Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal joined ATL in 2008 by winning the ATL Idol Contest. Prior to joining ATL, Elie wrote about politics and popular culture at City Hall News and the New York Press. Elie received a degree in Government from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was formerly a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton but quit the legal profession to pursue a career as an online provocateur. He's written editorials for the New York Daily News and the New York Times, and he has appeared on both MSNBC and Fox News without having to lie about his politics to either news organization.

Posts by Elie Mystal

You’d think that a lawyer who is allegedly skeevy enough to be banned from representing women by his own state bar would warrant a total disbarment from the legal profession.

But no, that’s not how they roll in Connecticut. In Connecticut, even if there have been enough ethics complaints by your female clients to warrant a suspension, you are still good as long as you are only accused of being unsuitable to represent half of the population…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer Asked To Not Represent Women: Otherwise, No Concerns​”

Well, it’s only taken a week for ExamSoft to go from a random company whose name you couldn’t remember one week after the bar exam to “ExamSoft: Destroyer Of Worlds.” Today we can report that the first lawsuit has been filed against the company. It won’t be the last.

This is going to be a fun ride, and we are only at the beginning. By next week I predict the counter-narrative to get rolling. Maybe a dean will pen a New York Times op-ed about how kids these days, with their computers and text machines and MyBooks, don’t know how to take “personal responsibility.” Somebody will say that it is the test takers’ fault, for buying a program and having the audacity to believe that it would work as intended.

Looking deeper into my crystal taco, as lawsuits proliferate, there will be a circuit split. The Second and the Seventh will affirm decisions against ExamSoft, while the Third and Fifth will reverse. The Third will say that we need to learn a powerful lesson about our over-reliance on technology, while the Fifth will hold that a reasonable person wouldn’t try to write an essay in the clouds: “that’s pure hogwash,” it’ll say.

Eventually this will get to the Supreme Court, which will rule, 5-4, to relieve ExamSoft of liability. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito will argue: “When a person, such as ExamSoft, fails so spectacularly in its duties, the key question is to determine if that person is a man or a woman. If male, the person’s own sense of shame will be punishment enough. But if female, the Court must teach a lasting lesson. Here, we find ExamSoft to be a male person, and therefore must reverse the trial courts. The students should clearly incorporate themselves if they wish to pursue further remedies.” Concurring in part, Scalia will tell us that the bar has become too easy of a test and ExamSoft merely introduced a greater barrier to entry. Breyer’s dissent will be something like: “I was robbed once just like these test takers and, goodness gracious, it was scary.”

Okay, you’re welcome. Now that we all know where this thing is going, we can savor the wonderful journey together. Let’s look at the first lawsuit….

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Chum’s in the water, folks. And here come the sharks.

Since we first learned that ExamSoft ruined the otherwise relaxing experience of taking the bar exam, we’ve anticipated lawsuits. You can’t piss off all the would-be lawyers you can get your hands on and expect to come through un-served. It is known.

One person on Twitter put it this way: “Numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy: Pretty sure all harmed #barexam takers could form a class action against @ExamSoft.”

This law firm is happy to get that ball rolling…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Inevitable Trawling For ExamSoft Class Action Participants Has Begun!”

In some parts of the world, changing water into wine would be considered a gift. Divining alchemy, they would call it. They would lift you on their shoulders and crowd-surf you back into the kitchen… where they would chain you to the sink and put you to work for the rest of the party.

But in Virginia, damn man, in Virginia changing water into wine will get your ass shot. Or it will get you arrested. Or it will get you a $212,500 settlement when the state finally figures out, “Hey, this is just water.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Virginia Apologizes To UVA Student For Confusing Her With Jesus Christ”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been making quite a bit of news this SCOTUS off-season, has issued the final battle cry of every divine-right monarch, abusive spouse, and aging quarterback. In an interview with Reuters, the still-sharp Ginsburg said: “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?”

When reached for comment in the privacy of his own mind, I really hope the President thought: “You must not know ’bout me, You must not know ’bout me. I could have another you in a minute. Matter fact she’ll be here in a minute, baby.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a fantastic justice — is, not “was.” She will likely continue to be a fantastic justice right up until the very moment of her death. We will never see her like again.

But now her watch should end…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ruth Bader Ginsburg And The Myth Of The Indispensable Man”

If corporations really were people, ExamSoft would have to go into hiding right now. Did you see how every New Yorker suddenly had a farm implement or a rifle to deal with Sharknado 2: The Second One last night? That’s what would happen if Mr. ExamSoft was spotted strolling past a group of bar exam takers.

But ExamSoft isn’t a person, it’s a corporation, a corporation that royally screwed up. YOU HAD ONE JOB, ExamSoft, and you didn’t get it done. In America, you are supposed to be able to get your money back when a business screws up this badly. Kids paid between $100 and $150 for software that not only didn’t work but almost ruined their lives. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t going to cut it.

Unfortunately, “I’m sorry” seems to be the only thing ExamSoft is willing to do at the moment…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dear ExamSoft: Please Give Kids Their Money Back Before The Internet Murders You”

It’s been a while since I’ve done a terrible jobs report. With Alex Rich around to offer a more nuanced understanding of the contract attorney ghetto, I’m content to just lock my doors and drive past those emails as quickly as possible.

I would have ignored this terrible job too, but somebody responded to the job opening and wished… very bad things on the potential employer. It’s not every day you see a “take this job and shove it” email from somebody who doesn’t actually have the job…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Man Declines Interest In Terrible Job, Remains Uber”

The bar exam is tomorrow. I always think that the emergency broadcast system should let you know when the bar exam is coming. Just so you, as a person who is not taking the bar, know that you shouldn’t make any sudden movements outside of the Javits Convention center in New York. Or wherever else stressed out lawyers are being herded together in your town. Stay indoors. And for the love of God, don’t slip and fall in public. Bitches be crazy.

If you are actually taking the bar tomorrow, don’t forget to send us your stories about how the bar went for you. It’ll be an excellent one. We’ve had bar exams that included earthquakes, cattle barns, and general disasters. Who knows what awesomeness awaits this year.

But if you really are reading online right just hours before the bar exam, you probably are looking for some advice. And you are probably well past the point where “study tips” will do you any good. Let’s face it, reading Above the Law 18 hours before the bar exam is kind of like telling yourself, “I’m gonna fail, but it’s gonna be okay.”

Since I’m apparently in a tip-giving mood, I’ve put together some advice with those people in mind. These tips won’t help you pass, but you will definitely fail if you do not follow them…

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It turns out that the Office of Career Services at Harvard Law School has been sending out weekly tips to the hordes of HLS summer associates working around the country. Because it’s Harvard, most of the tips are in Latin and can only be read with the special Crimson decoder ring every HLS student gets along with President Obama’s cell phone number and some lembas bread.

Just kidding… lembas bread isn’t real.

The tips themselves aren’t earth-shattering, they’re standard career-services speak that are useful only if you find the maxim “don’t be a f**king tool” lacking in specificity. But the progression of the tips, now that is fantastic. In a way, the tips kind of follow the life cycle of an ivory-tower babe who is thrust into the real world. Let’s take a look at how Harvard wants its students to approach their summers…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “10 Summer Associate Tips From Harvard Law Perfectly Sum Up Harvard Law”

Rachel Canning

Rachel Canning is back in the news. You’ll remember Canning from the landmark recess appointments case, where the Court unanimously held… wait, we’re not talking about important issues of substantive law? That was Noel Canning? Instead we’re talking about the dumb teenager who sued her parents?

Sigh.

Rachel Canning sued her parents, alleging they abandoned her for “not following their rules.” That suit got tossed, because it was dumb. And now Canning is back in court to get a restraining order against her boyfriend. The boyfriend her parents told her to stop hanging out with…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Rachel Canning Should Have Listened To Her Parents”

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