Thomas Goldstein

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law, is nearing its end. The original six contestants have been winnowed down to two finalists: FROLIC AND DETOUR and SOPHIST.
We’ll open the polls later today. But first, let’s hear from your celebrity judges:
ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    See what they have to say about the last two competitors, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 3)”

  • ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHappy Friday! You know what that means: time to hear from the celebrity judges in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law. And time to vote, when the polls open later today.
    Your judges need no introduction, but for the record:
    ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    See what they have to say about the contestants this week, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 2)”

  • avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
    From ergonomic wrist supports to dual computer monitors, law firms wring every ounce of productivity from the attorneys they haven’t axed (yet). But while firms close branch offices and fire scores of lawyers, we submit that the answer to the current economic slump isn’t merging firms – it’s merging people. Everybody knows that two lawyers are better than one. It’s time for firms to get both and pay half; time for attorney mating.
    No more legions of staff attorneys or filibuster roll-calls. Say goodbye to team meetings that resemble the Last Supper. Through attorney mating, firms can combine, say, the skills of master litigators with those of corporate powerhouses in order to produce uberlawyers with the efficiency of ten Aeron chairs. Using genetic samples from parent attorneys and the latest in Photoshop technology, we’ll give you a sneak peak at the offspring of some of the most sought-after combinations.
    Read more, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What if They Mated: Legal All-Stars Edition”


    ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgLater today, we will open the reader polls in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law. Before we do that, however, we’d like to give our panel of “celebrity judges” the chance to weigh in on the contestants.
    Reader opinions on the competitors have been all over the map, as well as overwhelming in volume, with hundreds of comments posted in total. So hopefully this concise commentary, from experts in legal blogging, will be clarifying.
    To refresh your recollection, the distinguished judges are:
    ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Read the judges’ reviews, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 1)”

  • ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol medium.jpg
    Six lawyers, currently or formerly at large law firms, hoping to make the jump to the writing life (read: working in pajamas). One leading legal tabloid, in need of its next lead editor. A mass of angry anonymous commenters, looking for someone new with whom to have a love-hate relationship.
    “THIS…. is ATL Idol.”
    It’s a reality-show-style competition, in which site readers will pick the new editor in chief of AboveTheLaw.com — the recipient of some 3 million page views a month, described by the Washington Post as “a must-read legal blog.” We believe it to be the first time that a full-time blogging gig — one with a salary you can live on, health insurance, and even a 401(k) — has been awarded through a “reality blogging” contest.
    Back in May, we posted a help wanted ad for a new full-time writer here at Above the Law. Over the weeks that followed, we received a slew of excellent applications. We also located additional prospects through personal networking. All in all, we probably considered almost 100 talented candidates.
    We narrowed the list down to six highly impressive finalists. But we found the prospect of choosing just one of them to be agonizing.
    So we’ve decided to outsource this task to you, the readership of Above the Law. Over the next three weeks, the finalists will blog on ATL, for your consideration. Just as they would on a true reality TV show, the “assignments” will vary from week to week (details about them to follow).
    Each Friday, we will open the polls, allowing you to vote for your favorite — the blogger you’d like to see take the helm at this venerable legal tabloid. At the end of week one, the bottom two out of six finalists — the pair of contestants with the fewest votes — will be eliminated. Next week, the reader vote will take four finalists down to two. In the third and final week, the two finalists will go head to head, in a legal blogging deathmatch. Your votes will determine the winner, Above the Law’s new leader.
    ATL readers are an opinionated bunch, so we expect you to have strong views about the contestants (which you should feel free to share in the comments). But to those of you who need more guidance when voting, fear not. Just like American Idol, ATL Idol will provide you with three “celebrity judges,” to offer their expert opinions of the contestants’ blogging, and to inform and guide the electorate.
    Our judges, who are all leading legal bloggers in their own right, need no introduction. But we’ll introduce them anyway, briefly. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Our impressive panel is well-balanced, featuring representatives from three major groups of legal bloggers: one law professor, one practicing lawyer, and one professional journalist. We’ll leave it to you to decide — perhaps based on how caustic their commentary is — who’s Simon, who’s Randy, and who’s Paula.
    Update: Professor Althouse emphatically rejects any suggestion that she’ll be the Paula Abdul of this contest. This is just as well; when we invited Dahlia Lithwick to serve as a judge, she called “dibs” on Paula.
    Check back later today, when we’ll post brief bios of the six finalists. And check back throughout this week – and, of course, over the next three weeks – to figure out which writers you love, and which you’d leave. The identity of ATL’s next editor rests in your hands.
    We’re expecting this contest to be fun and exciting. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. And once the polls are open, we pass along to you the exhortation of Ryan Seacrest: “America, don’t forget to vote!”
    Update: The bios of the finalists are now posted over here.
    Earlier: Help Wanted: ATL Seeks A New Writer

  • ACS.gifWelcome to the latest post in our recent series on the 2008 National Convention of the American Constitution Society. We attended lots of excellent events as part of the conference. Prior posts appear here and here.
    One of our favorite events was the Saturday lunch panel, “Covering the Court.” It was moderated by Thomas Goldstein, of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog fame, and featured the following distinguished members of the Supreme Court press corps:

  • Robert Barnes, of the Washington Post;
  • Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times;
  • Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate; and
  • Tony Mauro, of the Legal Times.
    For the Court-watchers among you, a detailed write-up is available below the fold.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “At the ACS National Convention: Covering the Court”

  • Benazir Bhutto Pakistan Above the Law blog.jpg* Rest in peace, Benazir Bhutto; God knows you weren’t able to live in it. [CNN]
    * That seems like a pretty good starting point for liability against the zoo. [BBC]
    * We don’t know if you know Tom Goldstein, but he’s a pretty big deal. [SCOTUSBlog]
    * If he could only apply all of that genius to acquiring some money to actually make a mortgage payment… [WSJ Law Blog]

    Nina Totenberg NPR Georgetown Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgTo balance out our recent tales of diva-licious behavior by a celebrated legal journalist, Nina Totenberg of NPR, here’s an opposing viewpoint — a “But see,” if you will — from Thomas Goldstein. Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump, a top Supreme Court advocate, and founder of SCOTUSblog.
    Tom Goldstein also knows Ms. Nina well, since he’s a former intern for her and a longtime friend (see here). He writes:

    I admit to being the world’s biggest Nina partisan, except maybe for my daughter (Nina) and wife and sister (who also were interns). The diva reputation makes for good press but honestly isn’t deserved; the seats in the press gallery are assigned.

    Totes actually spends tons of time worrying about and caring for friends, including several who are recovering from cancer. She’s a sweetheart.

    We thank Tom Goldstein for his thoughts on La Totenberg — but we’re disappointed to hear them! There are precious few divas in this world. When you find a true diva, or even a potential one, you should hold on to her for as long as you can.
    With respect to Goldstein’s comments on the press gallery, that’s true — in part. The situation is actually a bit more complicated. If you’re just DYING to know how seat assignments work for the SCOTUS press corps (and we know you are), we’ll provide a detailed report in a subsequent post.
    Names & Faces: Totenberg’s Courtside Seat [Washington Post]
    Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Nina Totenberg (scroll down)

    Nina Totenberg NPR Georgetown Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOur series of posts on that delicious legal diva, Nina Totenberg of NPR, has made the pages of the Washington Post:

    A blog that labels itself a “legal tabloid” has been soliciting juicy anecdotes about NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg’s on-the-job behavior, but Totenberg says she’s just doing her job.

    In a post on Above the Law authored by the blog’s editor in chief, David Lat, one anecdote describes the correspondent entering the Supreme Court’s press section moments before a morning session begins — and asking someone sitting in the front row to surrender the seat.

    Totenberg gets her way, it says, “because nobody says no to Nina.”

    But not so fast: Totenberg says that since she happens to be the dean of the Supreme Court press corps, she actually has an assigned seat — that nice one, right up front.

    Who knew the Supreme Court press gallery was just like a high school cafeteria? On first Mondays we wear pink!
    Totenberg’s complete comment, and our reaction, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nina Totenberg Wants A Bagel, Lightly Toasted, Lowfat Veggie Cream Cheese on the Side – Stat!”

    In a recent post about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were getting undressed, we ranked on policy debaters.
    Maybe we should take it back. From a highly informative reader email:

    John Hughes John M Hughes debater Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgNot all former policy debaters are creeps. Here’s a list of former policy debaters who are current or future legal rock stars:

    Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Merrick Garland, Larry Tribe, Louis Kaplow, Erwin Chemerinsky, NYU President John Sexton, Jonathan Massey, David Boies, Tom Goldstein, Rebecca Tushnet, Annie Kastanek (OT 2007/Kennedy), and John Hughes (OT 2005/Thomas; pictured at right, captured in mid-debate).

    Former policy debaters, please accept our apologies. We did extemp and L-D debate in high school, and we generally viewed C-X debaters with suspicion. They struck us as kids who talked reallyreallyfast, warning constantly of nuclear war. But maybe we were wrong.
    To paraphrase the “ignorant tipster” from the Oona O’Connell story: “We feel kind of bad that we prejudged them. Sorry to sound like an afterschool special. But you know what? Perhaps we learned a lesson today. Good on you. ‘The more you know.'”
    Earlier: Reading the Bartameter (Part 3): What Is Up With Those Policy Debaters?

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