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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

Last time, Elie and Joe tackled a number of audience emails asking for counsel on where they should attend law school. That episode triggered a deluge of follow-up emails from listeners with their own questions, so the guys put their “Decision” hats back on and talked through even more law school scenarios. Can you get to Biglaw from a second-tier school? Have you spread your applications too thin? Are you deciding between Harvard and Stanford? We address all these questions and more.

Special thanks to our sponsor Major, Lindsey & Africa.


Above the Law – Thinking Like a Lawyer

How To Decide On A Law School: We Answer Even More Questions



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. Welcome to another edition of Thinking Like A Lawyer. I am Joe Patrice.

Elie Mystal: I am Elie Mystal.

Joe Patrice: Yeah from Above the Law. And we have a sponsor today, by the way.

Elie Mystal: Is it the sun finally.

Joe Patrice: It’s Major, Lindsey & Africa, the world’s leading legal search firm, specializing in total legal talent management and advisory to recruitment. They’re sponsoring the show now. So it’s exciting.

Elie Mystal: I feel warm and cuddly already.

Joe Patrice: You should. All right well –

Elie Mystal: Speaking of cuddly.

Joe Patrice: Okay, I’m intrigued.

Elie Mystal: So a big story kind of broke in the New York Post a couple weeks ago, while by the time you’re listening to this a week ago, about some how do I put this nicely, snooty assholes who are taking up space in our city for their dogs. The background of the story is that some people in Tribeca put up a gate in a public park, just did it of their own accord, put up a gate, put up a padlock, started charging membership fees to have a private dog park, dog run, dog excursion in the middle of Tribeca.

Now, there are a couple of private dog runs and if you don’t know what I mean, I mean literally it’s a dog run. It’s a place, it’s a 90×90 plot of land for dogs that has a lock on it and you can’t get in with your dog unless you’re part of the club and you have paid the membership fees and you pay the dues and whatever. And there’s one actually right behind our offices, I don’t know if you know this, Joe.

Joe Patrice: Oh no.

Elie Mystal: There’s one actually behind our office on Mercer Street that I have been to, not with my dog, just to smoke and judge the people who were going in and out of that place.

Joe Patrice: I mean I seen that dog run, I had no idea it was private.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, it’s private. I knew it’s private, and I just so yeah you kind of stand next to the park smoking your cigarette, which annoys people anyway and just kind of literally look down your noses at these snooty assholes. So I’ve done that, but this one, this story that came out last week, these are people who didn’t even have a private space, they made a public space private.

The best way of putting it the podcast guy that we follow all the time Mike Duncan, tweeted out the line, people who steal private property end up in chains, people who still public property end up rich, Cato the Elder, that was Mike Duncan’s take on it.

It’s disgusting and it has to stop. You have a good legal angle here.

Joe Patrice: I mean when I read it all I could think was back to that glorious, glorious day in every young law student’s life where they’re in property class and they learned the words adverse possession. These people took this area from the city and made it something they profited off of and they did so for multiple years.

Elie Mystal: 10 years, 10 years.

Joe Patrice: With no one noticing.

Elie Mystal: These snooty dog people adversely possessed a public park for their pooches for 10 goddamn years.

Joe Patrice: I mean, I’m not entirely sure of the wrinkles, there’s some discussion of how their group had some like at one point public-private agreement with the city, certainly not to do what they did but some kind of an agreement, does that like prevent their adverse possession in that the city had reason to believe they weren’t acting adverse, things like that, but —

Elie Mystal: That’s a dog of the case.

Joe Patrice: But you know what I’m going to do to that, that’s why we have sound effects. Yeah, no, I saw that case and I was I mean I think you had a line about how pretentious that is.

Elie Mystal: I said belonging to a private dog run is more pretentious than the orgies in the Eyes Wide Shut movie. So yeah, that’s what my grinding for the gears today, that’s disgusting. Honestly, I think the best punishment will be to lock them inside their dog run and just wait and for their dogs to get hungry.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s –

Elie Mystal: Dark, dark turn.

Joe Patrice: Yeah things got really dark here.

Elie Mystal: We should talk about Major, Lindsey & Africa again.

Joe Patrice: We will, we will actually. So let’s take a quick break then we’re going to get back and today, what we’re going to do is talk about more of law school decisions, we’re very excited about that, but first we’ll take our break.



Joe Patrice: Wondering what lies ahead on the road to success, whether you’re looking to advance your legal career or grow your legal team, Major, Lindsey & Africa can help you would navigate the legal landscape. With more than 35 years of experience in legal recruiting, Major, Lindsey helps law firms and legal departments thrive in today’s ever-changing market and matches lawyers and legal professionals with opportunities where they can flourish. Learn more at  HYPERLINK “”


Joe Patrice: So we’re back. So, we did a show last time, if you haven’t listened to it, we did a show where we — which is a recurring show, we do this every year where we take examples of people who have written us, who are prospective law students with their situations. What schools they’ve been admitted to, whether they should retake the test, whether they should take this scholarship offer or that scholarship offer and we go through them and offer our advice on what they should do.

At the end of the last episode we asked the audience send us more of these, we will gladly chime in, and we received an outpouring of response from you all with a bunch of questions and we thought we should therefore, do an emergency part two here and start going through some of the ones that we’ve gotten, so that you can make your decisions in time for law school.

Elie Mystal: We know that admissions, deadlines and deposit deadlines are coming up. Usually when we do this because of the nature of Above the Law we skew a little bit towards first world problems.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: And we’ve got some of those in this outpouring, but man we’ve also got some tough cases, which really makes me excited. So can we start with one of the real, oh, I don’t know this person should do tough cases.

Joe Patrice: Okay, let’s do it.

Elie Mystal: All right!

Joe Patrice: Which one?

Elie Mystal: Case number 4.

Joe Patrice: Okay and see here. Okay. So this, oh yeah, no. So this is a prospective student wants to begin law school this year, wants to be near the New York City market. Take the LSAT a few times got up to a 150.

Elie Mystal: Apparently it’s a 25-year-old with, some family issues perhaps, yeah, so there was I guess the history of dyslexia in the family, that has been overcome after many struggles the student got themselves to 150 and that’s a high watermark for the student. So they are now choosing between, what is it?

Joe Patrice: Syracuse and Pace. So Syracuse is offering 36,000 as a scholarship providing they maintain a 2.2 GPA, which should be manageable. The alternative is Pace, which is offering 51,000, but they have to maintain a 3.0.

Elie Mystal: Right. The Syracuse GPA requirement for the scholarship is 2.2. Pace for more money is 3.0, and the person says they want to go into public interest, which is I think a thing we will return to a couple of times.

Joe Patrice: Right. And it’s also true that Syracuse would require moving new room and board and everything, it’s getting back and forth the White Plains is a little easier, so wouldn’t have to get that for Pace.

Elie Mystal: And obviously if the person wants to stay near in New York City, they’ve got family here and Syracuse, it’s in the same state but not really ain’t the same thing at all.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: So what do you think?

Joe Patrice: I think Syracuse. I think that yes, there’s increased costs in room at board, but I also think that I pretty sure not that I’ve looked into it, but I think life is cheap in Syracuse, New York. I think that you can get an apartment for $500, that would be just fine probably, that’s probably too low, but in that ballpark I think that you’ve got a better school in Syracuse, I mean, if you can become vice president —

Elie Mystal: Demonstrably better school.

Joe Patrice: If you can become the vice president out of a school, then you can — you can do anything.

Elie Mystal: Subway Joe. Yeah, I’m going with this. And the reason why is because I’m thinking about the students kind of family situation and there’s no accounting for that really, but if they want to stay close to New York City if they’ve got family close to New York City, if kind of being a part of their family and being close to their family is one of the reasons why we’re here kind of thing, then I think that extra closeness White Plains is really not far, I basically commute from White Plains —

Joe Patrice: You do once or twice a week.

Elie Mystal: When I bother to show up here.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: It’s not that bad, it’s a whole lot different than community from Syracuse. You’re getting more money at Pace as well. You’re right that probably gets right sides in the wash of how much more expensive being in and around New York City is than being in and around Syracuse, but I think if your family’s important. If your family is a key factor and you want to stay close to them, Pace is close to them, Syracuse is not.

Joe Patrice: But nothing that’s true. I think I get that. I just think, I also one of those people who believes especially if you have any concerns with academic concentration on it that putting some distance is useful. This is no longer me at home, this is me at school now, I think is a valuable thing that people underplay. So that’s an option.


Elie Mystal: Yeah. So your family isn’t necessarily helping you study that’s for damn sure.

Joe Patrice: Right.

Elie Mystal: And I think you also have in Syracuse’s favor and we didn’t talk about this but the 2.2 versus the 3.0, if you’re already struggling to hit 150 on the LSAT. That does not mean you’re not going to be a good student of the 00:10:21 or anything like that, but it does, it might mean that you have some issues with test taking, which is a skill in and of itself.

If you have some test taking issues, having a softer landing at that 2.2 GPA, it’s something to consider.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: But I think I still come down on the side of pace with the more money and the closer to the family.

Joe Patrice: I come down on Syracuse but also very close. No, no, that’s a very good one.

Elie Mystal: Let’s do case two, because that person just has all kinds of questions that we can get into at a deeper level.

Joe Patrice: That’s so true. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Let’s talk about this. Let’s go through the questions that I’ve kind of identified and we’ll pepper in the person’s actual story as they come in.

How many applications to law schools did you send out?

Elie Mystal: Five.

Joe Patrice: I think I sent out more but not many, right. I think it’s six or seven. This person has sent out a lot more.

Elie Mystal: It’s very different than college, right. In college you kind of cast the white net. You’re not really sure what you want to do, you have a lot of options, you have a lot of different regions of the country you might be interested in. By the time you’re into law school, you should really have at least your region of the country whittled down. You should have a better sense of what your scores are going to get you because the law school is so much more point-click GPA times LSAT equals y, then college admissions.

This person sent out something like 15 applications?

Joe Patrice: It looks like 15, 14 or 15 as I’m like counting over them here.

Elie Mystal: Yeah. So problem one, it’s too many.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Do not send out 15 law school applications.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. You really shouldn’t. I understand given that the, for a lot of people the only application process they ever gone through is that undergrad one, but you really shouldn’t be doing this, because unlike undergrad where you kind of have to have that degree to move on with your life, law school degrees at a certain point, this sounds mean, but some of them actually aren’t worth anything. And so you don’t want to go down this road of I need a safety school, because it’s possible that the safety school you’re talking about is something you shouldn’t be doing anyway. It’s very unsafe to continue that analogy.

So rule number one, probably don’t have 15 applications out there. That would actually make these decisions a little bit easier. But given that there were 15, I think what we want to focus on to get to the specifics are kind of a question of paying elite school full price, mediocre school kind of half price and bad schools for free and what to do.

In this instance, we are kind of between an American University and Temple which are schools that they can go to for cheap if not free, I can’t rate out but for free, there’s kind of the mid-level of the George Washington, Washington and Lee Schools where they are getting some level of money. I think it’s a Washington and Lee is 40,000 and George Washington is 35,000.

Meanwhile, there’s a chance here there because of wait list whatever, they think there’s an opportunity to potentially Georgetown which I guess technically is the lead for 15 or whatever that is now, but make Georgetown great again.

But that’s also an option which probably given where we are, probably is going to be a full price. So what do you do there?

Elie Mystal: So I generally feel like the only law schools that are worth full price unquestionably if you get in you go, are Yale, Stanford and Harvard. See how I get that, I listen to the US news for like once, I did in that order. But you can make an argument. I think that the next tier down CCN, Columbia, Chicago and NYU are also — put like this, I would say that Columbia, NYU and then Chicago are priced fairly, that Harvard, Yale and Stanford are under-priced actually if this is what the market is going to bear.

And then every place, every place else after that, it becomes appropriate to at least start thinking about scholarship, how much money am I getting, how many spots am I trading around or whatever.

So when you say elite schools, is it worth it to go to an elite school at full price. You have really got to be — I’m using the word elite in the most kind of rarefied, adversely possessing the dog part douche bag kind of way of that word.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think that’s right. I think the top six are the real elite. There you can pay — I would say that CCN are priced fairly. So you would pay full price at those. Once you get below that I think you need to start thinking that it may not be totally worth it to pay full price. So yeah.


Elie Mystal: But no, this is a triumphant battle, right?

Joe Patrice: Right.

Elie Mystal: Your next thing is your mediocre school at some scholarship versus your crappy school for free. And I think in that sense you really want the mediocre school for a little bit of money as opposed to the free crappy school, because the free crappy school while free is good, the degree you get might also not be worth anything.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. Because even though you aren’t paying money and I’m going to sound very Suze Orman style here, like but while you aren’t paying any money, what you are doing is spending three years not earning any money and that is a cost in and of itself.

So that’s three years of your potential life savings that are just not happened even if it’s “free tuition”.

So you come out with a degree that is largely useless, you end up in a “JD Advantage job” doing the job you probably could have done even without that JD, now you’re three years behind, that’s all you are.

So you need to think not just is the job I’m going to get able to pay off my loans but is it worth justifying three years of no earnings.

Elie Mystal: One of the things that people ask me sometimes is oh, but Elie, surely you like, you’re happy that you went to law school, you wouldn’t be able to have your job. Now if you didn’t have that legal training, just the legal knowledge has helped you in your non-legal career.

Okay true, given how I’ve decided to pursue my non-legal career. But even when you say that what you’re ignoring is the opportunity cost of me — I don’t know actually practicing journalism for three years as opposed to practicing law for three years, right. Without the law school I couldn’t be a legal commenter on Above the Law, but I don’t know I might be able to use a comma, I might be able to report on pop culture, I might — that’s three years of experience.

It’s not like if I hadn’t gone to law school I just would have spent three years playing Madden football. In fact going to law school allowed me to play more Madden football than I would have been if I had to have a real job.

Joe Patrice: Having known you from a period in your life where you were between jobs, no you still would have played Madden. So I think that you probably did make the right choice. But again, you made the right choice going to Harvard. I don’t think you would be feeling this good if it was — yeah, but Elie you went to name some bad law school.

Elie Mystal: Everybody can think of one on their own, mine is Cooley.

Joe Patrice: Right. And so I think yes, I think that you go to the mid-tier school, yes that’s not a full scholarship and then you got to think, is this worth it, but don’t think is it worth it to go this little bit in debt to get this degree versus the free one. Think of it as, is it worth this versus not going at all, because I really do think you probably are putting yourself behind an 8 Ball not working and then getting one of those degrees.

Elie Mystal: The other problem this person has and it’s going to come up, it comes up again and again with people who e-mail us is the wait list. We recently did some reporting on how the wait list is being used more and more to — the wait lists are not for you, right, they’re not to help you, as a prospective student, they’re only there to help the law school, they’re only there to help the university, they’re putting people on the wait list because they want to make sure they can fill their class sizes up.

But it’s not like they haven’t already admitted enough people to their class, right. They’re just using the wait list as a hedge against an unusual amount, an unusual lack of matriculation. They have got their numbers, they have got their lists, they have their expectations, they admit enough people to fill their seats assuming X percentage decide to go elsewhere, the wait list is only there if X+1 percentage decides to go someplace else, which is basically it’s like, you’re not really going to get in off the wait list, like the wait list just not — some of you might, some of you might hit the goddamn lotto. That doesn’t mean that you kind of plan your life around getting into a place off the wait list.

Joe Patrice: No I think that’s very true. It’s pitched always as though it’s for the student, it really isn’t, it’s the hedge, and you should not assume that you’re going to get off of that and I’m just kind of repeating everything because I agreed with it.

Yeah, it’s — don’t make the decisions based on that and also don’t make decisions based on that, and why you shouldn’t make decisions based on that is because the places that you’re in are going to start charging you money to stay on their list. It’s just kind of adding insult to injury when you’re saying I’m going to lay out a hundred bucks to stay on this school’s list while I wait for another school to make a decision, just why.

Elie Mystal: You’ve got a bone, go bury it, stop waiting for a better bone.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: Without going into all 15 schools, we are obviously suggesting this person, we will e-mail her later go to the mid-tier school that’s giving you half money, do not try to get into a school off the wait list and do not go to a diploma mill just because it’s free.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s right.

Elie Mystal: Do you want to go case one or case —

Joe Patrice: Let’s do one, because I think it will be quick, because it hits on some issues we discussed on our previous one. This is a person who is on the West Coast wants to move back to the East Coast, wants to do public interest, Penn or NYU, public interest scholarships at both, what do you think.


Elie Mystal: I’m just going to do the general don’t go to school to do public  interest like there everybody says that because it sounds great, oh my God, I’m going to be like a good a person. No you’re going to need to make money and at some point, somebody’s — if you go to one of these; especially; if you’re going to Penn or NYU at some point somebody’s going to offer you a lot of money.

Now maybe three years from now this person four years from now, when they offer you a lot of money, you will still say no, no, no I want to be poor and do good work and that’d be great and everybody will like applaud you, but making decisions assuming that poverty is going to be what you want to do three or four years from now, is not the best.

Assume that you’re going to want to like own a car and if you can figure out a way to do that while also being in the public interest, bully for you. But assume that you’re going to kind of react like a normal human as opposed to react like a Justice League warrior.

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

Elie Mystal: That’s at Penn.

Joe Patrice: Yeah see I’d go in while you still, but I went to NYU so I understand.

Elie Mystal: And I’ve looked at a preview of the Above the Law, law school rankings.

Joe Patrice: — which that’s very fair although Above the Law, law school rankings are based a lot of key factor in them is affordability, which in this instance is off the table which then changes that equation.

Elie Mystal: And you know what, I take it back, I’m going to go with NYU because I forgot Penn is in the doghouse for a year.

Joe Patrice: Oh yeah, yeah. They’re in the penalty box because of Amy Wax.

Elie Mystal: Yeah, they are on the Amy Wax penalty box for a year.

Joe Patrice: All right what are we going to do now?

Elie Mystal: Let’s go down south baby.

Joe Patrice: Let’s go south, much like the devil, we’re going to go down to Georgia and nothing, there was no reaction to that, thanks. All right, okay. I just thought that was funny and all I heard was.

Yeah okay, so, Georgia, wants to work in the Atlanta area, Georgia State with a $29,000 scholarship or wait-listed right now at UGA, let’s get over our waitlist thing let’s assume there’s a reasonable chance here. So or UGA where it’s probably more expensive what do we do there, now, that’s a state school so even if it’s full price that actually might well be a reasonable price.

Elie Mystal: Right. The person says they don’t have any desire to work in big law, so again this is one of these public interests type of people although. I don’t think this person was specifically public interest, it was more just like, they just want to work in Atlanta.

Joe Patrice: Yeah very much Atlanta, very interested in public service but that’s a preference not a guarantee and public service, maybe it’s just me, I’m imparting my own thoughts. When people say public interest, I think very, I’m going to work for some non-profit. When they say public service, I can envision I’m going to also be a lawyer at the EEOC or some government jobs. So I think that there’s a chance that this is a little more than just a non-profit barely making anything.

Elie Mystal: The thing this person has going for them is that they already know where they want to be, they seem pop committed to Atlanta. To me, when you’re dealing with a secondary market, I think Atlanta qualifies a secondary as opposed to tertiary, right.

Joe Patrice: Oh absolutely, yeah.

Elie Mystal: When dealing with the secondary market, if you can go to the best state school in that secondary market that makes you in that market, like that becomes incredibly important, right. So put it like this, if the person got into Georgia State versus paying a bunch of extra money to go to Georgia, but really want to work in Texas, I’d say take the money and go to Georgia State and see what happens.

But if this person is super-focused on Atlanta, going to the very best school in Georgia is going to mean something to the people, to the clients, to the whole network in that city probably a little bit more than Georgia State.

Now Georgia State, I mean it got some connections, right, you will be able to draw clients through that, you will have a referral network there too. If you’re hyper-focused on Atlanta, Georgia State is not a bad option, it’s just going to the best state school in your state is usually the better option.

Joe Patrice: I think that’s generally true. With that said, I think that Georgia State is perfectly fine here especially given the money involved. I think that part of it is just having a preference for public interest work as opposed to a requirement and I think that’s a big difference because the real key to going to UGA over Georgia State is the networking, it’s the most prestigious one in the state and blah, blah, blah but if you’re willing to go to one of the firms, going to Georgia State and doing well and getting a job at a firm that’s where your network begins.

You can start making your connections there, you can get in at whatever and start meeting people there, that can create your network to. So sure find out — wait it out see what’s going to happen with Georgia. But I feel that Georgia State is probably okay.


Elie Mystal: And especially now we can bring a reality back in where you would probably not going get in off the waitlist at UGA. Georgia State is a fine school with the money that he’s talking about, Georgia State is fine. Let’s go from this hyper-focused on one city to the crazy person who like isn’t sure if he can work on the moon.

Joe Patrice: No, no, no I don’t think —

Elie Mystal: Mars is out there as a possibility.

Joe Patrice: I don’t think it’s that crazy. It makes total sense to me but I understand how when you got the e-mail, you’re like what are we talking about. So alright so laying it out we’re talking about wanting to work in either New York, DC you don’t think those are two crazy different things, right, New York or DC or Arizona.

Elie Mystal: Those are three completely different places.

Joe Patrice: I don’t view New York and DC as two different — I mean they are different. But if somebody said to me, I want to work in either New York or DC, I wouldn’t think well you need to make up your mind, I think that’s a thing that a lot of people applying for jobs do.

So I’m viewing that as one thing and Arizona is another. And then you think, well why do they have two different kinds of paths where they want their lives to be, we’re talking about a non-traditional student who’s older and has reached a point where they’re like I would be interested in that, but I could easily also see myself running out my shortened career over what some people might have in a place where I know I’m comfortable and do that.

Elie Mystal: I mean well I don’t get it because as an older person myself, I’ve lost the mental elasticity to like not know which toilet paper I want, right. Like I want the Sharman’s, I don’t want anything else. I’ve tried all the other ones, I just want the Sharman’s now because I’m old, I’m about to turn, do you know, I’m turning 40 next week.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, no I know. But you already crossed the kind of Andy Rooney corner a while ago. The rest of us though still understand that they’re different — like I could absolutely see if I were making a decision today coming out of law school whether I could, if I had come directly from Oregon and I had a chance and I was like oh, should I work go to NYU and try and work in New York or just stay out here, I think that’s — if I were making that decision at a 40 level that would be a very different decision as it was, I was like screw this I’m going to New York. So I could see it.

So let’s get past that. I do think though that if this were a situation where it was I’m  22 and I can’t decide between these, I’m like get some focus first. But this I find a little bit different. So the questions are so we got Emory.

Elie Mystal: Which is in neither New York, DC or Arizona, just pointing that out.

Joe Patrice: Right. And so we got Emory, we got Alabama and we got Arizona. Now Arizona is full ride, the other two have fairly substantial scholarships.

Elie Mystal: Arizona is the only place that works in the matching game that we’re trying to play.

Joe Patrice: Right and I think that’s true. I think that Emory is probably a nice, like a better name school, there’s an opportunity potentially to get into a New York market there or at least Atlanta market, where you could then maybe transfer or whatever.

But at the end of the day, I feel like if one of these schools were a New York school and there is some like Cardozo element but like I don’t think that’s worth necessarily uprooting if your interest is a real New York job, I think that one, you can get the New York jobs, but it’s not worth moving for the kind of jobs you’re going to get out of that.

If you were like, I’m also in at Fordham then this is a discussion, but I think that if that’s where we are, then the real question is Arizona versus these other places that ultimately going to cost you money if you’re comfortable in Arizona I think you stay in Arizona.

Elie Mystal: Yeah I think that this is second year we have done on the podcast or third year we have done on the podcast, certainly eighth or maybe seventh or eighth year we’ve done it on the site, I have never once recommended Emory and I do not think it’s going to be — I’m going to break that straight today.

And I think it’s because like this person, the value proposition of Emory always seems to be people who are in the south who want to go north. And I’d never understand that. Emory never seems to give you enough bang for your bunk, we live in New York, we are in DC all the time. You rarely bump into talking to a Debevoise & Plimpton lawyer or you were talking earlier about you worked at Cleary. You don’t bump into lawyers at those firms who went to Emory.

Joe Patrice: My friend who lives in New York who went to Emory to get their law degree is an investment banker, so.

Elie Mystal: So yeah, it doesn’t mean Emory is a bad school in anyway, it’s just what people want Emory to be and what Emory is, just seems that — there seems to be a big disconnect. So, not Emory. Alabama, I think that’s more competitive in terms of cost savings here.


But of the three cities that this person said they want to be in, Tuscaloosa was not one of them, so —

Joe Patrice: And that’s not going to translate to New York or DC in any real way.

Elie Mystal: I don’t think it translates across the damn Mississippi River, much less to New York DC.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: So that seems like it’s out. Arizona, this is Arizona State?

Joe Patrice: No Arizona.

Elie Mystal: Arizona, it’s UA. Arizona is in a state where he said that he was willing to work.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Elie Mystal: So let’s start there.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. For the record I blinded all of the genders on this for our discussion purposes, so I actually know what they all are, so when you hear us mixing them up repeatedly if you’re listening and you’re these people, that’s why Elie doesn’t necessarily know any of these.

Elie Mystal: And I like to —

Joe Patrice: Deleted them all.

Elie Mystal: And because of the anonymity I actually also like to switch my pronouns up.

Joe Patrice: Right, yeah absolutely. But I’m explaining for if anybody’s like that sounds like me but yeah. All right, so finally let’s do our last for —

Elie Mystal: Let’s do me, what’s actually do me?

Joe Patrice: Near and dear to your heart. So this person has gotten in at Harvard, but is on the wait list at Stanford.

Elie Mystal: They went to Harvard undergrad?

Joe Patrice: Yeah, right, right, right. I mean that’s true too, which you also did and you — but so let’s just do you, which is functionally the same. So what do you do here?

Elie Mystal: Right. So I want to do my little thing, right, about how Stanford hates me for reasons I cannot understand. I applied to 11 colleges, I got into 10 not Stanford. I applied to five law schools, I got into four including Yale, not Stanford, why? I got wait-listed like the first for college, I just did not get in Stanford, and for law school I got wait-listed for Stanford. What the hell? Am I not allowed to be like warm, like what —

So part of this guy’s question was also, should he expect to get in off the waitlist at Stanford? No, apparently not, you should not expect that.

Joe Patrice: Amazing. I’ll add to that also. Well you already talked about the waitlist issue that it’s largely for — if there’s whole — Stanford is a smaller class, so the odds that they aren’t going to get their people are even smaller.

Elie Mystal: If he somehow magically or she magically got in off the waitlist and was actually choosing between Harvard and Stanford. A, number one, I still go back to where do you want to live? Now —

Joe Patrice: Which in this case, California.

Elie Mystal: Now Harvard and Stanford are a little bit different insofar as that you could just live there for three years and then still go kind of wherever you want in the country, but that’s still three years to your life that you got to live somewhere and having lived this guy like I said already went to Harvard undergrad. So he’s already lived for four years in Cambridge. I myself lived for seven years in Cambridge and let me tell you, that’s hell. Cambridge is not a fun place to live for seven goddamn years of your life. It’s cold, it’s racist, like that’s not a place that you want.

So I take wherever a Palo Alto for three years, especially since he’s already gotten the Harvard experience any freaking day in terms of just like where does one want to live.

Joe Patrice: Cool.

Elie Mystal: In terms of quality of school, I mean it really — I like to think that one of the reasons that I was never deemed Stanford material is because they’re not stupid right like Stanford has a different kind of –

Joe Patrice: Vibe.

Elie Mystal: Vibe, right than Harvard. Because Harvard is — Harvard Law School is so much bigger, it does lead to a certain level of competitiveness that is not found in the other peer schools because they are so much smaller. So Yale and Stanford do have a more kind of collegiality mentality about things.

There is so – there is so very few of you, you kind of are all up in each other’s business all the time, whereas Harvard easier to hate people and burn bridges. And have enemies and all this kind of stuff, and that some people thrive in that environment.

You know it’s an urban legend right of the going to the library to check out a book and pages have been ripped out of the case book to prevent other people from studying, and the reason why that’s an urban legend is not because they don’t have the balls to do it, it’s just everybody can afford their own books. Like, cannot go to library.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. To go back to our earlier discussion, the only place I’ve ever heard a story of like a real person, a person story of that actually happening was Emory. So, all right. So with it –

Elie Mystal: If you get into Stanford off the waitlist, I would go, but if you don’t and you probably won’t, you can do well for yourself with the Harvard Law degree.

Joe Patrice: Despite what Elie said. So all right, let’s wrap this up. Thank you everybody for listening. You should be subscribing to the podcast, you should be giving it reviews, you should be talking it up, yelling it at the top of your lungs, off the top of your roof so that we can get more people listening.

You can follow us at, I am @JosephPatrice, he is @ElieNYC. You should read Above the Law. You should watch MSNBC, because you’ll occasionally see Elie talking these last couple of weeks. He has been very, very active in explaining how Michael Cohen has screwed everybody. So check that out and yeah, I think that’s everything.

We will be back very soon with another episode. Until now, good luck to everybody. If we didn’t cover your decision thing that you sent us, I’ll send you an email with my thoughts here soon.

Elie Mystal: And also if we have more, send them on in, and we’ll try to — we might cover some more on the site or cover some more in our future podcast.

Joe Patrice: Exactly. Always send them in, and send in other questions too. Hey, we always looking for things to discuss and grind your gears about.

Elie Mystal: I mean mailbag, yeah.

Joe Patrice: Yeah mailbag. There we go. All right. Talk to everybody later. Bye.


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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: May 8, 2018
Podcast: Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law
Category: Law School
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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