TechFreedom, the premiere market-oriented technology policy think tank, seeks a Senior Legal Fellow to study, document and combat the recent and growing “Techlash” that is gripping policymakers and the public. The successful candidate will report to our President, Berin Szoka.
We have a preference for candidates based within easy access of Washington, D.C., but we will consider candidates based elsewhere, especially the San Francisco Bay area or Brussels. Regular travel to DC would be expected.
About us: TechFreedom’s offices are located in Washington, D.C., but our work encompasses state, national, and international policy considerations. Our goal is to advance a philosophy of dynamism in tech policy debates: optimism about the future, humility about anyone’s ability to predict it, and skepticism about top-down technocratic attempts to have government engineer a better future. 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 thoughts on “Techlash”: In just a few years’ time, we’ve gone from celebrating the entrepreneurs who’ve led the Digital Revolution to talking about jailing business leaders who fail to anticipate how regulators might second-guess how they build their products. Politicians, pundits and populists across the political spectrum are blaming the Internet undermining democracy, invading privacy, facilitating various other ills, from sex trafficking to the opioid crisis, and concentrating power over both markets and speech too narrowly. Taken together, these arguments would fundamentally transform the approach that has allowed the Internet to flourish.
The intellectual foundation for the Techlash took a coordinated, sustained effort — and so will an effective response. TechFreedom is ideally positioned to lead this response. It is not enough merely to debunk the Techlashistas’ arguments. To win hearts and minds, we must establish a positive framing of our own on a cluster of issues:
- Platform Deputization & Neutrality: Pressure is mounting to make platforms more responsible for what their users do and say on a range of issues — yet, simultaneously, also to limit their ability to moderate and curate content.
- Privacy law: Data about users is even more an input into tech services than user content, yet American privacy law remains inchoate. New laws in California and Europe have created enormous pressure for Congress to act. The stakes for innovators could not be higher.
- Competition law: Pressure is likewise mounting to transform competition law, especially in tech markets.
- Free Speech: The First Amendment offers us our strongest weapon against stupid regulations in the United States — and against reflexively adopting European regulatory proposals here. It spans all our work, but is especially relevant to calls to regulate political speech based on models of broadcast regulation.
Four themes transcend our work on specific issue areas:
- The FTC: We coined the term “Federal Technology Commission” and it’s become truer than ever. As the default tech regulator, the FTC is being pushed to do more on privacy and competition, two increasingly intertwined issues, and could gain new powers if Congress enacts legislation passes — or simply because the agency changes its approach.
- Administrative law: Many of these regulatory debates, across multiple agencies, revolve around the same questions of how agencies work across the board, how much deference they get, when to use rulemakings versus case by case, and, especially, how enforcement works: when are penalties appropriate, how should they be calculated, and when should corporate managers and executives be held civil, or even criminally, liable?
- European law is increasingly becoming the global standard, and driving the conversation about U.S. policymaking. Either way, it is no longer adequate to rely on purely American legal concepts.
- Federalism: For at least the next two years, the primary battleground for the Techlash in the U.S. will likely be in the states. Our first line of defense must be to defend the constitutional limits on how states can regulate inherently interstate Internet services.
Requirements: We’re looking for a smart lawyer who is seeking to become a public intellectual capable of countering the Techlash. Here’s what we think that looks like:
- An attorney with a minimum of two years of legal experience, but 3-5 years of experience is strongly preferred.
- Experience with civil litigation is preferred by not required. Special consideration will be given to judicial clerks and those who have experience as a legislative or regulatory staffer. Active (or easily reactivated) bar membership is required.
- The candidate must have working familiarity with:
- Administrative law and procedure
- Regulatory policy in general
- Above all, we seek a lawyer with demonstrated ability to master new areas of law and policy quickly.
- Exceptional public speaking ability is required as it will be a key part of this role, including panels, podcasts, media appearances, and testimony before legislative committees and regulatory agencies. Fundamentally, this person must be able to debate likable, polished media darlings with whose messages have 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 both expert and mass audiences, including regulatory comments, op-eds, amicus briefs, and white papers.
- A willingness to participate in development efforts, including prospecting donors, donor pitch development and delivery, and relationship management.
How to Apply
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:
- Resume: please, limit your resume to a single page.
- Cover letter: Cover letter that clearly lays out your interest in the position and TechFreedom; include salary requirements.
- Writing sample: a simple link to published material is fine, but anything that you think demonstrates your ability to succinctly communicate a complicated idea is really what we are after here.
- Your social media handles: most of us at TechFreedom are active (and occasionally iconoclastic) on social media, so we would like to get to know your online persona.
- Other relevant experience: Tell us whatever else in your background you think would be relevant for this role.
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link: https://talentmarket.org/candidates/apply-for-your-dream-job/
Questions can be directed to Lauren Skiver, Talent Manager at Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: [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.
Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.