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SpaceX Filling Top Legal, Policy Posts After Firing Musk Critics

July 15, 2022, 9:30 AM

SpaceX, after firing employees critical of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk last month, is recruiting for a dozen legal and government affairs positions.

The company seeks lawyers for government contracts, regulatory matters and telecommunications, as well as government affairs professionals for appropriations, broadband, and satellite policy, a SpaceX online jobs board shows.

SpaceX fired “a number” of workers responsible for an open letter critical of Musk’s behavior, Bloomberg News reported June 17, citing an internal company memo. The letter faulted Musk’s behavior and tweets as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us.”

The letter pre-dated Musk’s current legal battle over Twitter Inc. that stems from his $44 billion takeover dispute with the company.

SpaceX, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., last month hired satellite policy director Jayson Cohen, a former of counsel at Morrison & Foerster who spent the past decade doing patent litigation and arbitration work at the firm.

SpaceX hopes to “bring broadband access” to millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world, including “those who have never before had such service,” Cohen said in a LinkedIn post last week.

The Federal Communications Commission recently approved SpaceX’s plan to offer broadband to aircraft, vehicles, and vessels through its Starlink satellite network. The Ukrainian government has used the system to protect its communications network amid an assault from Russia.

Cohen joined MoFo in 2012 after nearly a half-dozen years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. MoFo is one of several firms to have close ties to SpaceX over the years, handling everything from antitrust litigation to government contracts work for the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company.

Cohen referred a request for comment about his new role at SpaceX in Washington to the company’s media relations department, which didn’t respond to an inquiry about its hiring efforts.

A public job listing for the position that Cohen now holds states that ideal candidates should have a law degree and be expected to travel about 30% of the time.

SpaceX is looking for individuals with experience in working with the FCC, knowledge of radiofrequency spectrum technology, and an understanding of spectrum use and domestic and foreign broadband policy.

Knowledge of “key commercial and government players” in the broadband and telecommunications industry is also a plus, the job listing said.

Jameson Dempsey, a former head of legal and government affairs at Loon, an internet space project scuttled last year by Google owner Alphabet Inc., joined SpaceX in late 2021 as a satellite policy lawyer.

SpaceX parted ways more than a year ago with general counsel David Anderman, a former top lawyer for “Star Wars” owner Lucasfilm Ltd. whom it hired in 2019.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com