16

Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 29, 2011 in Unsolicited Commentary

The first batch of 1L grades got posted Tuesday here at NCCU Law… in turn prompting the first batch of telephone calls from panicked 1Ls worried about their performance :beatup:

First, breathe.

Second, repeat after me: “My 1L grades don’t matter.”

Yeah I said it. Your 1L grades do. not. matter.

I’ve mentioned before that NCCU Law is one of the few law schools that still follows a strict-C median, and also academically dismisses any student who falls below a 2.0 at the end of any year (all the way up through 3L/4LE). Although I’m not a fan of the dismissal policy, my personal $.02 is that the low C-curve helps produce better-prepared attorneys; apparently I’m part of an “old school” worldview that looks at grades as providing feedback primarily to the student, not to the outside world.

Unfortunately the C curve also means folks who coasted through undergrad with no serious criticism and near-perfect GPAs (often thanks to B+ curves that are becoming the norm nationwide) are only now learning they can’t be superior at everything (cue the :eek:  faces).

 

“But TDot, you don’t understand! I made the top 10%!”

Congratulations! I really, truly, seriously am proud of you (seriously)… and it still doesn’t matter ;)  Yes, you now get to grade on to law review without having to do these agonizing BlueBook exercises. But they don’t give out bonus points in 2L and 3L classes just because you did well as a 1L. The material you’ll be learning is more expansive, the training wheels are taken off, and in the electives you’ll be taking as a 2L you’re going to be held to the same standards as everyone else — including us 3Ls in class with you :*

 

“But TDot, you don’t understand! I’m only at [some number ≥2.0] and I will never get into BigLaw and my life is ruined and omg omg omg!”

A few points here: (1) it doesn’t matter; (2) 90% of us didn’t make the top 10% either (and are doing just fine might I add); and (3) if the blawgosphere is to be believed, there are Ivy League kids with perfect GPAs who still can’t get into BigLaw… yet we’ve got several classmates and graduates doing just that, including at least one out West whose 1L GPA was below mine. The position was advertised on the jobs board, she submitted her résumé and an impeccably-edited writing sample, snagged an interview and took it from there.

While some firms will ignore applicants below a certain threshold GPA, many provide interviews based on factors beyond raw metrics.1 If you really do want to work in BigLaw (I’m judging you for it, jsyk :P ) then your work experience over this summer, coupled with your willingness to network and prepare an immaculate writing sample, will play a bigger role in the 2L job hunt than your 1L GPA.

Oh, I forgot: you also have 2 more years to bring your GPA up ;)

 

“But TDot, you don’t understand! I’m only at [some number <2.0] and I will never make it through law school and my life is ruined and omg omg omg!”

OK so in your case your 1L GPA will have a bit more of an impact, something I saw first-hand as most of my good friends during 1L year didn’t make it back for 2L year. But, if you still want to become an attorney and you’re dedicated to making it happen, these 1L grades still don’t matter.

First, figure out what happened; some of you had difficult personal or family situations that were beyond your control, some of you dug a hole in the Fall that was too deep to climb out of, some of you just had a bad day. Whatever the reason, use this upcoming year to get things squared away. Pick up your exams from your professors and see where things went wrong; if writing was a weakness, work with a writing coach. If it was something personal, do what you can to resolve the situation(s) or at least minimize the impact they’ll have on you in the future. Tie up loose ends. And generally position yourself to make a compelling case to the Admissions Committee when you appeal for readmission next year.

—===—

The main thing to remember, regardless of which of these categories you happen to be in, is that nothing is impossible. You’re reading a blog written by a guy who was booted from college as a sophomore, boasting a 1.x GPA and a $16K-ish debt to my future alma mater. I got back, got graduated, got into law school — and had an almost-criminal amount of fun along the way once I stopped fearing failure :D

And I still found a (well-paid) law job even after my 1L grades were safely below the Top 10%. Don’t believe me? Check my transcripts for yourself:

There’s nothing any of us can do to change any of our grades — so why stress about them? :P  Instead of letting your grades run your life, do what needs to be done so you run your life.

Trust me: if I can do it you can too ;)  Good night y’all!

  1. As counterintuitive as it sounds, this is particularly true in a bad economy. It’d take a whole ‘nother entry to explain the rationale, but the short version is that information asymmetry between applicant and employer gets worse as the ratio of applicants-to-jobs goes up, pushing employers to rely on non-quantitative criteria like recommendations from existing employees or other people of trust. []
  2. More F’s than A’s: 13 A’s, 12 B’s, 11 C’s, 4 D’s, 16 F’s. Plus a 4:3 pass/fail ratio in my credit-only classes. And I still had a trio of options for law school. []

Tags: , , ,

 
2

An inauspicious start to the summer

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 23, 2011 in The 3L Life

For whatever reason, Mondays are the red-headed stepchildren of the week. I always thought it was an ill-deserved reputation; after all, Monday signals the start of the work week and all the cool stuff that happens when people work on doing cool stuff.

The popular perception of Mondays

Besides, if nothing else it means you can start making money again for another 5 days ;)

But, every now and then, I can see why people hate Mondays…

  • I’ll be volunteering as a counselor for NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp, where 2Ls and 3Ls spend a week teaching 7th-11th graders about our legal system. The volunteers can either get paid or get course credit, and I opted for the 1-credit over the $$$… only to discover that getting the course credit will entail assignments on the side and 3 extra class meetings on either Wednesdays or Thursdays :beatup:
  • Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, since there was an open spot in my Thursday schedule. Except that my USPTO class has now randomly been moved from Tuesdays — where it was scheduled in our course registration system, and around which I’ve planned my summer work and travel schedules — to Thursdays. (A change that just got announced when? Today.)
  • And I still don’t have any Spring 2L grades… :mad:
  • Aside from the academic drama, I also somehow managed to sprain my left thumb this weekend. The pain got bad enough that I decided to go buy one of those immobilizer things you can find at just about any big box or department or drug store in the country (theoretically). So I go to the Super Target closest to my house to save gas, just to discover they only sell them in Small/Medium sizes instead of a one-size-fits-most style :surprised:  They suggest the Walgreen’s that’s on the way home to my apartment… which I visit, and which is out of them entirely. By the time I’m done the Rite Aid up the street is now closed. The closest Walmart is out-of-stock too. So I end up having to drive to a Walmart in a neighboring county until I can finally get my hands on one, wasting more gas than if I had just gone there in the first place and burning an hour of my life in the process. :crack:
  • And the whole trek takes just long enough that, by the time I get close to my apartment, there’s a car accident blocking both westbound lanes of Fayetteville Street nearest to the apartment complex — the only portion of roadway that can be used to get into the complex, since there’s a median with trees blocking the entrance from the eastbound lanes ::headdesk::

Yes, I realize things could be worse; that could have been me in the car accident, or I could have broken my thumb instead of spraining it (or I could have all my grades but they turn out to be F’s :beatup: ).

But I’m still adding Mondays to my list of things to avoid in the future… :mad:

Hope Monday went better for the rest of y’all out there — have a good night! :)

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

How to Successfully Lose Half Your Readers (and Gain 10 Pounds)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 22, 2011 in Randomness

Good evening folks! :D

With the first summer session here at NCCU Law getting underway tomorrow, today got spent tying up loose ends before the back-to-school grind resumes. And in the process I re-discovered some of the effects of final exam season: over the last 3 weeks of my 2L Spring semester, we lost about half of our regular readers as law:/dev/null has gone un-updated… and I managed to pack on another 10lbs around my waistline.1 :beatup:

So while all the cool kids make New Year’s Resolutions about getting in shape and other worthwhile endeavors, in honor of my procrastinating tendencies I’m making those resolutions 5 months late instead: effective today I’m improving my diet, exercising more, and finally posting an update to the blog ;)

My predecessor Preston Mitchum and I transitioned over the NCCU Law SBA this month

Here’s a quick rundown of where I’ve been the past few weeks:

  • I finally became a 3L
  • …then un-became a 3L, as my Scientific Evidence professor unexpectedly gave the entire class 3 days to turn in an extra assignment — and I proceeded to sequester myself in my apartment like a hermit until it was finished
  • Re-became a 3L again, for real this time :spin:
  • Took over as President of our Student Bar Association
  • Amped up my work schedule at I-Cubed to 40hrs a week… right before realizing I probably can’t continue at that pace when summer school starts ::headdesk::
  • Watched the Class of 2011 graduate
  • Watched the law school end up in a minor scandal after graduation :beatup:
  • Tallied up the private $$$ the SBA raised last year — an all-time record in law school history — and how much the 2011-12 SBA has raised in the past few weeks2
  • Penned my 2nd guest column for the Beyond Hearsay blog (publication date TBD)
  • Spent $350 on books for summer school :surprised:
  • Spent hours reading ~150 pages for tomorrow’s first day of class
  • Finally got around to updating law:/dev/null, including tweaking our About page to reflect my now-3L status :D

That’s the rundown. Nothing particularly exciting… which makes me wonder how exactly time has flown by so fast :crack:

I’d be lying to you if I said I expected to resume regular blog updates, simply because my summer school schedule leans toward the crazy side this year (10 credit hours total) when it’s coupled with my internship. But my hope is I’ll work my way into a routine and can get back to posting somewhat regular content.

That’s it from me for tonight, I’m off to bed so I can get up for work + class tomorrow. Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. A repeat of the end of my 2L Fall semester, but this time without Thanksgiving as an excuse :beatup: []
  2. A +32% year-over-year increase, positioning us to beat last year’s record :spin: []

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

Wrong man. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 5, 2011 in The 2L Life

I’M OFFICIALLY A 3L! :D

Although I didn’t have as much time to study for my (9am) Criminal Procedure final as I had planned — courtesy of my near-catastrophic failure to write down the correct exam time — I suspect I got enough of the material right to pass the course. So I’m claiming the 3L status now instead of waiting however long it’s going to take for the Professor to confirm it :beatup:

To celebrate, I’m going to do absolutely nothing at all tonight except relax.

And since (i) “absolutely nothing” would include refraining from productive blogging and (ii) I had my own potential issue with “wrong place / wrong time” yesterday, I thought now would be a decent time to embed a YouTube clip of the audio from my closing argument that I gave during the TYLA National Trial Competition regionals a little while back ;)

I don’t have a video feed to go with it so you’ll miss out on some of the theatrics, but this was the closing when we went up against the WFU Law team in the very last round (and essentially ate them alive). Hope you like it!1 :D

If you want to read through the fact pattern that was used in this case, check out State v. Duffie from TYLA.org.2

Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. And for the computer science folks in the audience, this video uses the new HTML5-friendly iframes format for embedding video — if you have trouble playing it, let me know so I can figure out what’s wrong! []
  2. There were some amended pages clarifying minor points, and you can download those from TYLA.org if you’re so inclined. []

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

Dear Future 2Ls…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 4, 2011 in Fail

…if you’re going to write down the wrong time for your last 2L final exam, at least make sure the time that you write down is before the actual exam time and not after it.

That is all.

Tags: , , ,

 
-

2L Year: 1 more exam to go…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 3, 2011 in The 2L Life

Hey y’all!

I’m currently on my lunch break here at my internship1 and figured I’d use the opportunity to finally post something here on the blog :)

The past couple weeks have been crazy with exams and other end-of-semester festivities. That Scientific Evidence paper I mentioned in my last entry took up the better part of the week, with my routine basically following a “Shower. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Sleep.” cycle for days on end. Turns out I went a wee bit overboard in terms of research, and rather than take out huge chunks of stuff I had written about other stuff I had already spent hours reading, I decided to just throw almost all of it in the final memo :beatup:

On the upside, if you have any interest at all in either the underlying science or current case law regarding the admissibility of expert witness testimony on the behavioral impact of violent video games, you are more than welcome to read my finished memo and let me know what you think / point out the inevitable BlueBook errors.2 :D

The latter part of last week was spent furiously studying for my Business Associations final… which proceeded to thoroughly pummel the daylights out of me on Friday. No clue how the grade on that one will turn out, but for now I’m just ecstatic I’ll never have to take the class again.3 ;)

Since then I’ve essentially been dividing my time between working and studying for my Criminal Procedure exam coming up on Thursday. I’m even further behind in CrimPro than I was in BA (if such a thing is possible to imagine) so there will be a whole lot of prayers said between now and exam time…

So that’s life in my neck of the world :) Congratulations in advance to all the 3Ls who are done or who will be done shortly, and *good luck* to everyone else still in the middle of final exams! :D

  1. One of the “missing entries” from the past month was about me going back to I-Cubed as of last week. Not sure if this will be a full summer gig, but I’ll stick with it while it’s still fun/interesting :) []
  2. Be gentle, and bear in mind my patience with doing a solid+thorough writing job waned after Day 3 of reading/writing :beatup: []
  3. End-of-semester grade expectations / synopses will be coming in a later entry. []

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright © 2017 law:/dev/null All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.
Find TDot on Twitter or on Google+.