverse effects on startups, innovation, and the overall dynamism of the tech sector
- Improving, and de-politicizing, the investigation and enforcement process
- Highlighting how antitrust law can be weaponized by firms against their rivals, and by politicians against their enemies
- What it would mean for the FTC to issue competition rules
- The intersection of privacy and competition policy
Requirements: We’re looking for a smart lawyer who is seeking to become a leading public intellectual in the debate over the future of competition policy. Here’s what we think that looks like:
- A minimum of three years of antitrust practice as either a lawyer or economist. Special consideration will be given to those who have experience handling antitrust cases in government, and (former) judicial clerks.
- Working familiarity with:
- Regulatory policy in general
- Law & economics
- Exceptional public speaking ability will be a key part of this role, including panels, podcasts, media appearances, and testimony before legislative committees and regulatory agencies. This expert must be able to debate likable, polished media darlings whose narrative has far more intuitive appeal — and win.
- Excellent writing skills will be indispensable for this position. We need someone able to produce a variety of work products, with limited external editing, aimed at a spectrum of audiences, from regulatory comments, amicus briefs, and white papers to op-eds and effective tweeting.
- A proven ability to engage in quick, timely responses as well as longer, more detailed written outputs — and to learn master modes of writing. No prior experience with social media is required, and we understand that practicing lawyers generally don’t tweet, but this person needs to be able to engage in the debate over competition policy where it’s happening: online.
- A self-sufficient, entrepreneurial work style, a strong desire to learn new things, fearlessness, passion, and well as a certain degree of patience.
How to Apply: Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:
- One-page resume: You are welcome to also include a CV with publications, etc. if you think that will be informative.
- Cover letter: Again, we aren’t looking for anything long, just something to give us a sense of who you are and why you think TechFreedom would be a good fit for you.
- Writing sample: Links to published material is fine, but anything that you think demonstrates your ability to succinctly communicate about complicated ideas is really what we are after here.
- Your social media handles: We’d like to get to know whatever online persona you have. Tell us whatever else in your background you think would be relevant for this role.
We plan to accept applications until this position is filled. On a rolling basis, we will be in touch with candidates who we believe are a good fit and will set up a short interview to vet candidates further. Applications should be submitted to us at [email protected] While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.
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