The Talent

June 1, 2009 11:39 AM

SCOTUSblog Raises Blogger's--And Akin Gump's--Profile

Posted by Ross Todd

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz dedicates the top of his "Media Notes" column today to SCOTUSblog founder and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Thomas Goldstein. Goldstein (one of The American Lawyer's "45 Under 45" in the January 2003 issue) has cemented his place among SCOTUS talking heads in the wake of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court--essentially his Final Four, World Series, and Superbowl all squashed into one.

The bulk of the coverage started early last week on Tuesday, hours before the official nomination, with Goldstein detailing the four likely lines of attack against Sotomayor, how they'll play out, and his anaylsis of those points. Since that post, SCOTUSblog's contributors have prolifically covered every aspect of the nominee and her work to date, and the process as it will play out in the weeks and months ahead. By midday Thursday, Goldstein declared, "Basically before it ever started, the fight over the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is done. She is going to be confirmed by a relatively wide margin and without a substantial, mainstream assault on her credentials or suitability for the bench."

The coverage brought a huge spike in traffic to the blog, and garnered several links and mentions in other media outlets. According to Kurtz's column, Scotusblog recorded 115,000 hits on the day of Sotomayor's nomination, more than four times the site's usual traffic.

Kurtz presents a nice summary of the inner workings of the nine-person blog staff. Goldstein chips in $100,000 out-of-pocket to help keep the site running. The  staff, which includes longtime Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston, is independent. "Tom leaves me alone in all respects. I have no assignments, no deadlines, no second-guessing," Denniston told Kurtz. (Sounds like a nice gig. Sign The Am Law Daily up!)  Goldstein describes the arrangement like this: "Lyle could write that our clients are completely insane and evil and there'd be nothing to stop him." 

So what does all this attention on Goldstein and the blog mean for Akin Gump?

Firm chairman Bruce McLean says the blog is "enormously helpful." Lawyers and potential clients see Scotusblog and Goldstein's media presence  as "directly connected to the prestige of the firm."

On that note, The Am Law Daily would like to point you to our colleagues who cover the Supreme Court for the National Law Journal/Legal Times: Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro. Coyle has this curtain-raiser on the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for Sotomayor in today's NLJ. Mauro offered this take on the nomination via video on the Blog of the Legal Times last week. Follow their reports at

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