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

What do you do with the dean of an unranked, fourth-tier law school, who gets made fun of in national newspapers for his enormous salary, tries to fire 35 to 40 percent of his faculty, and even makes taking a 25 percent pay cut look disingenuous and self-serving?

Well, if you are the American Bar Association, you give him an award. And not a sarcastic one like the one I suggested in the headline. I should give New England Law | Boston law dean John F. O’Brien an award for “Most Effective Troll Of His Own Students.” But the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is giving him a real award: the 2014 Robert J. Kutak Award. The award is given annually “to an individual who has contributed significantly toward increased cooperation among legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.”

You know you are dealing with a cartel when it is so tone deaf that it starts giving awards to the members who seem to do the best job of exploiting non-members. Didn’t anybody tell them that handing out a “Pimp of the Year” award is supposed to be a joke?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ABA To Honor Law Dean Who Has Done The Most To Embarrass Legal Education”

The world of specialty license plates is a complicated intersection of private douchebaggery and governmental robbery. Why do we even have to pay for a license and registration? The government shouldn’t be jacking people with a hidden tax — a hidden regressive tax that hits poor people harder than the rich — for the “privilege” of complying with the government’s own requirements.

Meanwhile, if the car is an outward, rolling expression of your inner self, then the vanity license plate is the part of yourself that is an ass. The level of narcissism it takes to tell people stuck behind you on the Major Deegan that you “LVB00B$” is astounding.

The government should either get out of the charge-for-plates business, OR they should give everybody the same freedom you get when you sign up for Gmail. If Nigerian princes can find me over email easily enough, then surely the state trooper can run “em1@NYS” when he pulls me over.

Otherwise, we end up with Texas…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Confederate License Plates Should Ruin License Plates For Everybody”

This isn’t just another departure memo. This is a guide, an illustrated guide to exactly how a person can go from “I make $160,000 or more a year doing something I spent three years training to do” to “screw it, I’m outta here.”

This lawyer/artist went to a top-six law school, she worked at a top Biglaw firm, and now she’s leaving to pursue her considerable artistic talent. You can check out her departure memo below. Everybody who has thought about quitting or actually quit Biglaw will have a panel that speaks to them. My favorite is when her parents tell her, “You could do Art Law!” Because when you are quitting, calls with mommy and daddy are awesome.

Congratulations to this woman. It gets better, folks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Illustrated Departure Memo Of The Day”

There’s an outside chance that more people will read this post about the declining number of people taking the June LSAT than will actually sit for the June LSAT.

It’s trite and banal to say that “the media” or “the internet” is responsible for the declining number of people interested in law school. Law school deans want you to think that they are in some kind of losing battle with media sources. And sure, the fact that the “law school brochure” no longer stands unchallenged by “reputable media sources” has something to do with the fact that June LSAT takers are at a 14-year low. The truth is out there, and the ability of prospective law students — and their parents — to just Google “Suffolk Law School” lessens the effectiveness of your average subway advertisement.

But the internet isn’t responsible for people staying away from law schools. Law schools themselves are encouraging people to stay away in droves. They put up flashing “Don’t Come In Here” signs every time they unleash another disaffected class of graduates out onto the market…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Is To Blame For Declining LSAT Applications?”

Nobody goes to the opinion pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal expecting intelligent commentary on the state of race in America, but a recent piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz contained one of the more racially offensive statements you’re likely to see outside of World Cup coverage.

She wrote that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had become “the most racially polarizing attorney general in the nation’s history.” Well EXCUSE HIM FOR BEING BLACK…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Eric Holder Knocked For Attorney Generaling While Black”

Here is Virginia’s prostitution statute:

§ 18.2-346. Prostitution; commercial sexual conduct; commercial exploitation of a minor; penalties.

A. Any person who, for money or its equivalent, (i) commits adultery, fornication, or any act in violation of § 18.2-361, performs cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus upon or by another person, or engages in anal intercourse or (ii) offers to commit adultery, fornication, or any act in violation of § 18.2-361, perform cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus upon or by another person, or engage in anal intercourse and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof is guilty of prostitution, which is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If you think that fully covers all reasonable definitions of “prostitution,” well then you probably have an uncreative mind and a boring sex life. Look, the law gets even more vague further down:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Dominatrix Needs A Lawyer. Any Volunteers?”

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
– Frederick Douglass

Washington & Lee has displayed Confederate flags in the chapel dedicated to Robert E. Lee since the 1930s… and now they won’t. All because 14 black Washington & Lee law students demanded that the university stop. Those students risked the consequence of potential employers who could and probably still will label them as agitators. They risked disapprobation from those in the dominant culture who still expect black people to “just get over” slavery, racial oppression, and continued racism. They risked time, energy, and stress that could have been devoted to finals or networking or just finding a good microbrew.

They demanded. And now Washington & Lee president Kenneth P. Ruscio has agreed to remove the controversial symbols from a place where students are forced to gather. The struggle continues

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Washington & Lee Surrenders On Confederate Flag Issue”

There are many ways to lose all of your money in Atlantic City: at a casino, on the boardwalk, back home at the pharmacy buying expensive herpes medication. But a New Jersey judge invented a whole new way to come out behind: winning at mini-baccarat.

In 2012, 14 mini-baccarat players won $1.5 million between them thanks to comical errors at the Golden Nugget. Apparently, the Golden Nugget uses pre-shuffled decks for its mini-baccarat games, and apparently the Golden Nugget employs dealers who are wholly incapable of noticing a deck that was not shuffled. But the players did. They bet accordingly and took the casino to the cleaners.

Or so they thought. While some players were able to cash out about $900,000 in winnings, the casino detained and refused to pay out another $600,000 in chips. The casino was operating under the longstanding house rule of: “Wait, the house can’t lose that much, go f**k yourselves.”…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Even When You Win At Gambling, You Still Lose”

ATL Director of Research Brian Dalton and the trivia belt in the cave where we keep him.

The tab is pre-paid. Kaplan is bringing iPads for the winners. And the championship belt is here.

This Thursday at Connolly’s in New York City (121 West 45th Street), Above the Law will crown the best Biglaw trivia team, and they will receive a festive belt. Kaplan will gift an iPad to the best team not hooked up with a firm. Drinking and merriment will be had by all (mostly Joe). Garments will be rendered (mostly mine). Socrates himself will illustrate his famous methods (mostly a lie).

So, if you’ve answered “yes” to question 1, come on down and meet us. Especially if you are studying for the bar; it’ll do you good to be out around friends when your total stress-induced meltdown happens.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

How did you spend your long weekend? I spent mine in the seventh ring of suburban hell: the big box stores. Summer associates probably spent theirs saying things like, “Look at all the money I have to spend on my long weekend; Biglaw jobs are GREAT!” Recent grads spent it in a fetal position: “The bar is coming. THEBARISCOMING. Gurgle gak Commercial Paper.”

Down in Texas, a more traditional star-spangled bacchanalia was momentarily interrupted by coup d’etat. Though, in fairness, overthrowing corrupt powers seems like the most traditional way to celebrate Independence Day…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fourth Of July Power Grab: Law School Admissions Scandal Could Trigger President’s Ouster”

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