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

Law school can ruin your life if you are not careful. It’s very expensive and the rewards are far from guaranteed. And even if you reap those rewards, you might not like what you’ve become.

But if you do everything wrong, law school becomes just a tragicomic microcosm of poor planning and bad luck.

Forbes has an article up about a woman who is $350,000 in debt and living at the poverty line. Oh, but she has a law degree, and people who haven’t been paying attention are surprised by that…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Every Law School Mistake Ever, From One Lady”

I’m not gonna lie, I think this is the best solo practitioner YouTube ad ever. The other ones, the ones strange or ridiculous enough to make this site or be aired during the Super Bowl, don’t impress me. They’re fun, sure. But they smell of slightly unhinged people desperate to get attention. I wouldn’t hire those people.

I would hire the Law Hawk. The Law Hawk looks hardworking. The Law Hawk looks tenacious. The Law Hawk doesn’t take himself too seriously, he takes your rights too seriously! The Law Hawk is good-looking, and I don’t generally think white people are good looking….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Need A Lawyer? Call The Law Hawk!”

If you think about it, there shouldn’t be any bar exam administrative debacles. Something like ExamSoft should never be allowed to happen. Every state has its own board of law examiners, and these folks simply have to administer and score a test. It’s amazing that every year, at almost every administration of the bar exam, there is some kind of comic failure from those in charge of administering the exam.

Of all the bar exam failures we’ve covered, this one is the most cruel. It’s terrible to tell students that they’ve passed the bar when they actually failed. But telling them the night before the swearing-in ceremony is among the worst things I’ve ever heard….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “And The Award For Worst Board Of Law Examiners Goes To…”


An LGBT group at a top law school is having a “neon party” this weekend. Posters promoting the event featured a scantily clad black woman with a pleasing backside. This poster has caused a kerfuffle… and I bet you can guess the law school.

Now, it doesn’t escape the notice of the black community when white gay men appropriate black female culture (or white women who have appropriated black culture) as “mascots.” But black people are pretty used to white people “stealing” their culture. White culture is like the Borg.

That said, there are real, honest-to-God racial issues in this country that need to be addressed. Gay men twerking is not one of them

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Poster Appropriates Booties, Hurts Feelings”

Derek Jeter is retiring. If you follow sports, you know that one of the most overrated players in history is calling it quits. If you don’t follow sports, you probably also know this.

A few days ago, Jeter hit a foul ball (he has problems hitting balls in play at this point). Blue Jays third baseman Danny Valencia threw the ball to a dad, who gave it to his daughter, who promptly threw the ball back because little kids like to throw things.

UPDATE (9/25/2014, 4:56 p.m.): The embed appears to be broken. We will continue to try and fix it. In the meantime, the video is available here:


More ABC news videos | Latest world news

Turns out, the dad in that video — who ultimately got the ball back — is a Biglaw lawyer! Work/life balance for the win….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Lawyer Is The Dad Behind Jeter Ball Video”

A law dean has resigned amid allegations that he perjured himself in response to a lawsuit. I should care about this. Law school corruption! Perjury! Deans behaving badly!

Meh. We live in a world where deans say shady, misleading, or flat untruthful things all the time. We call it the “business of legal education.” We are used to deans going out there every day and straight hustling prospective law students. And I’m supposed to care that one of them allegedly actually perjured himself? One guy lied when he wasn’t supposed to as opposed to all the others who lie when it’s okay to do so. Big whoop.

Whatever. State school law dean goes down for reasons unrelated to the problems with legal education…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I Wish For A More Expansive Definition Of Law Dean Perjury”

NPR has a breaking scoop. Sources report that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today.

Holder is one of the longest-serving members of Obama’s cabinet. People have called him the most “racially divisive” AG in history. In related news, he’s also African-American, a fact that has really seemed to piss some people off.

It’s been a few weeks without a manufactured “scandal” landing on his desk, so maybe now is a good time to go back to private practice and make millions of dollars?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sources Say Eric Holder Will Step Down”

In the most Canada news ever, a man has brought a class action suit against the Canadian government for its failure to control the moose population in Newfoundland and Labrador. An appeals court dismissed the claim, but personal injury lawyer Ches Crosbie vows to take his campaign all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court: “The case is unprecedented in many ways… It’s rife with live legal issues for a court of appeal.”

The theory of liability here is that the Canadian government introduced moose to Newfoundland island in 1904 as a source of food. Now their population is out of control, and motorists routinely slam into them and are injured by the large herbivores.

Let’s get this out of the way quickly… the solution is NOT to release an “apex predator” to control the moose population. A prime moose can generally not be messed with by any alpha predator. Top predators will eat some moose calves, but when you get out to check the damage the moose did to your car, the sound of timber wolves closing in around you is not something you are going to want to hear.

Oh, and for the Texans in the audience, shooting them hasn’t really been a successful answer either. Sorry Canada, you have a trophic cascade on your hands, and there is little that can be done about it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Moose Law”

Eventually, we will live in a country where we are all victims of bullying. We will all be victims of cyber-bullying or schoolyard bullying or workplace bullying. Then we can all cry about it over a glass of wine and talk about our feelings. And our evolution into France will be complete.

We’re not there yet, but a new study seems like an important data point on our slow decline into perpetual butthurt. Business Insider reports on a Career Builder survey where people in management were more likely to say that they had been bullied at work (27%) than people in entry-level jobs (26%).

Now sure, some of that is just probably due to career length. On your way up to the top (or to the middle, as it were), you probably have had more opportunities to be bullied than a new worker. But, you know, there was a time in this country when the boss wouldn’t bitch and moan about how mean other people have been to him.

That time is evidently over. My God people, you should just check out what some of these people even count as bullying…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stop Bullying The Partners You Work For”

Many people who go to Harvard Law School are going to end up in a Biglaw job at some point. The debt is too high, the money is too good, and the path into Biglaw is too easy for most HLS grads to resist, at least for a time.

Everybody has their price, and everybody deals with the reality of selling out for their price in their own way. Most people promise themselves that it’s “only temporary,” as if there is going to be some magical point in their future where making as much money as possible will not be that important. Others drown the better angels of their nature in substances or consumerism. Some people actually love their Biglaw jobs, God bless ‘em. They work hard and are fairly compensated for their efforts.

But then there are the people who rationalize their choices as somehow contributing to the the greater social good. These are the people who tout their pro bono work, as if spending five hours looking at contracts for Habitat for Humanity negates the 70 hours they spent helping real estate moguls build luxury condos. These people aren’t concerned with “doing good” as much as they’re concerned with being judged by do-gooders. You’d think that they could use some of that money and stick it in their ears and say, “La la la, I can’t hear you over the drone of my eight-cylinder HEMI iSprocketdoodle, which you can’t even afford to Google.”

When backed into a moral corner, some people admit defeat and buy an expensive wine, other people fight back with ridiculously self-serving logic. And Harvard Law School excels at self-serving logic…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Harvard Law Students Tell Themselves When The Demons Come”

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