Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 22, 2011 in The 3L Life
Welcome to the very first entry in the new “The 3L Life” category!
True, I’m not technically a 3L for another 1.5 months yet. But since I’m now all signed up for 3L classes I figured this would be as good an entry as any to make it official on the blog
As you could probably guess from yesterday’s entry on my Summer 2011 classes, Monday was registration day for the 2Ls here at NCCU Law. It was also the first semester the 3Ls did not register, and it showed in the course availability — while 3 seconds last semester was all it took for me to get frozen out of several classes I wanted, I overslept yesterday, logged in to the registration system about 5 minutes late, but still got everything I needed
Fall 2011 Schedule: almost done!
It’s also shaping up to be a dog of a semester as I knock out more of my required courses
I’ll be starting my Tuesday and Thursday mornings with our Fundamentals of Income Taxation class. Just about every 3L I’ve talked to has told me to stay far away from Professor Tax, some heatedly so, but this is the only Tax section I could take that would fit with the other classes so I’m rolling the dice.
On the opposite end of the day, the earliest Sales and Secured Transactions class I can take that doesn’t conflict with something else starts at 6:00pm M/T/H
Sales has a reputation as one of our hardest 3L classes, so combining that (I subject I already know I don’t like) with Professor Tax (who will already be teaching another subject I already know I don’t like) is going to make for interesting / stressed out times.
The rest of my classes are all electives though, and split to complement the similarly-competing interests in my summer schedule. Employment Discrimination is taught by MDG and will cover the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and related hiring issues that might come up if I went the in-house counsel route with a tech firm. The class also goes toward our Civil Rights & Constitutional Law concentration that I’m working to knock out.
Appellate Advocacy is a class I originally planned to take this Spring, but dropped when I realized 2L trial team was going to be running my life. I’m going to give it another shot in the Fall because it’s a required co-requisite in order to participate in our annual moot court competitions, which I’ve developed a small but persistent interest in trying. Professor AppAd spent most of his legal career working for the Attorney General’s Office on both trial and appellate cases so it should make for an interesting class.
The last course on the list is our Criminal Prosecution Clinic class, which is the prerequisite for our field clinic in the Durham County Courthouse next Spring. It’s also taught by Professor AppAd, and it’s a course I’ve been planning to take this class ever since the 1L trial team last year. I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping it though — for some reason it’s not included among the clinical programs that apply to the Civil Rights & Constitutional Law concentration, so if I can’t petition successfully to have it apply I’ll have to look for something else.
The biggest upshot to the schedule is that I’ve got no classes at all on Fridays along with a huge gap in the middle of the day for SBA business. At the very least I’ll never have an excuse to fall behind on classwork
From the schedule-related archives:
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 21, 2011 in The 2L Life
One of the downsides to still having no clue what I want to do after I pass the bar is that I’ve got a long list of classes I’m still interested in taking and not enough time to actually take them.
Summer 2011: A little bit of everything
Soooo I decided to sign up for my 6th consecutive year of summer school classes
You can get a sense of my indecisiveness just from the course subjects:
- Plea Bargaining: Taught by the same professor who taught my ADR Practices course (and from whom I earned my first bona fide A in law school), I’m taking this class to complement the other coursework I’ve already knocked out if I end up going the criminal prosecution route. My uneducated guess is that this will be functionally similar to the other ADR courses I took last year, but with a negotiating eye focused more toward evidence and admissibility issues to provide the leverage in negotiations.
- Intellectual Property: On the other end of the “what am I going to do with my life?” spectrum, this class will be my first dip into the intellectual property side of things to see if I’d actually like it. NCCU Law has a fairly wide array of IP-related courses — in addition to this one and the USPTO Clinic below, we’ve got courses on patents, licensing and technology transfers, bioethics, and several others — that I never really considered taking until I got an internship in the tech arena. So I’m figuring I need to perform some due diligence and see if this could be an enjoyable option for me
- U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Practice & Procedure: Since my undergrad degree was in computer science, I’m able to sit for the patent bar without any further technical education if I decide to take it. This course is the classroom prerequisite for anyone taking our USPTO Clinic in the Fall/Spring, so I wanted to get some exposure to how the USPTO works just in case I decide to dabble in IP. It’s only 1 credit and taken pass/fail but will (hopefully) provide some useful insights.
- Civil Rights: Like my Race & the Law class last summer, this is one of those courses I’m taking just because the subject matter is interesting to me. Where Race & the Law focused on the modern Constitutional implications of our country’s historical race-centric jurisprudence, Civil Rights takes a look at the Constitutional questions surrounding federal civil rights litigation. It’s definitely a hot topic here in North Carolina, from the new school assignment policies of the Wake County School Board, to upcoming legislative redistricting by the state’s first Republican-led legislature since Reconstruction, and a variety of other issues in between. It’s actually got me thinking about pursuing our law school’s concentration in civil rights and constitutional law. Should be fun
Time-wise, the schedule is somewhat similar to what I took last summer with late afternoon and night classes on Monday / Tuesday / Thursday. The upshot is that there’s no Friday or weekend classes like I had with ADR last year, so that gives me time to catch up on anything I need to catch up on. It also leaves me free during the day once I figure out what I’m going to do internship-wise, be it heading back to I-Cubed or working pro bono for a local DA’s office (or something else entirely).
It should be an interesting summer
From the schedule-related archives:
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 18, 2011 in Randomness
Earlier tonight I swung by UNCCH to grab Coldstone with one of my Legal Eagle colleagues and talk about life around the law school.
And I realized in the process I’ve now voluntarily set foot in Chapel Hill 5 days in a row… something I’m pretty sure didn’t even happen at the height of my UNCASG campus visits.
As a proud Wolfpack alumnus… I feel dirty
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 17, 2011 in Student Government
Officially turned in my candidacy form a couple hours ago.
In two weeks I will either be NCCU Law‘s next SBA President, or one of the best-dressed losers the school has ever had
Cross your fingers for me…
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 16, 2011 in The 2L Life
The main reason I signed up for NCCU Law‘s Scientific Evidence course this semester was because it’s being taught by Professor DVLaw, a challenging professor but one who focuses on making sure students know the material and how to apply it. She invited the class to sit in on a national conference for judges titled “Developmental Forensics of Children Adjudicated by Courts” where she is one of the attorneys moderating today’s panel on genetic testing of minors.
I decided to head over there after I was done tutoring the 1Ls in CrimLaw. And let’s just say I wasn’t impressed.
On the positive side, the place was packed wall-to-wall with a wide variety of people from all over the place. I got to meet judges from North Carolina, New York, Texas, California, Maryland, and several places in between.
But on the negative side, I came to the realization that judges are really just old law students
One session debated a hypothetical involving a 16-year-old who was pregnant with a fetus potentially carrying a fatal gene, with the issue being how the judge would rule on a request to have the fetus tested against the mother’s will based on a variety of variables. You had the “gunner” types who felt the need to raise their hands and talk at every single opportunity. There were the judges who gave long-winded answers that didn’t actually address the question. The ones who were too timid to actually say anything publicly, but would lean over and comment to the people on either side of them. The political ones who always gave the same answer no matter the change in underlying facts and case law. The list goes on.
The panel discussion focused on a child with a predilection for pyromania, committing arson occasionally, frying a cat in a microwave, and so on, and asking how the judge would rule on a prosecutor’s motion to have the child tested for a “violence” gene or some similar genetic marker. Here there wasn’t even that much discussion of the law — one of the judges turned to one of the science experts on hand to ask if such a gene existed, asking “I just need you to give me the science and then I can make a ruling.” The scientist goes “for the sake of argument, assume there is”… at which point every single judge in the room said they’d order the testing.
Maybe it’s because I come from a science-oriented background at N.C. State, but that kind of reflexive judicial fealty to experts makes me apprehensive. Science isn’t law; while we might have “settled law” on some issues, we rarely ever have “settled science”. You don’t just have to take my word for it either: you can read the 352-page indictment of forensic sciences issued by the National Academy of Sciences a couple years ago. My hope was that the folks in the black robes would be more circumspect in their decision-making.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly thankful for the opportunity to go and it’s probably important for me to know how judges look at experts if I’m going to be practicing in a courtroom. But about all it did was shatter any misconception I had about judicial competence — judges are just law students like us, aged a couple decades
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 15, 2011 in Student Government
I know I promised law school-related content in my anti-texting rant yesterday, but there was a slight change of plans — because earlier today I got an email that my t-shirts were done!
Last month I decided I was going to run for President of the SBA here at NCCU Law, considering the millions of dollars in budget cuts expected to come down from our state legislature. Our law school needs strong student advocates now more than ever (something I’ve got a little bit of experience doing).
Decided to go for a more-professional campaign look
The catch of course is that I have to actually get elected first… and few things terrify more than campaigning
I know, it’s a weird fear for an aspiring litigator. After all, isn’t a trial nothing more than an attorney campaigning for his client and trying to convince jurors to “vote” for him or her by returning a favorable verdict?
But for some reason campaigning has just never sat well with me. First there’s the feeling that I’m intruding into people’s lives by asking for their support when they’ve got better things to do. Then there’s the hubris factor: running for office is tantamount to declaring “I’m the best person for this job”, but how much of that is accurate versus my ego just convincing me of it?
And then there’s my own 50-50 electoral record at the law school, winning the SBA Treasurer slot but getting beat for SBA rep back during 1L year
We’ll see how it all shakes out. I think I’ve got a solid platform, and have about 50 people who’ve agreed to help with the campaign (about 10% of the school) so things are starting to roll along. Just have to get out there and be the advocate I’m being trained to be…
I’ll keep y’all posted on how it turns out. Have a great night!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 14, 2011 in Randomness
…to everyone with whom I’ve ever shared a meeting, meal, or car ride where I incessantly looked down at my BlackBerry and *tappity tap tap*‘d away at my phone rather than enjoying the presence of your company
I was recently reminded of how profoundly discourteous the practice is and how annoying I must have been — and while I’ve surely racked up enough bad karma that I’ll likely be getting repaid for years, I want you to know I truly am sorry and hope you’ll forgive me
Law school-related content to resume tomorrow Have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 12, 2011 in The 2L Life
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here at law:/dev/null, largely due to spending Spring Break this past week trying to get caught up on life post-trial team season. I’m still not there yet, but I figured if I waited to post until I was caught up on classwork I wouldn’t have any readers left
So what’s been going on over the past week and a half here in Legal Eagle territory? Here’s a bulleted rundown:
- Wednesday (03/02/11): Finally had my nuked Gmail restored… in its entirety I have to admit I was both surprised and impressed, and I’ll concede I was wrong in my entry predicting the worst. After making sure all of my mail was restored / downloaded / backed up / etc, I stayed up until 2am-ish to make sure I was fully packed and my trial team binder was ready for the AAJ competition I was brought in on.
- Thursday (03/03/11): Skipped classes to head to the airport, then flew down to Atlanta GA for the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition regionals. The first round wasn’t until Friday night, so I spent the day with the team checking out the city. We had lunch at the Underground‘s Georgia Peach Restaurant & Lounge — some of the best barbecue I’ve had outside of North Carolina, and their peach-blended tea was delicious too.
- Friday (03/04/11): The 2L team’s first round in the AAJ STAC was against the 3Ls from WFU Law. There were some initial jitters when we found out I had already met the presiding judge — the coach of the GSU Law team Christie and I dismantled at the TYLA NTC — but since we didn’t really know how to go about asking for a recusal (and didn’t even know if doing so would even be appropriate given AAJ’s chronic shortage of judges) we just went ahead and did our thing. EIC and M&M were counsel for the defense on that case and turned in a top-notch performance. It provided a big confidence boost to Tinkerbell and I heading into the Saturday rounds.
- Saturday (03/05/11): And with that confidence in-hand, we torched the next two teams we faced on Saturday Tinkerbell and I were counsel for the Plaintiff for both rounds, and we first went up against 2Ls from I’m-not-entirely-sure-where. The results could be summed up like this: Tinkerbell was so devastating on cross-examination, their lead counsel blurted “DAMN!” in exasperation when yet another one of his objections was (properly) overruled I also got to deliver my first “split” closing, which went over well with the jury both in its execution and content.
NCCU Law's 2L and 3L AAJ Trial Teams
We followed that beatdown with a match against the 2Ls from WFU Law, in what was hands-down the toughest match we had. Their cross-examination was sharp, and it seemed like every evidentiary ruling made by the judge was going in their direction whether it was warranted or not. Tinkerbell finally shook them off their game during her cross-examination of the Defendant, who started fabricating facts under the pressure. I was sufficiently heated at that point that I was out for blood when it came time for closing arguments, and proceeded to beat the Defense over the head with their own inconsistencies. It was all very satisfying Afterwards we headed to a post-competition reception, then went back to the hotel and played spades at its downstairs bar until last call.
- Sunday (03/06/11): We found out our 2L team came in 7th place overall and only the Top 4 would advance to the semis, so Sunday got spent checking out the Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, and then packing up to head back to the Bull City. Before leaving the hotel we also ran into MDG… which was vaguely reminiscent of a 1L nightmare I used to have where I tried to hide from my teachers but they always seemed to find me no matter where I went.
- Monday & Tuesday (03/07-08/11): Both of these days get lumped together because they were both spent knocking out life necessities — several loads of laundry, apartment cleaning, turning in travel-related paperwork, and so on.
- Wednesday (03/09/11): Had a business lunch with the Pickle Princess, who I hadn’t seen since the April festivities celebrating the end of my second term as UNCASG President. After catching up on how our respective lives had progressed over the past year, I gave a tour of my alma mater to a quartet of her students who were participating in a FFA competition we were hosting. Turns out one of them even wants to go to law school eventually If I ever get sick of the whole “being a lawyer” thing, I think I’d really love being a booster for N.C. State and for NCCU Law
- Thursday & Friday (03/10-11/11): These two get lumped together too, since they were basically split between watching the opening games of the ACC tournament and trying to catch up on all the mounds of schoolwork that amassed themselves between focusing on TYLA, focusing on SBA, and focusing on AAJ.
Which brings us to today: catching up on law school work, catching up with law school friends, and catching up on the law school blog
God willing I’ll be able to resume my somewhat-normal life now that I’ll have some free hours again, which in turn should (hopefully) mean more work around the blawgosphere — keep your fingers crossed!
And until then, have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 1, 2011 in Technology
Don’t have much to write tonight y’all — operating off 2 hours of sleep and just got home from NCCU Law about a half hour ago, so I’m completely beat and ready for bed
I’m also still locked out of my Gmail account, just like I’ve been for the past two days now
Fingers crossed that I’ll wake up tomorrow and have all my stuff miraculously restored so I can promptly back everything up and contemplate de-Google-fying my lifestyle…