Stephen Myers – Match Group
Searching for the right partner can be a competitive pursuit. How much more favorable the odds can be when one harnesses Match Group’s global portfolio of online dating brands including Tinder, Match, Hinge and OkCupid, which have been helping people all over the world make meaningful connections for over 20 years.
Yet Match Group faces much competition just to sustain business as usual. It’s even subject to what one of its in-house attorneys deems arbitrary constraints from the companies it must work with. Attempting to resolve these matters is just one of the areas keeping Stephen Myers busy as a director and senior counsel for litigation.
The digital app ecosystem is rife with unique, complex legal issues, he tells Vanguard from company headquarters in Dallas. Companies that should be partners insist on abusing their market power to impose unfair terms and conditions, including the requirement to use their in-app payment systems and pay excessive fees. There’s a slew of anticompetitive rules, policies and practices from these gatekeepers of the ecosystem.
“Match Group has been a leading voice on these issues and I’m proud to be part of the effort not only because of the potential impact it’ll have on Match Group’s portfolio brands and their users, but also on all app developers and users,” Myers says.
While prudence precludes him from saying too much about ongoing legal matters, he’s hopeful that courts and regulators will strike the balance between protecting consumer interests, promoting fairness and effectively addressing emerging challenges posed by evolving technologies, which give rise to novel antitrust issues. It’s also quite the education, Myers getting a crash course on rules and regulations in all hemispheres and interacting with a most diverse collection of stakeholders.
“It’s not uncommon to start my day with calls or emails with team members or outside counsel in the United Kingdom or India,” he says.
That said, there’s always much to do on the home front.
User safety first
Match Group’s litigation team has a hand in nearly every aspect of the company’s business. In addition to handling all litigation, the team provides daily support to Match Group’s portfolio brands, which entails giving guidance on laws and regulations and how they may apply to certain services provided by the brands.
Myers says that while his team is often able to resolve most of these disputes without litigation, “it’s important for our brand teams to know that we’ve got their backs and will do what we can to help enforce their policies and keep bad actors off their platforms when necessary.”
Myers, who grew up in Texas City, Texas, always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. “I blame it on being a middle child and always having to advocate for myself,” he jokes. “But seriously, as a kid I was fascinated with how laws impact day-to-life; I knew I wanted to be part of that.”
While at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his undergrad and law degrees, Myers got a glimpse of the law-making process through various internships, including at the White House. He says those experiences and his time as president of the student senate furthered his passion for law and honed his advocacy skills.
Myers also appreciates Match Group’s dedication to diversity and inclusion.
“I’ve experienced prejudice, including physical assault, because of my sexual orientation, so being part of a company that embraces DEI and fosters inclusive environments is very important to me,” he shares.
This drives his voluntary service on the legal department’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, where he actively works toward advancing the company’s DEI values and priorities in the selection of outside counsel and vendors. Myers emphasizes that “the firms and vendors we engage should align with and support our commitment to these values and priorities.”
But his personal commitment to promoting DEI is not new. As a litigation associate at Fulbright and Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright), which is where he started his legal career, Myers helped launch and was a leader of the firm’s LGBTQ+ employee affinity group before leaving in 2016 to go in-house at Southwest Airlines, also in Dallas. Here too he fronted causes outside his role as a litigator, delving into labor and employment law and leading the effort to implement Southwest’s first guidelines supporting transgender employees. He’s also served as a member of the Dallas Lambda Legal Leadership Board.
The perfect match
A couple years before joining the company in October 2020, Myers met his partner through Tinder.
“I guess you could say we’re a Tinder success story,” he says. “I think it’s cool that I was once a user of the service, and now I get to represent it. I love this job.”
Myers and his partner have since bought a fixer-upper in Dallas/Fort Worth and have their hands full between DIY repairs and keeping two dogs, Scout and Coconut.
Then there are the early morning boot camps led by Jeanette Teckman, who’s Myers’ supervisor as well as Match Group’s senior vice president and associate general counsel for litigation, IP and compliance. Five days a week at the crack of dawn, Teckman commences with grueling workouts that might have Myers wondering why he ever asked her for advice on keeping fit.
“There’s no better accountability system for working out than having your boss lead the session,” says Myers, who’s participated in the workouts for the past two years. “I’m just grateful she doesn’t do my job evaluations based on my workout performance. I don’t think I’d have a job if she did.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Summer III 2023 Edition here.
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