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

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 to 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”

I would like to throw a brick at a cop in Ferguson. Any cop. All the cops. As a black male, I would like to fight back, violently, against the forces that have hunted me all my life, and will hunt my son all his life.

I’m not going to, but that is because history is not on my side. I no longer give a damn about the moral virtues of non-violence, but recorded history tells us that an oppressed minority population cannot succeed through violence. I don’t have a magic staff that can bring locusts and selectively drain or flood rivers, and without such a weapon, being peaceful out there is the only effective and reasonable option. I have just enough education to understand that, and just enough restraint to practice it. I believe in non-violence because it’s the only thing that works.

Thomas Jefferson has a famous quote about slavery. He was talking about the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state (a fact way more relevant to the current situation than Mike Brown’s alleged shoplifting). On the slavery question, Jefferson offered: “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.” Everybody remembers that part, but here’s the next line: “Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” Jefferson is talking about justice for the slave, and self-preservation for America.

What America has done since 1820 is to gain self-preservation for itself without granting justice to those it oppressed. It’s been a neat trick. Go ahead, name any “justice” statistic: incarceration rates, conviction rates, homicides, homicides by cop, death penalty rates, drug prosecutions, forced plea bargains, diversity in the police force, diversity on the bench, name ANY JUSTICE STAT YOU CARE ABOUT. You have just named a statistic that illustrates how African-Americans are denied equal justice as compared to white Americans.

Continue reading on Above the Law Redline…

Most likely, this man is not a real professor.

I’m not going to write this post.

I’m going to let you, the readers, write the opening for this post, then I’m going to let the law school website write the body, then I’ll let a local paper write the closing.

I’ll just be over here, laughing my ass off.

Here are real emails I received from tipsters:

  • “Oh man, this is rich! Looks to me like some drunk, religious law student’s online fantasy, but apparently there’s an actual grownup person, or people, behind it. Drunk on Jesus perhaps. Evidently it’s ‘not a scam.’ Which makes it worse.”
  • “Reindeer award? Sign me up.”
  • “Please do an article on this. You could basically just copy and paste crazy s**t from their website; it really just writes itself.”

That’s what I’m trying to do, boss. I couldn’t even make up a name for a law school more ridiculous than the name it’s actually chosen…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Law School So Shady Even The Authorities Are Looking Into It”

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