Google Seeks Antitrust Lawyer as It Faces Regulatory Scrutiny

Google Inc. (GOOG), with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said to be preparing an investigation of its dominant position in the Internet search industry, is seeking to hire an antitrust lawyer, according to an online job posting.

An advertisement yesterday on Linkedin Corp.’s networking website said it seeks a new lawyer to join Google’s competition team based at the company’s Mountain View, California headquarters. The person will work with Google’s in-house and outside antitrust lawyers on issues “related to planned products or services” as well as “represent Google in regulatory proceedings at the state, federal and international levels,” according to the posting.

Google has been bolstering its team of competition lawyers as it faces growing scrutiny from regulators. Officials in Texas and at the European Commission have started investigations into Google’s search dominance, while Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is considering such a probe. The FTC has started alerting companies to gather information for a probe of Google, three people familiar with the matter said last week.

Google hired Stewart Jeffries, formerly an antitrust counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, at its Washington office in February. Sara Walsh joined Google’s competition team at headquarters from the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati in New York in October, according to her Linkedin profile.

“We’ve been steadily hiring lawyers in all areas,” said Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich. Google’s website has advertised for a competition lawyer on a “semi-permanent basis for the past two years,” he said.

Competition Law

The lawyer sought by Google on Linkedin should have at least five years of experience that include advising companies on competition law, and experience litigating cases under Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act, one of the main U.S. antitrust laws, according to the posting.

The FTC told the companies it contacted that it plans to issue so-called civil investigative demands for the information, said the people, who requested anonymity because the FTC hasn’t made the matter public. The demands are similar to subpoenas.

The EU probe is examining whether Google discriminated against other services in search results and stopped websites from accepting rival ads. A complaint from Microsoft last month may expand the investigation to online video and mobile phones.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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