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Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal is the Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline and the Editor-At-Large of Breaking Media. He’s appeared...

Joe Patrice

Joe Patrice is an Editor at Above the Law. For over a decade, he practiced as a litigator at...

Episode Notes

Roll out the red carpet for the second edition of the Thinking Like A Lawyer annual awards. On this star-studded evening, Joe and Elie honored the best — and by that they mean the worst — of the year in law. We laughed, we cried, it was better than Legally Blonde.


Above the Law – Thinking Like a Lawyer

The Second Annual Thinking Like A Lawyer Awards Gala



Intro: Welcome to Thinking Like a Lawyer with your hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, talking about legal news and pop culture, all while thinking like a lawyer, here on Legal Talk Network.


Joe Patrice: Hello and welcome to a very, very special Above the Law’s Thinking Like a Lawyer.


Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah, that crowd is here because this is — once again, this is our Second Annual Thinking Like A Lawyer Awards Show.

Elie Mystal: Baa, baam, baam.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s not really an Oscar song.

Elie Mystal: We are not talking about Star Wars?

Joe Patrice: We are not at all, at any point actually. So we are doing yet again, as we did last year, we are in our tuxes before this beautiful crowd of people and we are going to wow them with as many —

Elie Mystal: With our Red Carpet Awards, but first I get to grab my gears, right?

Joe Patrice: Oh, do we? Do we?

Elie Mystal: I think I get to grab my gears first.

Joe Patrice: Okay.

Elie Mystal: So we are talking about Star Wars.

Joe Patrice: Okay good, so for the audio editor, this is where you are going to mark for deletion, all right, go.

Elie Mystal: No spoilers guys, but here is my issue with what’s going on with Star Wars right now. The director of this new movie, Rian Johnson, has been subjected to lots of Twitter hate, some death threats, to the point that he actually had to respond about it, people are crashing the movies, Rotten Tomatoes score. Most people generally liked the movie, but there are a few, what’s the word I am looking for Joe?

Joe Patrice: The fanboy man-children?

Elie Mystal: Jackasses, who just decided that they have the right to try to make this man’s life horrible, simply because he did something more with the second Star Wars movie than make it a fanboy service merchandising gig, right?

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: It was an ambitious movie, not all of it worked; some of it did. I liked the parts that worked; I didn’t like the parts that didn’t work. It was a fine freaking movie, but it was more ambitious than what J.J. Abrams tried to do last time, it was more ambitious than any of the prequels, and these fanboys are just — they can’t handle it. It’s ridiculous.

And the way that I tie this into like everything else that’s going on with the world is that this is the problem with the democratization that the Internet has brought us, right. Everybody thinks that they can write their own Star Wars. Everybody thinks that they can be the coach of the team. Everybody thinks they can be President of the United States. You know what, you can’t. It’s not Little League Baseball, not everybody gets to play, and there’s got to be some like removal, some understanding to let the professional people go do their work instead of having this kind of Little League Baseball everybody can play mentality, which is how we get a country run by people who are entirely incompetent with no discernible skills.

Joe Patrice: Okay, cool.

Elie Mystal: You want to get out some words now. Yeah, let’s get out some fucking participation trophies right now.

Joe Patrice: Right, yeah, that was the thing, you are just kind of like — you are ruining the whole effect here. The whole point is to give out awards to people for doing very little, and this is not the opening we had hoped for. I had commissioned him to do a musical number, as I expected of any good Billy Crystal run awards show.

Elie Mystal: Oh yeah, my voice is a little bit scratchy right now.

Joe Patrice: Oh well. So are we ready to go? Is the audience prepared?

Elie Mystal: We are ready. I am just checking to make sure that we are doing —

Joe Patrice: Yeah, drum roll.

Elie Mystal: There’s drums.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Oh my God.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, we are about to start.

Elie Mystal: Let’s do it.

Joe Patrice: All right. So for those who weren’t here last year, we have a few categories and let’s begin as we did last year, we are changing this category. I want to get this out of the way. Last year it was the Non-Judge of the Year, now it’s Judge Very Loosely of the Year. We are going to have judges in here as well as non-judges going forward.

Elie Mystal: Right.

Joe Patrice: All right, Judge of the Year, so nominees are Judge Posner, who managed to get in some fairly nasty little fights with both SCOTUS and his co-judges and then quit out of nowhere and is now serving the pro se community by helping out.

Elie Mystal: That was between that time he spoke with me for an hour on More Perfect.

Joe Patrice: That’s right. Tell us more about that.

Elie Mystal: That’s where he defended the Korematsu decision as rightly decided at the time to my face by saying that it was okay for Roosevelt to do it because he didn’t know any Japanese people. It was kind of an amazing bit of sound that we got and he quit maybe a week after it went up.


Joe Patrice: Oh no.

Elie Mystal: One had nothing to do with the other, don’t get me wrong.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, so he had an uneventful year in our Judge of the Year category.

Hilary Green, that is a Texas Justice of the Peace, who admitted to sexting with a bailiff and was also — there was some stuff with recreational drugs in there, but some fairly graphic sexting with her bailiff, which — I mean for those of us old enough to remember Night Court, Bull was always the subject of —

Elie Mystal: Yeah, this was — this just — that sort of just felt to me like a more adult version of Night Court, and I don’t think it really — it’s a nice nominee, but I am not — I am holding out for something better.

Joe Patrice: Well, so we will go with the obvious elephant in the room right now, Alex Kozinski. Ninth Circuit Judge Alex and former Chief Judge of that circuit Alex Kozinski, who retired earlier this week, amid, to use the word mounting is an understatement, an avalanche of sexual harassment claims.

Elie Mystal: Yes, turns out he was a perv.

Joe Patrice: Allegedly yeah, certainly a lot was coming down that pipe.

Elie Mystal: The thing that’s interesting about Kozinski I think is that Kozinski is the start of this, not the end of this in the judiciary. Like his time in the barrel has come first, but you cannot believe given everything that we have been seeing in our culture right now, you cannot believe that of all the federal judiciary only Alex Kozinski had this problem of sexually harassing his clerks, he simply can’t be the only one.

Now, I don’t know how long it’s going to take us to find out who is next. I don’t know if we are going to break that story, if that story is going to be broken other way, I don’t know where the sources are, but like I do not believe that this is the end of this train.

Joe Patrice: No, and it’s also the beginning and not the end to the extent that now another vacancy on the Ninth Circuit, which means yet another opportunity for this administration to put a judge in there. That will mean Judge Kozinski, while a Republican appointed judge, was a fairly independent minded, fairly libertarian person, if only we could come up with a libertarian minded person who —

Elie Mystal: Who clerked on the Ninth Circuit perhaps.

Joe Patrice: Maybe.

Elie Mystal: Perhaps has some prosecutorial experience; Trump will like that.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, FedSoc.

Elie Mystal: FedSoc. Under 50.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, definitely has to be under 50. It would be nice because now they have got to deal with Doug Jones and stuff like that. If they had somebody that maybe Democrats would find at least palatable, like maybe a diverse candidate.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, maybe somebody who checks a couple of boxes in terms of diversity, maybe a person of color.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Wait a minute, don’t we work with a guy like that, Joe?

Joe Patrice: We do. Yeah. So we are very much — he has nothing to do with this, but Elie and I have very much decided that it’s not a joke, it is very serious, David Lat, the Founder of this publication, of the Above the Law publication is one of the people who would best fill that role.

Elie Mystal: David Lat — in a completely joking aside, David Lat fulfills all of the requirements that we have seen for Trump judicial appointments. And from my side of the aisle, while I disagree with Lat on 90% of the stuff, like I would take Lat over most of these yahoos that Trump is putting up.

Joe Patrice: Speaking of yahoos, we will get to a few of them before this is over.

Elie Mystal: So who is —

Joe Patrice: Well, we have one final. Okay, you have got some census already, the final Judge/Non-Judge of the Year, former Chief Justice Roy Moore. Roy Moore, who attempted to run — twice the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, kicked off both times. Ultimately tried to run for Senate and did such a spectacular job that the Democrats managed to elect a Senator from Alabama.

Elie Mystal: I saw in Facebook today somebody said Roy Moore still hasn’t admitted that he lost the election. That should tell you something about the rest of his denials.

Joe Patrice: Well he — that’s a good point. I saw the quote of the day for us was a joke that’s going around about Matthew Petersen, the judicial nominee, who got grilled the other day, what do Matthew Petersen and Roy Moore have in common?

Elie Mystal: What?

Joe Patrice: Their careers both ended because they failed to understand Younger Abstention.

Elie Mystal: Oh, that’s deep nerd, deep nerd.

Joe Patrice: All right.

Elie Mystal: And dirty. My vote here is clear.

Joe Patrice: Okay, what have you got?

Elie Mystal: Richard Posner. Here is the thing, in terms of an award Richard Posner gets an award for being a powerful man leaving his job surprisingly while keeping it in his pants. Apparently, that’s a skill now. Judge Posner, he left because he had these other issues, because he was pissed about that, because he was angry about that; he did not leave, he was not forced out because he was an alleged sexual predator. There are a lot of powerful men who can’t say that right now. Judge Richard Posner, my Judge of the Year.


Joe Patrice: Yeah. And the pro se work he is doing is fantastic. Well, we don’t get to choose who wins, because we have our results vetted by PwC, just like the Oscars, and they have lost them. So we are going to decide that it’s going to be Richard Posner.

So with that, we have got our first one out of the way. Everybody still excited out there?


Joe Patrice: Yeah, all right, so we are just going to keep having fun.

So the next category we have is Practice Pointers, which is our annual category for just moves that may be a bit boneheaded in this practice.

Elie Mystal: You can learn some point — you can learn from others’ mistakes.

Joe Patrice: Correct. So our first nominee is Lynne Patton. Lynne Patton was picked by the President to head up part of the Housing and Urban Development Office in the region based on her legal acumen. She also happened to be a wedding planner for the family.

Her legal acumen came into some controversy when the school was called about it by reporters and they went, what, she didn’t go here. So she may not actually have been a lawyer ever.

Elie Mystal: Practice Pointer, update your resume, correctly.

Joe Patrice: Correctly. We have five nominees in this category. So our next nominee is Abbe Lowell, the famed lawyer. Check your email is probably the answer. Abbe ran into some trouble earlier this year by representing Jared Kushner and responding to an email from somebody who purported to be Jared Kushner and correctly not trying to do it over email, but then that fake troll email was in his Outlook and then he sent confidential documents to this troll later by just going Jared, oh yup, that’s it. So check your email.

Elie Mystal: At least archive your email.

Joe Patrice: Don’t do Autocomplete, just turn off the Autocomplete function on your Outlook, it’s important. You don’t want it up like this.

Michael Potere is our next nominee. I think that’s how you pronounce it. This is a Dentons associate who has — I believe his case is now over; originally pleaded not guilty, but I believe they have reached an agreement. He allegedly threatened to blackmail his firm by turning over documents to Above the Law. So we appreciate the —

Elie Mystal: Being dragged in — being dragged into it, that’s great for us.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. So that’s a Practice Pointer not to blackmail your firm.

Elie Mystal: Also a Practice Pointer for other media companies, have a liability shield.

Joe Patrice: So Mary Jaclyn Cook was in the news. This is a Faegre associate out in Colorado. She went on her honeymoon this year. She came back and discovered she was woefully behind on her hours and so made up hours. By the way, she got suspended for that. You are not supposed to do that.

Elie Mystal: No, you are not.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. She got a nine month suspension though, so let’s hope that honeymoon worked.

Elie Mystal: You are also not supposed to make up more hours than are in like a day.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Like if you find yourself billing time for 25 hours for a day, you have messed up. You are done messed up and you need to edit that at least.

Joe Patrice: That said, I kind of am sympathetic to the situation which is why do we live in a system where you aren’t allowed to have a honeymoon. Basically why is getting married being held against this person? That should have been a situation where she comes back and says, I am going to be behind, but it’s because I was gone for a month, and we just leave it at that, but alas.

And finally, we have a dual nominee, Ty Cobb and John Dowd for having lunch and discussing the Trump Russia defense while sitting next to a New York Times reporter. Don’t do that. Don’t talk in public about —

Elie Mystal: Obviously, this is my choice, obviously.

Joe Patrice: It’s the best choice because this is a team of people who should know better.

Elie Mystal: These are the best lawyers our President can find to represent him and what they are doing is having confidential communications about the Mueller investigation, and it’s not like they were in some kind of out-of-the-way spot. They were in sidewalk seating at a very popular DC lunch spot. Of course there’s going to be reporters.

Like I don’t know if you have ever lived in DC, like you know where the reporters are, they are in all the places they are supposed to be. There are many places in DC that are hidden, that are secret, that are dark, that are there to be away from the press. Sidewalk seating at this restaurant was not one of them.

So both _______ just lack of competence from the Trump administration, with also their just lack of DC know-how. For all this like, oh, we are outsiders, we are running outside. Yeah, well, drain the swamp. First of all, they are not draining the swamp, but sometimes it’s useful to know how the swamp actually works if you want to be effective there. So that story just kind of brings it altogether for me. So I have got them in a rump.


Joe Patrice: Yeah. I mean I think that’s right, I agree. So congratulations Ty and John, we will be sending the trophy to you. They could not be here today, but they wanted us to thank folks on their behalf.

Elie Mystal: There is part of me that thinks the woman who billed 25 hours on a day got robbed though.

Joe Patrice: Oh, by the way —

Elie Mystal: Because lawyers are bad at math so you kind of get that.

Joe Patrice: If people are listening and don’t know and you want to look up these stories, you can look up all of them, because all of these are people that we profiled throughout the year on Above the Law. We wrote about every one of these stories, so by all means go look them up.

Elie Mystal: I literally thought you were going to tell our listeners that there were 24 hours in a day.

Joe Patrice: I could have. Well, you know, daylight saving. So let’s move on to what last year was our closing topic, because it was such a great one, but this year kind of lackluster, so I will throw it in the middle, the Dewey & LeBoeuf Law Firm of the Year Award.

The Law Firm of the Year, we only have four nominees. So first up is Venable. Venable gets on this list because a partner, William Briggs specifically, wrote a cease and desist letter to people for, well, writing a thoughtful op-ed about Taylor Swift.

Elie Mystal: Yeah. I love the story. I mean it’s a classic Streisand Effect story.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: I never knew that Taylor Swift was a Nazi, until —

Joe Patrice: Well, she may or may not be, but she definitely makes choices that have made her a very popular icon with certain Nazis.

Elie Mystal: Until the Venable lawyer sent the letter telling the blogger to stop calling her a Nazi. It never occurred to me that Taylor Swift might be a Nazi until this letter saying stop calling her a Nazi came out. It’s brilliant.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, it was an op-ed that basically suggested that she is very popular on alt-right boards, and one of the reasons might be that she chooses imagery and phraseology that they latch on. And this fairly thoughtful op-ed yielded a cease and desist letter. It also then yielded a hilariously biting response letter from somebody who understood that you can’t do that.

Next, Holland & Knight, this one is the — this firm fell into a situation which, they got a time out from a judge. So Judge Paul Engelmayer told them that they had done something that he felt was improper and he told them — he was inclined to rule against them on sanctions motion, but he would prefer if they would take some time and write him a letter explaining why they were sorry for what they did. Totally like dealing with children, just like it’s your job, sit and think about what you did and write me a letter about it.

He explicitly said this is not an opportunity for more briefing; I just want a letter apologizing Holland & Knight took this opportunity and wrote a brief explaining how they didn’t think they had done anything wrong and he was incorrect about the law. He was less than amused. That is the Law Firm of the Year nominee.

DLA Piper, the Global Law Firm, they are on our list this year because in a world where cybersecurity means so much the WannaCry virus really shut them down.

Elie Mystal: DLA Piper coming to us from their affiliate on Mars.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, but that’s the thing, these global firms need to understand they are even more at risk.

Elie Mystal: DLA Piper is particularly vulnerable because it — I mean, we make the jokes because they have offices everywhere and for that firm in particular to not be more careful about cybersecurity is problematic.

Joe Patrice: Including in the country of Africa, right?

Elie Mystal: Yes.

Joe Patrice: Isn’t this the firm that like on their list says we have them in all sorts of countries, including Africa.

Elie Mystal: Africa, yes. That was a while ago.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. And finally, Gordon & Rees, whose New York office manager Mercedes Colwin went on TV to explain that sexual harassment and assault are few and far between. The firm immediately addressed that situation.

Elie Mystal: Yes, she wasn’t using her firm credentials when she went on Fox & Friends or FOX NOW or —

Joe Patrice: Whatever it was.

Elie Mystal: Fox, whatever the hell it was. But astute readers pointed it out to us and we were able to point it out to Gordon & Rees and that was swift.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, she is not running that office.

Elie Mystal: Right.

Joe Patrice: So who do we think wins the Firm of the Year here?

Elie Mystal: Well, it can’t be Gordon & Rees because they did the right thing.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I think that’s right.

Elie Mystal: So I have got to think that it’s down between Holland & Knight who did explicitly what they were told not to do.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s what I like.

Elie Mystal: But the Venable thing was so dumb.

Joe Patrice: It is. I feel like Venable is the La La Land here, like I started assuming they were going to win, but I think Holland & Knight —

Elie Mystal: Look, it’s Law Firm of the Year, right?

Joe Patrice: Yeah, right.

Elie Mystal: We can’t impugn all of Venable because one of their dumbass partners has an infatuation with Taylor Swift.


Joe Patrice: All right, I think this is right.

Elie Mystal: But Holland & Knight, I mean think about all the people involved in sending that brief from Holland & Knight, like that’s much more of a firm-wide issue of hubris.

Joe Patrice: All right, congratulations to Holland & Knight on law firm of the year.

Next, up we have – oh, this is — this is a fun little short one. This is our Thinking like a Lawyer award, which historically was for people utilizing legal things inappropriately in different settings. This isn’t going to be that this year because this is going to be kind of a catch-all, this is for non-lawyery things that just kind of didn’t fit anywhere else. One is —

Elie Mystal: Basically you are saying you made a whole category just for things that you felt like mocking a second time.

Joe Patrice: Well, mocking or talking about I just I couldn’t find a good place for them, one is Mila Stauffer, this is a 2-year-old girl who threw a ultimately viral fit on social media when she found out that her mom had enrolled her in preschool despite her explicit instruction that she wanted to be going to law school. She doesn’t understand how debt works yet.

Elie Mystal: Okay, I’m not going to mock the 2-year-old.

Joe Patrice: Really? Oh see. Anyway.

Elie Mystal: I’ve got one of my own, I don’t want that coming back to bite me in the ass.

Joe Patrice: Fair enough. Ella Hughes, who is the British porn star who pointed out that she quit law school so that she can pursue a more lucrative career that involved less debt.

Elie Mystal: Yes.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: And just the same amount of –

Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah, well, you have to track your Billable Hours still. And finally, in this category of not really lawyers but like _______, people who aren’t really lawyers in a real sense, Brett Talley, who is the no longer a nominee for judge who brought his legal — it’s thinking like a lawyer, you brought legal acumen to reading tea leaves in a séance.

Elie Mystal: Yeah – no, he’s the winner by far.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, Jr. Ghost Hunter, who was supposed to be a District Judge in Alabama will not be because cooler heads have prevailed somehow. So congratulations to Talley.

Elie Mystal: You realized the listeners, we’re not joking, like Trump nominated a guy —

Joe Patrice: Who believes in ghosts.

Elie Mystal: Who believes in ghosts, and hunts them.

Joe Patrice: Yes, that is the thing that happened.

Elie Mystal: Like I find it hard to believe that there are people out there who hunt deer.

Joe Patrice: Right.

Elie Mystal: And that’s okay. This guy hunts ghosts.

Joe Patrice: I mean, look — I mean that’s — it’s a proud tradition. It dates all the way back to the Venkman era.

Elie Mystal: If you’re going to eat the whole thing then I guess it’s okay.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. Yeah, well, he also likes ghosts so much that Mark Joseph Stern from Slate, found out that this guy was posting on Alabama Sports boards about how the original KKK was kind of okay.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just —

Joe Patrice: It’s ghosts. It fits with the theme. He likes the uniform. So, now with that, congratulations to Brett Talley. We will move to — we will move to professionalism. This is our professionalism award for sterling acts of professionalism in the legal world. Our first nominee is Jeffrey Wertkin and he is an Akin Gump partner who was caught dressed up in a cheesy disguise, trying to sell whistleblower info to companies.

Elie Mystal: There was a movie about this of Matt Damon. Wasn’t there?

Joe Patrice: Well, I mean, this happened earlier this year, so Matt Damon is prolific though so hell I don’t know.

Elie Mystal: Maybe bizarre as well.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe Harvey agreed with that at some point. But no, this is the Akin partner who did that.

Next up, we have Trent Garmon. Trent Garmon, you are a big fan. All right, could you tell us who Trent Garmon is?

On no, Trent Garmon is the surrogate for Roy Moore who was hired as Moore’s attorney, even though Garmon had been suspended from the practice by Roy Moore at some point.

Anyway, he went on TV, did a few things. He called Don Lemon, Lemon Squeezy, he went on –

Elie Mystal: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

Joe Patrice: That is true. The clarification, he went on Stephanie Ruhle’s show and —

Elie Mystal: And he went to Stephanie Ruhle and I was watching this in real-time. Stephanie Ruhle does a show with Ali Velshi and he went on to talk about Ali Velshi’s background and how because Ali Velshi had this different background, he was somehow more amenable to Roy Moore having relations with 14-year-olds and what was amazing about that is that Stephanie Ruhle like in real-time called him out and was like, what are you talking about? Why does my partner’s background have anything to do with this discussion, and just embarrassed him, and it was great.

It was exactly how you want a “white ally to act” when you’re being impugned and this happened on live television.


Joe Patrice: So moving on we have Jay Sekulow who is a Trump attorney, who doesn’t appear to be doing a lot of stuff other than going on TV. He also makes millions of dollars somewhat controversially and seems to have no idea how the law works, whenever he talks.

Elie Mystal: I can’t like — when he’s on talking about legal issues, it’s not unlike a freshman, not a One L, a freshman, who’s had a survey course on the law talking about legal issues, like it’s the same level of depth and understanding. It’s very frustrating.

Joe Patrice: Well, and if you do, and from my perspective because I was a white- collar defense lawyer for a long time, if you — even if you go so far as to say he has some sense of the law in some broad civil sense or whatever, this is a white-collar criminal investigation and the stuff he says is even worse. From the perspective of a white-collar world, it’s like an eighth grader talking, not a freshman.

Elie Mystal: He’s also like bad at explaining it, right?

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Like, if you’re going to be the lawyer who goes on TV as a person who has done that before, one of the only things you have to be able to do is just take your little bit of knowledge and be able to express it clearly to non-lawyers, you will not even be able to do that, it’s just a disaster.

Joe Patrice: So the last — the last nominee in this category is Marc Kasowitz, from Kasowitz Benson, who was the original Trump lawyer who — a series of misadventures took place while he was representing until Ty and John showed up and started having their guarded meetings. Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Kasowitz is my pick for this category for a similar reason. So Above the Law is a publication that has — that as tussled with Kasowitz before, okay, we’ve reported on his firm, we’ve reported on some of the shenanigans long before Donald Trump came into the picture.

So when Trump hired him, it was this great moment for us I think as reporters where it’s like we knew it’s like, oh wow, we’re going to get stories now, like you don’t have to — do you knew that Kasowitz was going to implode generally along the lines in which he did —

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: — months before it happened, if you had really been following this guy’s career. So it was really just — it was a pass the popcorn moment that I think is deserving of an award.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I agree. I think Kas falls into this. The story that came out from, I can’t remember if it was ProPublica or not but was amazing, it had a lot of great little professionalism moments. And yeah, it’s the same thing we were saying about Sekulow from a perspective of a white-collar person. I think Marc Kasowitz is actually a very good lawyer at the thing that he does, which happens to not be the white-collar defense lawyer.

And so it was a bizarre choice and it’s a sort of choice that you have an obligation probably as a lawyer to say, this is out of my wheelhouse, please don’t make me your lawyer, but nonetheless.

Elie Mystal: Are we sure that Sekulow is going to — we were sure that Kasowitz was good at something, he’s not good at this.

Joe Patrice: Right, he is great.

Elie Mystal: Are we sure that Sekulow is good at anything?

Joe Patrice: No, we are not sure of that.

Elie Mystal: Okay.

Joe Patrice: So that brings us now to — and this is — this is sad but we are coming up on the last — the last category – well, it’s been a fun, Marc Kasowitz, I mean just the antics.

Oh yeah, all right. So the last category is Law Professor of the Year. The last category of this year is Law Professor of the Year. Our first nominee Jack Vitayanon, from Georgetown, he was arrested for lots of meth, Breaking Bad kind of way.

Elie Mystal: Lots of bad.

Joe Patrice: Obviously that case he was just arrested, who knows what happened, but yeah, this is the only — that happened.

Elie Mystal: They keep his money in oil barrels buried in the desert.

Joe Patrice: The desert outside of Georgetown, yeah. So that’s one. We have staying at Georgetown, now impressive year for Georgetown in this category by the way. Randy Barnett who brought in Jeff Sessions to make a conversation about the importance of free speech to an event where they didn’t invite anybody so they couldn’t have the speech.

Elie Mystal: Actually went out — it was purposely excluded some people who might not be amenable to Jeff Sessions’ message about free speech at school.

Joe Patrice: Yeah – no, I got to say, I’m not positive he’s going to win this category, but I really want him to, so that we can — as he’s coming up to get the award, we can do the — this is Randy’s second nomination and second win because he won last year.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, last year, for his Scalia shenanigan.

Joe Patrice: Right, so who really won that?

Elie Mystal: Who is going to beat it?

Joe Patrice: Well, here we go, we got a couple more.

Elie Mystal: All right.

Joe Patrice: There is a dual nomination, Amy Wax and Larry Alexander.

Elie Mystal: Oh God.

Joe Patrice: Amy Wax and Larry Alexander, who put out an article explaining how Black people just aren’t that bright, was kind of their premise.


Elie Mystal: It was not just that we weren’t that bright, it’s that the whole premise is that Western culture is superior to all other cultures.

Joe Patrice: Wait, sorry, what you said? “Western culture”? I’m hearing a little dog whistle in my ear. Yeah, okay.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, you hear that too?

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Western culture is superior to all other cultures, and if other cultures not saying exactly who, but if other cultures, other peoples just acted a little bit more Western.

Joe Patrice: Right.

Elie Mystal: So Western sometimes, then things would be a lot better for them. Wow, I mean, I forgot —

Joe Patrice: Oh this — there’s a reason this is our last category.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, they are law professors, because the hate that they got went so beyond the legal profession.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, there is a reason this is our last category, because it’s — it’s probably our strongest this year. So yeah, so Amy Wax, Larry Alexander, they are not our last nominee. Our last nominee is Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz for his continuing efforts.

Elie Mystal: Ah, that’s so sad.

Joe Patrice: You have been the one who have written a piece about how sad it is.

Elie Mystal: Yeah. I’m a fan of Dershowitz. Dershowitz knows my family, I mean he is nice to us. And he is gone, he is so in the tank for the Mag of people right now. He is so in the tank for — I can’t even — I don’t even know how — exactly how to describe it, but he is so in the tank for saying patently ridiculous things, talking about how the president can’t be, nothing the president do can be legal, creating Black Lives Matter, the terrorist organizations, he is — he is lost, he is lost.

Joe Patrice: And unfortunately to clarify for rules’ reasons I should clarify that when he wrote on Above the Law a long screed about how I was a terrible person, which we invited him to, because I thought it was awesome, but, when he wrote that that was actually last year, so that does not count for these awards.

Elie Mystal: We’re not talking about the — yeah. Especially given that, I’m still going to have to go with Wax.

Joe Patrice: With Wax and Alexander?

Elie Mystal: With Wax and Alexander, because that was a controversy that truly transcended legal fields and then legal discussions and got right to the heart of what — from my perspective right to the heart of what racism looks like today. Because you don’t — I mean Trump people aside, you don’t necessarily have the hood wearing Nazis walking, I mean of course, you do have that a lot. You know what I’m saying. In academics —

Joe Patrice: Tiki torches, yeah.

Elie Mystal: In academic settings those people usually aren’t there. Instead you have these cultural racists, these cultural imperialists talking their bullshit and Wax and Alexander so — really when you think about it was an amazing article to kind of hit all of the racist notes in one piece, and it’s been so widely disparaged and called out, I don’t see how there can be any other winner.

And that’s amazing because Dershowitz and Barnett had amazingly douche bag years this year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, and the other guy got arrested for meth. I mean this is —

Elie Mystal: He is the hero.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: He only — he just did some meth.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: He didn’t try to hurt anybody else. He didn’t make anybody else feel — well, he was just trying to get his meth on.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. All right, so we are in complete agreement I think that Wax and Alexander win this award, and that brings us to the end of the show.

This is a fantastic night. We are so excited and all the luminaries in the audience, thank you for — for coming out. Chief Justice, thank you for the roast beef. I don’t think it made this, but he did — he did an opening number for us. It was fantastic.

Elie Mystal: Congratulations to all our winners.

Joe Patrice: All right. So, with that I think we’re done for another year.

Elie Mystal: Probably done for the rest of the year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Happy New Years everybody, Happy Holidays.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. So read us on Above the Law, subscribe to this podcast.

Elie Mystal: We are not going dark for the holidays, we’re going to be dark two days with the rest of that were there.

Joe Patrice: Oh, yeah, yeah, we will still have content going out on Above the Law. Subscribe to this podcast, review this podcast. Everything you write and stars, help us become a more searchable podcast.

I am @JosephPatrice on Twitter. He is @ElieNYC on Twitter. We are there more often than normal people should be. If you want to interact. And with that I think we’re good.

Elie Mystal: Help us to make David Lat the next Associate Justice on the 9th Circuit.

Joe Patrice: All right, well next Judge on the 9th circuit, but yes, not justice, but yes, absolutely, he needs to get that job. And with that we’re done.

All right. Say good evening. This is where we would have play off music, but I —

Elie Mystal: Feliz Navidad.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, but I wasn’t able to find it. So all right. Bye all.



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The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.


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Episode Details
Published: December 29, 2017
Podcast: Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law
Category: Legal Entertainment , Legal News
Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law
Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Above the Law's Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice examine everyday topics through the prism of a legal framework.

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