When Google changed its policy in 2020 to require all businesses selling apps through the Google Play Store to use Google’s electronic bill pay system, officials at Match Group quickly realized that this meant hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. The alternative was even more devastating — being booted off Google Play, which generated billions in revenues from Android users for Match brands, such as Tinder, PlentyofFish and Match.com. The Match legal team — including Chief Legal Officer Jared Sine, Associate General Counsel Jeanette Teckman, Senior Litigation Counsel Stephen Myers and Litigation Counsel Katie Johnson — tried to work with Google on a resolution for two years, but finally decided in March 2022 to sue its largest business partner on allegations of market manipulation, broken promises and abuse of power.
The challenges for the Match legal group included Google’s extraordinarily positive public reputation and its army of successful lawyers, three million documents of discovery to review, an expedited trial plan set by the judge and co-plaintiffs combined into the litigation that did not always see eye-to-eye with Match on all issues. Winning at trial was anything but a sure thing. In fact, Apple had defeated a nearly identical lawsuit in 2021 and 2023. Efforts to reach an out-of-court agreement were fruitless.
Just days before trial was scheduled to start in November, Match scored an historic settlement agreement with Google that brought, according to an earlier Texas Lawbook report, an estimated $300 million and other benefits to the Dallas company.
The Lawbook visited with the 2023 DFW Corporate Counsel Award honoree about factors Myers considers when hiring outside counsel and his best day at Match.
Texas Lawbook: What are the factors you consider when deciding about hiring outside counsel?
Stephen Myers: It really depends on the case, but I generally look for firms that have experience with the claims at issue and that can handle the matter in a smart, creative, efficient and cost-effective way. A firm’s demonstrated commitment to DE&I is also important to me.
Lawbook: What has been your best day working at Match?
Myers: The days we secure a “win” are always good, but my favorite days are when our team gets to do something collaboratively, such as working together to pull off an epic April Fools’ joke on Jeanette. I’m lucky to get to work with such a talented and fun group of people.
Lawbook: What does outside counsel need to know about you?
Myers: I take an active role in my cases and see us as partners. Communicate often. I don’t like surprises (except on birthdays, etc.).
Click here for the full profile of Myers and the Match legal team’s Business Litigation of the Year Award.