Elie Mystal Demoted?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2nd, 2010 by bl1y

Elie Mystal used to be Editor in Chief of Above the Law, but it now appears he is merely a staff editor, and David Lat is back in the driver’s seat.  Sorry, bubba.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

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Posted in Uncategorized on January 15th, 2010 by bl1y

Yesterday AbovetheLaw.com posted a link to Reason Not to Go to Law School #13 on their daily Non-Sequiturs. An anonymous ATL commenter had this to say:

“Yet another wonderful reason not to go to law school:

There’s less chance you’ll wind up like Elie if you don’t”

Harvard Law Grad who’s job is to chase down industry gossip and edit a blog? Elie Mystal has a pretty sweet job, I’d say. Doubtful he makes close to even the salary of a first year associate, but his job probably affords him more power within the legal industry than most non-equity partners, and the ATL Editor in Chief chair comes with a good amount of prestige too.

Or, at least it did while David Lat sat in.

Anyways, thanks, ATL! That link generated thousands of hits and propelled Reason #13 to 94th most popular WordPress blog entry for the day.

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Reason Not to Go to Law School #14

Posted in Reasons Not to Go to Law School on January 15th, 2010 by bl1y

Eggshell Sensitivities.

Lawyers and law students are touchy on anything remotely politically incorrect. This is especially true for the lawyers who have vaginas, or the ones with penises who think being all sensitive will earn them the love of the ones with vaginas.

As reported on AbovetheLaw.com, New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law is having their annual meeting soon, and one of the panals has got a whole lot of panties into bundles.

That’s right, the Committee on Women in the Law is having a panal to give a male perspective, and the women are pissed:

“I thought it was a joke until I went to the website myself. One female partner I showed it to is hoping that the NYSBA website was hacked and this still is a joke. She couldn’t believe it came from there.”

“[E]very female attorney I know that has seen this — partners to associates — is outraged. The first reaction is this is a joke. Then next is what year is this from. And the last is shocked and appalled. Most people don’t know where to start.”

And Pace Law professor Bridget Crawford is even calling for a boycott:

“I call for all members of the NYSBA to boycott this panel discussion. Yes, the speakers have a right to speak, but we don’t have to go and listen. Men have been telling us FOR YEARS how we don’t measure up. To have a panel of men, endorsed by the New York State Bar Association, discussing our “strengths and weaknesses,” is a regression and an insult to all women in the legal profession.”

But, David Lat provides a very good reason to hold this panel:

“But maybe you still need some advice for navigating the mean, cutthroat, male-dominated world of the legal profession. Ideally these tips should come from, you know…. MEN.”

Given that a huge part of being a female attorney means interacting with male attorneys, wouldn’t it be incredibly useful to know how those male attorneys perceive their female coworkers? But no, I guess men aren’t allowed to know anything about women or offer women any sort of advice.

Keep that in mind the next time you complain about men not understanding women. Maybe we do, but we pretend to know nothing about women so that you won’t jump down our throats for having the audacity to think we might have learned something about the other half of the population that we interact with every single day of our lives.

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Reason Not to Go to Law School #6

Posted in Reasons Not to Go to Law School on January 11th, 2010 by bl1y


There are three different systems of ethics in the world:

Six year old ethics: Little kids have very good instincts about what is fair and what is not. Sometimes they just need a little more information about what effects different choices will have, but they’re generally good gauges of what’s right and what’s wrong.

“Ethics:” Then there’s ethics as in “ethics.” This is the manipulation of rules to come up with the most convoluted way to rationalize their actions. If you explain it to a six year old and they give you a cross look, it’s probably not ethics, it’s “ethics.”

Lawyer ethics: Some people will confuse this with “ethics” in that it’s entirely convoluted, but instead of trying to find some weird theory to justify their actions, lawyers just create needlessly complex, stupid ethical rules. I assume law students start school with the normal six year old ethical sense most of us share. But, somewhere along the line their heads get full of weird legal rules and they lose sight of basic ethical principles. While sometimes they are trying to cheat and steal and relying on “ethics,” most of the time they’re just so far removed from basic humanity that they couldn’t find a coherent ethical principle with two hands and Hammurabi.

Case in point: David Lat (of AbovetheLaw.com fame) went to a hotel, ate a packet of Oreos from the hotel mini bar. He then replaced the packet with an identical one bought from a local store to avoid the crazy hotel charge. He submitted this scenario to Randy Cohen’s New York Times column The Ethicist, who promptly told him he was in the wrong.

Here’s what one commenter said, as reported on Above the Law:

“In a way, it’s somewhat analogous to the crime of theft (as tested on bar exams): once you take something that doesn’t belong to you with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of possession, the crime is complete. You can later change your mind and return it, but the crime remains.”

While this is a fair representation of the fictitious (yet representative) multi-state crime of theft as test on the bar exam, it’s also a fair representation of what’s wrong with law student (and lawyer) ethics. The analogy is simply irrelevant. Here’s the entire relevant inquiry regarding Lat’s dilemma:

Q: Was anyone, in the least bit, harmed by your action?

A: No.


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