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

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”

Elie here. Everybody wants a deal. Everybody wants to “beat the market,” and the internet makes us think that we can. If a baby with an e-Trade app can make money, why can’t you? Buy low, sell high: I’m sure I read that on a bumper sticker somewhere, or maybe in the New Yorker.

Increasingly, the internet thinks it’s identified just the right undervalued asset to snap up at a discount: legal education. The decline in law school applications has been sharp and truly shocking to some. It doesn’t make sense that a law degree would suddenly be much less valuable now than it was 5 or 10 or 20 years ago. The value should rebound. The world still needs lawyers. And if you haven’t noticed, or just disregarded, long-term structural changes in the market for legal services, the fact that every law dean will tell you that the market rebound is right around the corner gives you more confidence in your logical assessment. It’s not like every law dean in the country would lie about the value of their product, right?

We can and will continue to debate the likely future value of a legal education. But can we dispense with the notion that purchasing full-price legal education right now involves “buying low”? You are not buying low, you are buying at historically unprecedented heights. Nobody would put “Buy high, hope to sell at fair market price in three years” on a bumper sticker.

And nobody should be putting that on the internet either….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Is Not A Stock: It’s A Very Expensive Lotto Ticket”

Last year at about this time, Justice Samuel Alito authored one of the most sneaky anti-woman decisions in recent memory. In Vance v. Ball State University, Justice Alito made it much more difficult for women to sue their employers for workplace harassment. At the time, I said it’s the kind of decision Chris Brown would be proud of, but on reflection, that may have been unfair to Chris Brown.

Today, Alito once again puts in the heavy lifting to make the world worse for working women. Apparently, in Alito’s world, it’s not only okay for employers to try to have sex with their female employees, they also get to regulate what medications they take…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hobby Lobby And The True Gangsta Life Of Justice Alito”

It’s impolite to criticize how other people spend their money. Some people value guns, other people want butter, and of course, there are always people willing to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to pursue a useless education.

Debt financing your dreams is always a risky proposition, but it’s socially acceptable to do that if your dream is to be a doctor or a lawyer or a homeowner.

But what if you dream is to be a model? Is it appropriate and socially acceptable to debt finance aesthetic improvements in your body that you believe will take you to the next level modeling greatness?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Student Loans Lead To A Job — A Boob Job​”

Not our belt, but an idea of what we’re thinking.

Whatever, we’re changing the rules for our trivia event on July 10th at Connolly’s. It turns out that some people have asked their firms to pay for trivia under their summer associate budget, while other people are afraid to. Still other people want to do trivia without summer associates around, and then there are the summers who want to come but don’t know a full time associate to take them.

So here’s what we are doing. If your firm is reimbursing the cost of your tickets, you team is competing for the belt. The belt is freaking expensive. And it needs to go to a “firm” so we can hand it out again next year. If you still want to sign up and get reimbursed to represent your firm, here’s the registration for that.

However, if you don’t want to represent your firm, if you just want to come, play trivia, and enjoy our open bar, you shouldn’t have to pay for that. So you can now sign up for free and we will put you on a welfare unaffiliated team. No belt for you, but good times.

July 10th. See you then.

Above the Law editors are just like you. We wake up in the morning and log into SCOTUSblog and start a group Gchat about important Supreme Court cases just like everybody else.

We figure that the world doesn’t need another “analysis” of today’s Noel Canning decision in the recess appointments case. There will be approximately five million of those coming to an internet near you.

Instead, take a look at our real-time reactions as the decision went live. If you think we sound kind of dumb on the site, wait until you see how we actually think in real time….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ATL Editors’ Breaking Gchat About Noel Canning”

I get it, Bachelorette fans, you really think that ABC and the other broadcast networks are “free” and that you should be able to watch them without paying for them. You’ve been told, all your life, that they’re on the “public” airwaves, and that means everybody should be able to watch them without paying the cable company its monthly vig. You hate today’s Aereo decision, because once again the most pro-business Supreme Court ever backed “the evil cable companies” over consumers who want to “cut the cord.” Check out Brian Barrett’s excellent piece on how the Court killed technology and freedom itself this morning.

And when you are done crying, please, grow up. You can’t steal television. Aereo was stealing television. Aereo was stealing television and selling it back to you at a cheap price… which is what fences do when they sell you something they’ve stolen….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Aereo And The Myth Of Public Broadcasting​”

Usually, the pursuit of “work/life balance” is just a fight between management and labor. Occasionally, it’s an internal conversation where an employee’s desire to succeed professionally is pitted against his or her desire to succeed domestically. Of course, there are always the people who believe they can “have it all,” as if work/life balance can be reduced to checking a number of accomplishment boxes in the most brutally efficient way possible.

But occasionally, work/life balance becomes a battle ground for people to justify a number of “life” choices that have nothing to do with work.

That’s what we have here today. A memo went around one of the top firms in Manhattan from a woman claiming she needed an “I’m having a baby day” so she could go to a Katy Perry concert. Before I post it and open up the comments, I’m going to make some popcorn — that’ll give everybody some time to ramp up their outrage meters to 11…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Work/Life Balance, Biglaw Women, And Katy Perry”

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