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

* New Yorkers, having been put to shame by the people in Ferguson, Missouri, marched in protest of the police killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island. [Wall Street Journal]

* Suge Knight was shot the morning before the MTV Video Music Awards. Okay, here’s a version of that sentence that will blow your mind: Suge Knight was shot the morning before the VMA’s, again. [New York Times]

* Don’t worry, outside counsel for American banks. Even after the Bank of America settlement, there will still be plenty of work defending these clients against world governments. [Am Law Daily]

* Burger King + Tim Hortons = Donut Whopper + Low Taxes. [CNN Money]

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants his indictment tossed because he claims the Massachusetts jury selection process was flawed. Let’s file away the public reaction to this so we can compare later. [National Law Journal]

* More like Iceland’s Super LOLcano. Zing! Can I go back to bed now? [Associated Press]

Statistically speaking, people who are currently in law school scored more poorly on the LSAT than the classes that came before. That doesn’t mean they are dumber — and I doubt any law school professor has the stones to do a study on whether or not the students are dumber now than they were before the recession. But it might mean that the current crop of law students were less prepared to enter law school than earlier classes.

We’ve documented the “brain drain” from the law school applicant pool. In 2012, by which point the idiocy of going to law school was plain to see by any who were watching, the number of students applying to law school with an LSAT score over 170 was down over 20%. Meanwhile, the number of applicants with LSAT scores in the 140- 144 range was only down 6.2%. High scorers were taking a pass while low scorers were saying “wow, I wonder who left this fruit here hanging so low to the ground.”

But now, it appears that trend is reversing. That’s probably bad news for the worst law schools…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brain Rebound? Are High LSAT Scorers Coming Back To Law School?”

Are you sure that you know the difference between a prostitute and a stripper? Trust me, I thought I did too. A prostitute leaves after you have sex. A stripper makes you leave before you have sex. The distinction is entirely fourth dimensional.

But the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of a prostitute is incredibly… loose. They define it as “A woman who indiscriminately consorts with men for hire. Carpenter v. People, 8 Barb. (N. Y.) 611; State v. Stoyell, 54 Me. 24, 89 Am. Dec. 716.”

First of all, that’s sexist. Men can be prostitutes too… what, you think there is something Nic Cage would not do for money? More importantly, people indiscriminately consorting for hire describes pretty much every lawyer in America.

Upon reflection, maybe Black’s Law is spot on there. But the confusion actually makes me a little more sympathetic to this area man who called 9-1-1 on a stripper who didn’t have sex with him…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wherein We Explore The Legal Difference Between A Stripper And A Prostitute”

Have you ever received a bad review? Like a really, borderline mean, “oh s**t I’m gonna get fired” review? I hadn’t until I started working here. And now my bad reviews are all over the internet. That was disconcerting for a day or two. But then I learned that rum never turns around and attempts to evaluate your performance.

Of course, my reviews don’t come from the people I work for. Lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you over the sound of all of these clicks. And I’m not running for office. If I was applying for elected office, and the negative reviews of my former employers were posted on the internet, I’d be… well, I’d be this guy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “State Attorney General Candidate Described As ‘Train Wreck’ By His Former Law Firm Evaluators”

Facts enjoy mythical stature in our society. In a diverse community with many competing and often conflicting views, facts ring out with a promise of objective clarity. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts. I’m sure you’ve said that/had that said to you.

Facts are bullshit. A skilled lawyer can turn a competent eyewitness into a blathering idiot. A skilled rhetorician can make facts dance on strings for the amusement of the masses. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Fact.

Truly objective facts are few and far between. Evolution is what happened. Annie is not okay. Light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second. Much beyond that, who can say? People like to say, “Let’s wait for all the facts to come out.” What they are really saying is, “Let’s wait for additional information that I can fit into my preconceived world view.” There have been studies about this. If a “fact” doesn’t fit into a person’s standing world view, that fact is likely to be ignored and have no impact on the person’s judgment.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video of Kajieme Powell getting shot to death in St. Louis. You’ll remember Powell as the alleged “knife wielding” crazy man who seemed to be trying to commit suicide by cop when St. Louis PD eagerly obliged. Tell me what you see…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “​The Road To Injustice Is Paved With Facts, Evidence, And Witnesses”

Now that I’m a father, I have a whole new suite of fears that keep me up at night. Obviously, cops are an even bigger problem now. I’m worried that one day I’ll have to Walter White my son’s druggie girlfriend (which I would do). But one of my chiefest concerns is that one day, my son will strike out three times en route to his team losing 10 – 0 in the big game, yet afterwards some do-gooding hippie prick will hand him a trophy. A participation trophy. And we’ll be sitting there at the Friendly’s with his little trophy-for-failing, and I’ll have to explain to him why he doesn’t deserve that and needs to throw it in the trash. And I’LL look like the asshole.

But it will have to be done. Participation trophies ruin lives. They create a false sense of accomplishment that tells kids to be proud of mediocrity at the very time they should be learning important lessons about dealing with failure and overcoming setbacks. It’s not that there’s no value in losing, it’s that such value has to come from inside as opposed to an external reward. ROCKY DIDN’T NEED A PARTICIPATION TROPHY FOR GOING THE DISTANCE.

There’s a new study out today on American attitudes about participation trophies. If you look at the demographic breakdown, you’ll see similarities between the people who are in favor of participation trophies and the people who end up at the nation’s worst law schools. That makes a certain kind of sense. Isn’t a school like Cooley really just offering figurative participation trophies for those who lost on the LSAT?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did Your Participation Trophy Ruin Your Life?”

Listen closely. Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of gun rights advocates emitting a yawning silence over the death of Michael Brown. An unarmed teen was shot dead in the street, sparking a national controversy. In any other situation like that, the Second Amendment nuts would be telling us that perhaps the victim could have “defended himself” if he had a gun.

In other news, citizens’ constitutional rights are being abridged by state actors. The Second Amendment is there, at least in part, so that ordinary citizens may defend themselves should the state unlawfully abridge constitutional rights… so the story goes. If the Feds were trying to bring medicine into an episode of Doomsday Preppers, gun nuts would be talking about their rights to a well armed militia. In Ferguson, the government is arresting journalists, and not a peep for those who think the Second Amendment is necessary to give citizens the ability to defend their constitutional rights. The Daily Beast called out the NRA today. This is the kind of situation the NRA usually politicizes to full effect….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Where You At, You Hypocritical Second Amendment Advocates?”

[I]f you’re in law school because you didn’t know what else to do after your BA, because you hate Math (and erroneously think Law doesn’t requite Math skills) and the sight of blood, therefore couldn’t be a physician, and have no goal other than to make a lot of money, and if you dislike work but have always relied on your IQ and adrenaline to ace all your courses, well, you chose the wrong generation to go to law school. Get thee out now whilest a partial refund of tuition is still available.

– Professor Michael Krauss of George Mason University School of Law, in an essay written on Forbes, where he tries to save one lamb.

A well executed survey can expose the deep hypocrisy of a group’s world view, especially when that group is law students. My all-time favorite example of this was the Kaplan survey that illustrated how law students thought that their classmates were making a horrible decision to go to law school, while they themselves were making a very wise choice.

That survey looked at people’s views on the way in. Today we’ve got a survey that looks at what people think about their law school experience on the way out. In general, they really liked their law school experience… except for when it came time to get a job…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Grads Feel ‘Practice Ready,’ Employers Seem To Disagree”

If you are a connoisseur of social media, you’ve seen thousands of links and updates about the situation in Ferguson. You’ve seen a number of reports about the crisis in Gaza. You’ve been kept abreast about our military operations in Iraq. It’s been a busy August for news.

Of course, you’ve ignored most of those links and instead been on a targeted hunt for Ice Bucket Challenge vines. If you are over 40, let me explain: instead of giving money to support research on Lou Gehrig’s Disease, people are dumping buckets of ice water on themselves. Actually, most people are giving $100 to ALS research AND dumping buckets of ice water on themselves. Awareness! It’s working, so read this before you judge.

The… whatever this is has made its way to law school campuses thanks the UVA Law School Office of Career Services. As our tipster put it, there is video of UVA Law CSO “getting ice buckets dumped on them by a row of bros.” Does that sound like something you would like to see?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Career Services Ice Bucket Challenge Is On”

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