Babies

What child is this?

Apparently not “Messiah,” regardless of his parents’ wishes.

A Tennessee judge — at least that’s what the media is calling her, she’s really a “Child Support Magistrate,” and since this whole affair is about claiming a grandiose title, it’s deliciously ironic — has ordered that the birth certificate of a 7-month-old baby named “Messiah” be “Martin DeShawn McCullough.”

Anyway, future Associate Justice Lu Ann Ballew based her name change on her religious beliefs, making her not only wrong legally, but also religiously….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Court Orders Baby’s Name Changed From ‘Messiah’ Because It’s The South”

Day by day, law school applications continue to tumble. As of May 31, applicants were down 13.2 percent and applications were down 18.6 percent from last year. As we’ve mentioned previously, this is the third year in a row that there’s been a double-digit percentage drop like this. Welcome to the reckoning.

Law schools are understandably scared by the precipitous drops in applications. While some are handing out admissions offers like candy, others are exploding scholarship offers to entice prospective students to join their ranks. Still others have been forced to think outside the box to come up with innovative ways to fill their incoming classes.

Have you heard of the “Just Diapers to Juris Doctors” program yet? We’ve got to hand it to this school, because it’ll be at least two decades before this new admissions program turns into “Just Debt”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Applications So Shockingly Low That Law Schools Are Now Admitting Newborn Babies”

Hello. How are you guys? Working hard? Getting ready for the season of bonuses and profit distributions? Realizing that 3L year is just as useless as I’ve always said it was? I hope all is well.

You might have noticed that I was away last week. That’s because at 10:59 p.m. on September 24th, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Here’s my son, Claudius Elie Charles Mystal:

He’s a Libra, which means he’s supposed to have an affinity for lawyering. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to crush any law school dreams early on. Actually I’ve already got to start thinking about getting him into preschool. Bloomberg now has people going to school once they’re six weeks old.

Since I’ve got so much stuff to do, I’ll be out a couple more weeks. I’ve already learned that having a newborn is like going to jail in The Wire: you only lose two minutes of sleep, the minute you wake up and the minute before you get back to bed.

Okay, okay, if you insist, one more picture….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Vacation Memo: Paternity Leave”


I had packed up my things and was about to turn off the light. That’s when the phone rang here at the Circumcision Law Desk. The shrill tone of the ring sounded more urgent than usual. I put down my box of Pulitzers and picked up the receiver.

“Hell-” “You’ve gotta write quick, Mister! Gawker ran a story on circumcision and it’s crazy!” I replied that I was too old for this game. Tracking down every circumcision tip had left me a hollow shell of a man. But the kid was insistent. “What about the babies???” Now you listen here, you sniveling punk, I said. I was never in it for the babies. Heck, I never could figure out just what I thought about circumcision. Mutilation, health, hygiene, aesthetics. The whole racket made my head spin. And that’s when the young punk said something that set me on my present course.

“There might be a lawsuit. Some Jews are crazy-mad about a new regulation passed by the City of New York and they’re threatening all kinds of holy hell over it. It’s not that New York is outlawing circumcision. It’s not about that. It’s that… well, it’s that some of these Jewish folks do something.” Out with it! “I can’t… I don’t wanna say… It’s that these Jewish fellas, some of them… Well…”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Circumcision, Anti-Semitism, And You (Part Deux)”

Item that zero percent of babies needed for roughly the first 3,000 years of civilization.

Last month, I found myself in a store named “Buy Buy Baby.” That’s not a typo. There’s really a store whose very name encourages rampant consumerism for babies before they can even start forming memories.

Walking around the store, one wondered how human babies survived and thrived for 200,000 years without the $200 Rodeo Child Bike Carrier Seat, or the $650 Baby Jogger Switchback Hybrid Bike.

Needless to say, I was not impressed. At one point, I threatened to buy my baby a wheelbarrow and some duct tape to avoid the stroller hijacking. When that joke didn’t magically make the prices go down, I asked one of the sales clerks what “poor” people do when they have children.

The clerk didn’t miss beat, and said, “You don’t want your baby to feel poor, do you?”

Of course, there is a real answer to the question “what do poor people do.” They go on Craigslist and buy used baby stuff! Because nothing says “broke” like going online and buying crap for your baby that some other baby has already peed and vomited on.

But when you are on Craigslist, buyer beware. And the seller should beware too, because people who buy things on Craigslist might be idiots. That’s something that a local judge in Massachusetts is learning….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Misdemeanor Offense of the Day: Judicial Cribs. Like, Baby Cribs, Not Lawyerly Lairs.”

Imagine that you’re a lawyer on maternity leave, and you find out on a Friday — somewhat short notice, but you have the weekend to sort things out — that your request for a trial delay has been denied. You have to go to court on Monday. What would you do in that kind of a situation?

While some would simply ask a family member to watch the baby, others would hit the babysitter’s number on speed dial in a heart beat. Others would farm the case out to a competent colleague. And others still would dump the baby off at the local daycare center that specialized in newborns. Each of these options seems reasonably workable.

But Amber Vazquez Bode, the lawyer this actually happened to, wasn’t having it. Interrupt my maternity leave? Screw you, judge, I’m bringing my baby to court….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer on Maternity Leave Brings Baby to Court When Trial Delay Is Denied”

* Apprenticeship programs sound great (especially to Lat), but will they help you to become a lawyer? Of course they will, but only if you don’t mind failing the bar exam a few times. [National Law Journal]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 100 jobs were added to legal sector in November. Cue unemployed lawyers singing: “Santa baby, slip a law job under the tree, for me?” [Am Law Daily]

* Things you can sell as a practicing attorney: your soul, your dignity, and your standards. Things you can’t sell as a practicing attorney: babies (but it sure is a great way to abort your career). [Daily Mail]

* When you earn $1.50 in attorney’s fees, it’s just not worth it to be nice. Something to remember before you take out six figures of loan debt to become a public interest lawyer. [Wall Street Journal]

* A lesson to be learned by all mothers-in-law: you do not question a man’s sexual prowess, even if there’s a chance that he might be shooting blanks. [New York Post]

Earlier this week, we wrote about Natalie Hegedus, a young Michigan mother who claims she was “humiliated” after a judge called her out for breastfeeding in court. Women across the country were outraged that a judge would find this sort of behavior in his courtroom to be inappropriate.

As we noted previously, Michigan is is one of only five states that does not have a law that would allow nursing mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. But some women in Michigan apparently don’t give a damn about the law (or lack thereof).

Later this month, an advocacy group called No Injustice Against Nursing in Public (NINJA NIPs, for short) will be staging a protest outside of the courthouse where Hegedus was shamed. What kind of a protest, you ask? A nurse-in….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NINJA NIPs to Stage a Courthouse ‘Nurse-In’ Protest in Michigan”

We’ve written in these pages before about the wrath that breastfeeding mothers incur on a seemingly daily basis. Like it or not, for some women, breastfeeding is part and parcel of being a new mother. And whether you’ve lost your job or you’ve been prevented from taking the LSAT, sometimes the discrimination that these women face just seems downright unfair.

So what happens when you’re a breastfeeding mother but life just isn’t cooperating with you? What happens when you have to start nursing in a public place, and that place just so happens to be a courtroom?

Here’s what one judge has to say about whipping out a boob in public….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Tells Breastfeeding Mother That Laws ‘Don’t Apply’ in Court”

It’s impossible to know what would have happened if I had done something differently. Ultimately, I have what was, and remains, most important to me — a happy, healthy son.

Elana Nightingale Dawson, the recent Northwestern Law graduate who went into active labor during the bar exam, commenting on the good news of her passing the Illinois bar.

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