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

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

Here is an email I have theoretically received while moving and not checking my email: “Hello Walrus, I really want to bring some summers to your summer associate trivia thing. I know you say that I can be reimbursed by my firm, but I don’t want to be the first person to go to the recruiting person to ask.”

Fine. We’ve asked for you. Above the Law is hosting a trivia event on July 10th at Connolly’s in New York City. Associates can bring a teams of up to five summers with them to represent their firm. The winning team will get a championship belt to take back to their firm. Drinks and food will be provided. It will be fun.

And since you don’t want to ask, we have. We’ve emailed 75 firms around New York City, they know what we’re doing and they’re expecting your call. In addition, teams representing the following firms have already signed up: Curtis Mallet, Frommer Lawrence, Gibson Dunn, Vedder Price, Herbert Smith, Fish & Richardson.

We expect to see you guys there. We expect enough of you to come to justify buying this preposterous belt.

This will probably end badly.

I don’t know what kind of “logic” makes prospective law students think that they’ll all end up in the top five percent of their classes. But I’m pretty sure the same kind of fallacy arises when a male law school graduate thinks that two women want to take him home from a bar and make love to him at the same time.

Maybe it’s not a logical fault. Maybe it’s the old Achilles heel for lawyers; they’re bad at math. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it probable. What’s probable is that the two women intend to rob you (you know, just like most law schools)…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dear Lawyers: If Two Women Want You In Their Threesome, They’re About To Rob You”

This is a real drink in a real glass with enough ice that it'll be appropriately watered down for networking.

Ed. note: This post was originally published on February 7, 2012. We republish it today as a public service to the law students embarking on their summer associate adventure, where social event drinking and small talk are the name of the game. Good luck!

There’s a list that’s been going around the past two days that purports to be A Drink-by-Drink Guide for networking events.

Don’t get your hopes up. It’s not really drinking advice for legal networking events. It’s regular advice for legal networking events that happens to use the word “drink” — instead of “level” or “number” — to demarcate the five tips in the article.

It’s fine advice, especially if you are so awkward socially that you can cool off a hot craps table simply with your inability to execute a high-five.

However, as a functioning alcoholic (emphasis on FUNction), I’ve got some real advice on how alcohol can help get you through these painful and boring networking events without being so terrified of not getting a job that your scent of desperation makes everybody want to stand three feet away from you.

Here’s how to look cool and confident while knocking back a few without getting so sloshed you end up on Above the Law in the morning….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Alcohol Can Help You Network”

One thing I’ve learned as I get older is that most people are incapable of learning from other people’s mistakes. It’s just not something humans are good at, I guess. If you see somebody jump off his roof and impale himself on a fence post, the human reaction seems to be “Wow, what a stupid place to put a fence post,” not, “I’M NEVER GOING TO JUMP OFF A ROOF.”

Everybody thinks that they can do it better. That impulse probably helped us go from stone tools to weapons of mass destruction, but it’s also what helps unaccredited law schools stay in business. Whatever, it all ends in radiation poisoning.

Which brings me to the story of a former student loan debt collector who heard countless stories from people drowning in debt with degrees that turned out to be useless. Armed with that information, she turned around and took out $40K to go to an unaccredited, online law school in California. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Student Debt Collector Takes Out Loan For Unaccredited Law School”

Today’s depressing internet news for black people is that they’re not going to make partner at a large law firm in a major city. Well, black people probably already know that, but a new study making the rounds today emphasizes that point for those who haven’t been paying attention.

African-Americans make up only 1.9% of the partners at the nation’s top 100 law firms, according to American Lawyer. That number has barely changed in five years. If you are an African-American woman, you should probably not even bother. Only one of every 170 top law firm partners is a black female.

In general, the legal profession is a bad place for black people. Only 4.2% of American attorneys are black, compared with 7.1% of doctors and 8.5% of financial managers. So if you are a rich person, you are basically more likely to have a black person fix your heart so you can live long enough to spend all the money he’s made for you then you are to have him write your will.

Why is this? We can’t know for sure, but in law, advancing in your career has more to do with what white people think of you than anything else…

Continue Reading at Above the Law Redline…

A new law school is finishing up its first year of operations. Unfortunately, there are 28 souls out there who don’t read Above the Law and ended up attending this new, unaccredited educational enterprise.

Of course, the new school had hoped to fleece educate 100 new students, not less than 30. The market might be a little more knowledgeable than the dean believed. In any event, the new dean of the new law school is stepping down. He’s not even staying on as a professor; he’s leaving to pursue “other employment opportunities.”

That makes sense. Being a dean of a new law school doesn’t look as bad on your résumé as being a graduate of a new law school….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Closing The Loop On Silly New Law School”

The only thing more obsolete than this building is what is inside it.

Some students at the University of Chicago Law School are up in arms because the school’s law review rejected a diversity proposal recommended by the school’s faculty. This rejection leaves Chicago’s law review as the only one at a top law school without any diversity component for choosing student staffers.

UPDATE (8:00 p.m.): A Chicago tipster clarifies: “While the faculty supported the Chicago Law Review diversity proposal, it was written and proposed by law review leadership,” which advocated for it strongly.

This is the point in the post where everybody, including my colleagues, expects me to scream RACEISM™ and jump up and down on the generally right-leaning law school. But honestly, I just don’t care. I just don’t give a damn if a law school is choosing spots on its law review fairly, unfairly, with racial animus, or based on cup size. NOBODY READS THEM. More people will read this post about the Chicago Law Review than will actually read the law review.

And really, if we’re going to pretend that getting on to law review is some important measure of student success or achievement, then maybe Chicago Law needs to do a better job of educating minority and female students at the school so that they might achieve at the same level of success as the white males who “win” this generally irrelevant prize….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Campus Strife Over Law Review Diversity”

As we previously mentioned, LSAC and the Department of Justice have entered into a consent decree over LSAC’s alleged discrimination against disabled people. LSAC agreed to pay $7.73 million to settle the claims against it, and to make policy changes. Most notably, LSAC will no longer denote when a person has received extra time on the LSAT.

That is great news for disabled people who want to be treated with fundamental fairness when taking this important test and applying for law school. It’s also great news for anybody who can fake their way through an ADHD exam and wants a little more time than everybody else…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The LSAT Can’t Discriminate Against The Disabled: So, Time For Everybody To Get ADD”

As we’ve discussed before, law schools have handled the declining interest in law school in a couple of ways. One method is to just admit fewer people. Another response involves lowering entrance standards so you can admit the same (or even greater) number of students as you did when times are good.

Both strategies are temporary solutions to a long-term problem, but the latter method is particularly short-sighted. Turning your law school into a place that admits everybody who can scrawl their mark on a FAFSA form is not a sustainable answer to the crisis in legal education.

It would appear that one law school searching for a new dean is trying to grapple with that problem….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Short-Sighted Law School Seeks Long-Term Vision”

Either you are the type of person who looks at young people in love and thinks “aww… cute,” or you are the type of person who wants to punch those young people in the face.

I’m the latter. One time I was momentarily blocked from exiting the 6 train by two people sharing one set of headphones as they made googly-eyes to each other. The damn cord was right across the exit as the doors opened. I waited a beat, walked right through the cord, ripping the earbuds out of their ears and causing the iPod to fall. The guy didn’t even curse me out, he just rushed over to his girlfriend to make sure she was alright, as if the earbud could have caused permanent damage to her cochlea on the way out. JESUS, I HATED THOSE PEOPLE.

Anyway, if you are the former type of person, you should probably stop reading now. I’m going to smash some earbuds….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Annoying Lovesick Humblebrag From Law Student”

Page 4 of 207812345678...2078