Alumni Spotlight


Although unique educational moments are no rarity at WCL, students in Professor Steve Wermeil's Supreme Court Seminar were recently the beneficiaries of one such experience made most fortuitous by Class of 1995 graduate Tom Goldstein. As part of the course curriculum, Wermeil arranged for Goldstein to do a moot court in front of the students for a case he was preparing to argue in front of the Supreme Court.

Goldstein argues cases before the Court on a regular basis as part of his job as founding partner at Goldstein & Howe, the husband-and-wife boutique litigation firm in D.C. that has staked out an extremely narrow niche for practice: the Supreme Court. This enterprising focus has buoyed the seven year-old firm from neophyte to distinguished participator. "We are a thousand times more effective when we say we are the only law firm that focuses principally on the Supreme Court," Goldstein told Small Firm Business. "Once you've defined yourself as the only does something, then you've automatically defined yourself as the people who know the most about it."

The critics seem to agree – Goldstein has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the nation's leading attorneys under the age of 40, one of the top 45 attorneys under 45 by American Lawyer, and one of the leading appellate lawyers in Washington, D.C. by Legal Times. Additionally, Washingtonian named him among the six attorneys to watch in the 21st century.

His experience before the Court is already vast; he sat second chair to David Boies in Bush v. Gore, and later served the same in New York Times v. Tasini. Using pro bono work to keep his firm regularly on the Court's docket, he was able to gain the know-how, notoriety, and experience that propelled him not only as a professional but also as a pedagogue. While Goldstein teaches at both the Stanford and Harvard law schools, he remains actively involved in his alma mater here at WCL.

In addition to being a member of the Dean's Advisory Council, 1995 Reunion Committee, and consistently a part of the Myer's Society, he contributes regularly to the Equal Justice Foundation Auction, is a frequent guest speaker for classes on campus, and, at least once a year, does a moot court with Wermeil. It was in this Fall's moot court that the classroom magic happened. When Goldstein came to the law school, he was preparing for Georgia v. Randolph, a still undecided Fourth Amended case dealing with valid consent. Wermeil had already arranged for his Marshall-Brennan high school students to go to the Court on the day of the argument, and after Goldstein's lecture, he was able to make room for nine additional students from his WCL seminar. At the end of the day, Goldstein held a question and answer period for the law students and other lawyers addressing the case and his argument.

"It was a wonderful 'hat trick' for the students of the Supreme Court to see the moot, see the actual argument, and then hear Tom reflect on the experience," Wermeil said. Goldstein's high-profile acceleration through the ranks of Supreme Court litigation have made him as asset to not only the classroom, but also to any law firm seeking to strengthen it's role in front of the nation's highest court. Although he was sought by many, Goldstein recently accepted partnership at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He will begin in May.