Elie Mystal

Upon reaching my mid-thirties with a wife, a kid, and a dog, it became apparent that the “dream” of renting a tiny box on the island of Manhattan was over. My family and I decided against the Brooklyn half-step, because paying Manhattan rent for a slightly bigger box that would itself be too small for our family in ten seconds seemed stupid. So we zeroed in on buying in Westchester because: Grand Central >> the holding pen at Gitmo >> buying a mule >> Penn Station >> Chernobyl >> Port Authority.

The problem of course with buying property in Westchester is that we’re poor. Not “poor” in the “I need government assistance” sense (though, more on that later). Not even poor in the “I’m a salaried employee and don’t mind when Charles Barkley makes fun of my city” sense. I mean poor in that uniquely NYC/LA/London sort of way that makes you feel “How IN THE F**K do I not make enough money to afford this?”

The other problem was that I’ve spent the better part of the last six years screaming at people to avoid crushing debt obligations. To buy a house, I’m going into more debt than I’ve ever been before, and we know that things didn’t go so smoothly the first time.

But… kids man, what are you going to do? As part of my ongoing attempts to make egregious mistakes and then write about them, here are five things I didn’t really understand about the house-buying process. Note, I had my lawyer hat on, which means I wasn’t flummoxed by things like “taxes” or “closing costs.” Still, there’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t come up in Real Property or Trusts and Estates…

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Your Above the Law editors: Joe Patrice, Elie Mystal, Staci Zaretsky, and David Lat

February is supposed to be full of hearts and love and chocolate candy, but this year, it was mostly filled with snow — and that’s why our Valentine’s Day party, which was originally supposed to be on February 13, had to be rescheduled.

That said, thanks a lot to everyone who was willing to brave the cold and came out on Wednesday night to attend the Above the Law Valentine’s Day party. This year’s festivities were extremely well-attended (the bar was packed), and the entire crowd enjoyed all of the specialty drinks that were served. Thanks to our sponsor, the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters, for making such a great evening possible.

If you weren’t able to make it out, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the pictures from a night that was full of fun and fabulosity…

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Your ATL editors: David Lat, Staci Zaretsky, Joe Patrice, and Elie Mystal.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: a time for law firm bonuses, new partner announcements, holiday cards (including our annual contest), holiday gifts, and holiday parties.

Thanks a lot to everyone who came out last Thursday night to attend the Above the Law holiday party. This year’s festivities were extremely well-attended (the bar was packed), and the entire crowd enjoyed all of the specialty drinks that were served. Thanks to our sponsors, Superior Discovery and Prestige Legal Search, for making such a great evening possible.

If you weren’t able to make it out, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the pictures from a night that was full of fun and fabulosity…

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Shortly after I was hired to write terrible Morning Docket entries for this website, I went to one of those ATL holiday shindigs in New York. Free booze and the chance to hobnob with the kind of people I actively shunned during law school was too great an opportunity to pass up. When I arrived at the bar, I scanned the room for my website superiors. I quickly spotted Lat, breakdancing in front of the jukebox and screaming lines from the movie Chairman of the Board. Perhaps I’ll introduce myself another day, I thought. Elie was a little harder to find. Is that him? What about him? He could be anyone, I said to myself. Trapped in a room of Elie clones.

I began to strike up conversations with everyone.

It wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that I began chatting with a meek, retiring fellow. I had to lean in to hear his thoughts as he spoke in something barely above a whisper. Whenever I asked this man a question, his responses were peppered with equivocations like “Well, I don’t know” or “That’s complicated.” A hard man to pin down, this one. But the elegant subtlety of his opinions intrigued. Enraptured by this humble man’s quiet reserve, I was shocked when he apologized profusely for his poor etiquette and introduced himself. “I’m Elie Mystal.”

Naw, just playing. Yesterday, Elie sent me an email that began “Defend YOUR BOY now! And by “your boy,” I mean Alex Rodriguez.”

Okay…

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Hernandezing!

When I’m watchin’ my T.V.
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me

–The Rolling Stones

(FYI, this post was written while watching the NBA draft, so it is especially sloppy. I do not, however, have a good excuse for the picture of Elie after the jump.)

Fashion is hard. No one knows that better than I. Currently, I have two suits at my disposal. Two. One’s blue and stretches at the seams when I put it on and the other is brown and it billows out around me at the slightest provocation, looking for all the world like a suit my older brother gave me that I just need to grow into. Brown and blue. I try my best to religiously switch back-and-forth, but most weeks are taken up by only one of the suits. This week has been brown in case you were wondering. I used to rock a charcoal number, but that thing was so big, I appeared to be doing a very sad David Byrne impersonation.

If you’re wondering why my patented “Who gives a f&*%?” personal anecdote this week is dedicated to couture, it’s because we are on the cusp of a revolution. Not since Kriss Kross wore their Starter jackets backwards (R.I.P. the one who died) has a fashion statement arrived with such force and absurdity. And not since Mike Tyson made everyone run out and get face tattoos has a menacing athlete changed the aesthetic game so boldly. This week, Aaron Hernandez got arrested for murder. Miranda means he didn’t have to say anything. It was his right to remain silent, for christ’s sake. Something something something…FASHION STATEMENT!!!

Let’s talk white shirts worn just so…

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Today, we present the second installment of our three-part series of Google Hangouts aimed at helping prospective law students navigate the application process and the first year of school. This week, Joe Patrice and Elie Mystal are joined by Nicole Wanzer, Law School Recruiting Manager at Morrison Foerster and David Thompson an associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.

Prospective students can sign up here to get more news and resources to begin their legal careers….

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Today, we present the first installment of our three-part series of Google Hangouts aimed at helping prospective law students navigate the application process and the first year of school. With the assistance of our very own Joe Patrice and Elie Mystal hosting the program, we are joined by Nicholas, a 1L at the University of Texas Law School and Jenna, a 2L from Florida State who transferred from Nova Southeastern and landed a summer position at Greenberg Traurig.

Future hangouts will feature a professor from Harvard, the president of BARBRI, Biglaw hiring partners and associates, and more current law students. Prospective students can sign up here to get more news and resources to begin their legal careers….

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Happy New Year from your ATL editors: David Lat, Staci Zaretsky, and Elie Mystal.

We were pleasantly surprised by how many of you seemed to be interested in the pictures from our New Year’s party, and because we’re gluttons for punishment, we’ve decided to give you some more of what you want. And this time, you’ll have the opportunity to offer your delightful insights and commentary on our pictures.

So without further ado, we present to you some additional party pics for your viewing pleasure….

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Your ATL editors: David Lat, Staci Zaretsky, and Elie Mystal.

Thanks a lot to everyone who came out on Wednesday night to attend the Above the Law New Year’s party!

The festivities were well-attended, and the bar was full of action — no seriously, there may or may not have been a couple making out the whole night. Thanks to our sponsor, Lateral Link, for such a great evening.

Yeah yeah, we know, it’s the internet, so of course this post is “WWOP.” So let’s get some pics up in here….

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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….

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