Policy Counsel (FTC)
Position Status: Full time, salaried, exempt
Posting Date: 3/3/2023
Free Press and Free Press Action work to amplify the voices of people and communities in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities. We work at the intersection of media and technology to strengthen our democracy.
Free Press is looking for a policy counsel to advance our priorities with the Federal Trade Commission and Congress, including antitrust, competition, digital civil rights, privacy and platform-accountability issues. The policy counsel will be responsible for tracking the daily activities at the FTC, as well as building relationships with and influencing key staff at the agency. They will also have a deep grasp of the political and corporate actors shaping debates before the FTC and keep our policy and campaign teams updated and informed. They will strategize around the agency’s interplay with Congress, the Department of Justice, the executive branch, the courts and public debates on major issues shaping the future of media and technology. The policy counsel will track all related legislative, rule-making and adjudicatory proceedings and seek to advance Free Press Action’s positions therein.
The policy counsel conducts meetings with FTC and congressional staff, analyzes legislation, writes briefs and advisory memos, conducts legal research, contributes to position papers, and files comments in regulatory and adjudicatory proceedings. As necessary, the policy counsel drafts and files pleadings in proceedings before the U.S. Courts of Appeal. They prepare and deliver congressional testimony and speak at congressional briefings. The policy counsel also closely collaborates with allied organizations, represents Free Press in coalition meetings, presents at conferences, speaks to press on the record regarding issues in their portfolio, and writes blog posts, press releases, and articles for a range of outlets and audiences.
The policy counsel works as part of a cross-disciplinary team at Free Press, in coordination with coalition partners, strategic allies and outside counsel, to maximize available resources and build our capacity to challenge well-financed opposition. The policy counsel will work in close coordination with the entire policy team on filings, legislative analysis and lobbying strategy and collaborate with Free Press’ program and communications staff to create high-impact campaigns, shape public debates and win policy changes.
The policy counsel reports to the Policy Director. This job requires flexibility in work schedule, generally aligning to the U.S. East Coast hours and is based in Washington, D.C. The position requires evening and weekend work, especially to handle rapid response needs. Frequent domestic travel, including multi-day trips, are expected.
Free Press is composed of two separate organizations, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund. Both entities share the same overall mission and employees will have time assigned to one or both entities. This job description refers collectively to the two organizations as “Free Press.”
- Issue-area expertise: Develop and maintain deep knowledge around issues before the Federal Trade Commission – including antitrust, competition, digital civil rights, privacy and platform accountability – along with broad knowledge of media, telecommunications, and/or technology issues, with special focus on federal policy, statutory analysis, administrative law, and constitutional issues, including First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, civil rights law, and federalism issues
- Writing and filings: Draft precise and persuasive filings, including but not limited to agency comments, replies, appellate litigation pleadings and briefs, to advance Free Press' positions. Write articles for publication for Free Press website and other media outlets
- Advocacy and lobbying: Promote Free Press’ mission and policy positions through correspondence and meetings with staff members of the FTC, Congress, the Department of Justice, and other regulatory bodies. Prepare and/or deliver testimony for legislative and regulatory proceedings, letters for the congressional record and other policy analysis to educate Hill staff on our issues
- Policy analysis and research: Analyze existing laws, pending legislation and regulatory proposals, preparing memos and reports on how they support or undermine Free Press policy positions. Conduct extensive legal, factual and economic research on media, telecommunications and technology policies and proceedings directly related to the FTC, platform accountability, privacy, digital civil rights and other Free Press priority campaigns
- Communicate policy positions — from highly technical to very general — to a wide range of audiences, including staff and allies, government decision-makers, press, and the general public. Participate in press briefings and assist with press releases and other public communications
- Coalition engagement: Represent Free Press in networks and coalitions to advance short- and long-term campaign goals. Identify, analyze, prioritize and pursue opportunities to develop relationships with academics and leaders of key institutions and organizations
- Advancing Race Equity: Clearly and consistently articulate an understanding of racial equity and structural racism and the centrality of this analysis to the policy work Free Press does and how we operate. Integrate that knowledge into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities and decisions on race, class, gender and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects
- Cross-team collaboration: Engage, through a consultative approach primarily with policy and campaign staff, to address media and technology policy interventions; contribute to formulation of policy and campaign strategy. Encourage cross-team collaboration and contribute to strategic alignment through communication and engagement with internal teams
Desired Skills and Attributes:
- Must have superb legal writing and analytical skills and be capable of producing concise and persuasive filings and other documents
- Must have experience advocating to lawmakers and policymakers; previous experience at or before the FTC desired
- A commitment to racial equity and experience working with communities of color
- Demonstrated ability to manage details, solve problems, and follow through on assignments with minimal supervision
- Must be able to adapt or modify plans, timelines or processes in response to rapidly changing circumstances and opportunities
- Clear communication skills essential; strong public speaking skills desired.
- Ability to work effectively with people at all levels, including staff, consultants, colleagues, volunteers, members/constituents, and the general public. Must be confident, outgoing, courteous, and professional in all written and verbal communications
- Demonstrated ability to be entrusted with sensitive information and conduct daily activities with the utmost professionalism and integrity.
- Must be able to remain positive, tactful and composed under pressure
- Must be a team player with a low-ego approach to collaboration with both internal and external colleagues
- Must be able to develop and maintain relationships with a wide range of external organizations
- Must demonstrate excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
- Fluency in Spanish and/or languages other than English is a plus
- Must value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstance
- Dedication to Free Press’ mission of fighting for everyone’s rights to connect and communicate, in addition to the overall success of the organization
Experience and Qualifications:
- Juris Doctorate degree strongly preferred. Advanced public policy degree paired with issue expertise and experience may also demonstrate qualifications for this position
- Background in public policy, political science, communications, community development and organizing, or related fields will indicate aptitude for the daily work this job requires
- 5 years or more of directly relevant experience in media, technology and telecommunications policy is required
- Strong writing and sharp editing skills required. Must be able to present complex and technical topics to a wide audience
- Strong interest in and knowledgeable of media and technology issues and demonstrated experience working on those or similar issues
- Ability to work across teams and the entire organization to help problem solve, triage competing priorities, and generate ideas that will innovate existing or create new projects, campaigns, and programs
- Ability to effectively work with highly sensitive personnel, financial, operational and political information
- Attention to detail, flexibility and demonstrated capacity to operate in a fast-paced environment
- Must have ability to succeed in a predominately telework/remote office environment, including working with an off-site staff, adopting and maintaining strong digital security practices, and fostering connection and community with colleagues located throughout the U.S.
Covid - 19 Vaccination:
All Free Press employees must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or have an approved medical or religious/ethical/moral accommodation.
Free Press is committed to offering competitive pay and generous benefits, including
- Group medical, dental and vision insurance
- Short- and long-term disability insurance
- Employer contribution to retirement plans (no matching required)
- Flexible health, commuter and dependent care spending accounts
- Paid family leave
- Annual paid time off is a total of ten weeks, including vacation, health-care leave and holidays
- Stipends for business use of personal phones and for home office locations
- All employees receive computers and equipment necessary for the job
- A flexible, supportive work culture
This position is categorized as a level 3 position, in the context of five possible classifications at Free Press, ranging from coordinator (level one) to executive (level five).
The starting salary at Free Press for a policy counsel who meets the above qualifications is $90,000 - $110,000. Starting salary is based on the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience. To counter pay inequality and uphold internal parity, we use a nonnegotiable starting salary system, while benchmarking our pay to competitive markets in the nonprofit sector.
Free Press is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
We are actively seeking to build a diverse and inclusive team with a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives and skills. People of color, women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, gender-nonconforming and formerly incarcerated individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.
If you meet some of the qualifications above, we encourage you to apply or to reach out for more information. We know groups subjected to systemic oppression– including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a job. Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other communities which are marginalized.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and we encourage candidates to submit applications by April 30, 2023. This search will remain open until the position is filled. The ideal candidate will be available to begin work in May, 2023.
How to apply:
Complete our online application at the link on the top right of this page. Fully answering the application questions is an important part of the application process.
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Free Press provides reasonable accommodations for the application, interview, or any other aspect of the employee selection process to applicants with disabilities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an accommodation.