FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
James C. Goodale

James C. Goodale

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Chairman Emeritus
New York, NY, USA


James C. Goodale’s current book Fighting for the Press: the Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles was named as best book for 2013 by Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of The Guardian.  Goodale who led the Pentagon Papers case for the New York Times in 1971,was its vice chairman and general counsel.

He represented the Times in all of its Supreme Court cases including Branzburg v. Hayes in which the Times intervened on behalf of its reporter Earl Caldwell.  The other cases were New York Times v. Sullivan, New York Times Co., v. the United States (the Pentagon Papers case) and Tasini v. New York Times et al.

He has been called the “father of the reporter’s privilege” because of his interpretation of the Branzburg case in the Hastings Law Journal, 1975.  This led to the establishment of a reporter’s privilege to protect sources in most states and federal circuits.

After he left the New York Times in 1980, he joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City.  There he founded a corporate group and a litigation group dealing with media, communications and the First Amendment.  These groups have represented many well-known U.S. communication entities including The New York Times, CBS and NBC.

He served as chairman of the board for the Committee to Protect Journalists from 1989-1994.  During his tenure he built CPJ into a significant international force, instrumental in the release of imprisoned journalists around the globe.

From 1995-2010 he produced and hosted over 300 programs for “Digital Age,” a TV show about the effect of digital technology on media, politics and terrorism.  Guests included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Senator Bob Kerrey, CIA Director James Woolsey, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Tom Brokaw (NBC).

Since 1977 he has taught First Amendment and Communications law at Yale, New York University and Fordham Law Schools and has authored over 200 articles in publications such as the New York Times, the New York Review of Books and the Stanford Law Review.

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