The Life and Career changing decision of Scott Gant publisher of Law Journals.
by Mary Waldron
''The lines between journalists and other people seemed to be blurring considerably, so I took up that question and re-visited my related question of whether journalists should be entitled rights and privileges that other people are not,'' said Scott Gant.
Though he originally planned on a career in medicine, Gant's interests shifted during high school, and he decided that a legal background would better suit him. "I looked around, and many of the people who were doing things that seemed interesting to me were lawyers by training—even if they weren't practicing lawyers," said Gant.
Gant graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with an interdisciplinary major in social studies. With a rich education entrenched in government, history, economics, and philosophy, Gant charged into Harvard Law School, graduating in 1995 cum laude. At Harvard, Gant found a professional mentor, his professor Laurence Tribe, whose accomplishments as both a legal scholar and litigator of constitutional law inspired Gant even before he worked with him in law school.
Immediately after law school, Gant clerked for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. "He was a great mentor and model in many ways," Gant said of Scirica. After a year of clerking, Gant moved on to a Washington, DC, firm for three years until he was invited to join an up-and-coming firm, now called Boies, Schiller & Flexner, also in Washington, DC, of which he is now a partner. These days, he focuses most of his time on complex civil litigation cases.
As a published author of many thought-provoking articles for law journals and publications like The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor, Gant is no stranger to obscure and original constitutional debates and issues.
Six years back, Gant had an idea regarding the question of whether journalists were entitled to rights and privileges that normal citizens (or non-journalists) were not. After putting it on the backburner for awhile, he re-visited this debate when a number of pertinent news stories broke.
Scott Gant's first book We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age was released earlier this year.
Gant began to rethink the role of journalists with the recent Scooter Libby trial; which incarcerated New York Times journalist Judith Miller for 85 days, the BALCO Affair; which created turmoil when San Francisco Chronicle reporters uncovered the story, and the introduction of federal shield law legislation in Congress.
"Who is a journalist?" said Gant. "The lines between journalists and other people seemed to be blurring considerably, so I took up that question and re-visited my related question of whether journalists should be entitled rights and privileges that other people are not. There were aspects of it that had important legal dimensions that were not really being explored by other people."
Though he originally had intended to write on the topic in an article, Gant explored the option of writing a book about it. And according to Gant, "The rest is history, as they say."
Gant took his passion for constitutional law and combined it with his fixation on news and current events to develop We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age. The book explains how journalism has changed over the years and examines how the law understands the nature of press freedom. Gant ties these aspects together and relates them to his main question regarding the privileges of journalists.
"All of us as a society need a vibrant free press, and we depend on the fruits of that, and part of the reason why decisions are made to give certain benefits to journalists is because it promotes a free flow of information and allows us to have information we need as citizens. But when it comes to the government deciding who is and isn't a journalist for purposes of allocating those benefits, it needs to have a broader conception than it does most of the time. Journalism should be viewed more as an activity rather than an affiliation with a news organization," said Gant.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Sleep! I like to read. I enjoy watching the news and sports and spending time with friends and family.
What CD is in your CD player right now?
Some classical music—I couldn't tell you who.
What is your favorite TV show?
The Daily Show.
What is the last magazine you read?
Who is your role model?
A professional role model would be Laurence Tribe.
Still relatively "young" in the law profession (about 12 years out of law school), Gant recalled his experience as a law student and advised his future colleagues to go full-force in law school. "Pour yourself into it so you don't have any regrets because the first year is, unfortunately, disproportionately important," he said. Gant also encouraged law students to consider the array of career options that a legal education can provide. "Most law students don't have any idea the variety of ways one can utilize a law degree," Gant said.