Subscribe to the Cicero Newsletter Learn More

Law and Policy Fellowship


The Cicero Law & Policy Fellowship offers enthusiastic, high-caliber law, business administration, public policy, or public administration graduate students the opportunity to contribute their unique skills and talents to the policy development work of Cicero Research. Law & Policy Fellows work with the staff of Cicero Research to craft innovative policy initiatives that foster the competition of ideas at the state level. Cicero Research has first-hand experience with how laws and regulation can stifle innovation and competition, and it seeks to implement unique, entrepreneurial solutions to confront these problems.

Joe Lonsdale builds and invests in companies by finding conceptual gaps in major industries where the status quo comes up short of what’s possible, and corrects those shortfalls by partnering with top talent to build technology cultures and platforms. Joe founded the Cicero Institute in proximity to 8VC with the same entrepreneurial mindset. At Cicero, we stand for the original American values enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of limited, competent government. We look for shortcomings in areas that sometimes only government policy can address, whether it is recidivism rates in prisons, education outcomes, or healthcare costs and access. Then, to address this gap, we partner with talented thinkers to develop novel policies that respect the principles of a free society, write legislation, get feedback, and address the problem.

Cicero Research currently focuses its policy reform research on seven key areas: Higher Education, Healthcare, Housing, Procurement, Public Finance, Public Safety, Regulatory Burden, and Workforce Development. Law & Policy Fellows take an active role in the policy process by crafting inventive policy ideas and helping turn those ideas into effective legislation at the state level.

In addition to a $1,500 monthly stipend, Cicero Law & Policy Fellows will be invited to attend virtual roundtables and networking events as well as an annual in-person retreat. These events will give Law & Policy Cicero Fellows access to the Cicero team and Joe Lonsdale.


Applicants must be creative, intellectually versatile, and demonstrate very strong writing skills. They should exhibit good judgment, loyalty, discretion, and a commitment to the Cicero Institute founding principles. Cicero Law & Policy Fellows will be expected to commit 10 hours a week to their research and writing duties and join in a weekly meeting by telephone or video, as well as take periodic calls to discuss projects.

The Cicero Law & Policy Fellowship will be awarded on a single-semester basis, with the possibility of extension to the full school year. Final selections will be made after video interviews of the most qualified applicants.

Past fellows are eligible to re-apply to the program for subsequent years.


Priority Fall 2023 applications are due July 1, 2023. Additional applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. To apply, please submit a CV, cover letter, and writing sample to [email protected]. Your cover letter should state your policy area (or areas) of preference and any prior relevant experience.

About the Cicero Institute:

American innovation and entrepreneurship have improved living standards for hundreds of millions of people. Our society continues to be one of the healthiest and most prosperous on the planet, and Americans continue to enjoy an unprecedented degree of personal freedom. Unfortunately, bad policies have stifled improvement in many areas, including healthcare, education, criminal justice, and our responses to the housing and homelessness crises in major cities. In extreme cases, ill-conceived laws have ruined the lives of individuals and communities.

That’s why we are designing bipartisan policy frameworks that harness market forces to fight special interest capture of public institutions, align incentives for government agencies and their contractors, and expand opportunities for all Americans. Our mission at the Cicero Institute is to establish policy frameworks which allow ambitious, competent leaders to design entrepreneurial solutions to the toughest social problems.

We partner with modern-day Ciceros: courageous policymakers and public-spirited entrepreneurs who oppose special interests in defense of the common good. Economic progress stalls out when private industries capture and corrupt government agencies. It is our civic duty to fight for transparency and accountability in government and open markets in which the most innovative ideas win. Together we can build a safer, more prosperous society and expand opportunities for all Americans.

About Joe Lonsdale:

Joe Lonsdale is the Founder and Chairman of the Cicero Institute. He is a partner at 8VC, an Austin-based venture capital firm which manages approximately $5 billion. He was an early institutional investor in many notable companies including WishOculusOscarIllumioBlend, RelateIQ, Joby AviationGuardant Health, and Synthego, and in 2016 and 2017 was the youngest member of the Forbes 100 Midas List, which uses LP data to rank venture capital investors globally.

Before starting his investment firm, Joe co-founded Palantir, a multi-billion dollar global software company known for its work in defense and other industries, as well as for providing the platform to run the COVID-19 common operating picture for key decision makers in over 35 countries. After Palantir, he founded and remains as Chairman of both Addepar, whose wealth management technology platform is currently being used to manage approximately $2 trillion, and OpenGov, which modernizes various processes for over 2,000 municipalities and state agencies. More recently, he is also a founder of AffinityAnduinEpirusEsper, and other mission-driven technology companies, which he continues to build with his team and network. Previously, Joe was an early executive at Clarium Capital, which he helped grow into a large global macro hedge fund. He also worked with PayPal while he attended Stanford.

Joe received a BS in Computer Science from Stanford in 2003. He often lectures and writes on entrepreneurship, technology, and public policy.