I’m also noting up-front that I’m generally not the type to ascribe supernatural causes to naturally occurring phenomena.
But yesterday I was busy having a mini-meltdown over finances after a follow-up dental appointment for the crown issue I mentioned in passing last week, trying to figure out how to pay for the bar app, bar review, etc etc etc and knowing my financial aid refund was still days away.
The weather was forecast to be clear. And rather than go back to school, I randomly decided to go home instead… where it was practically a monsoon
I tried to take a photo what greeted me when I got to the apartment.1
Never been that close to a rainbow in my life (except the ones I created myself while hand-washing a car). Didn’t see a pot of gold anywhere, but I’m taking it as a sign not to stress
The actual rainbow was a lot brighter but the camera barely picked it up. [↩]
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 29, 2011 in The 3L Life
The old saying was “1L year they scare you to death, 2L year they work you to death, 3L year they bore you to death.”
Evidently I’ve become so skilled at procrastination that I’m just now getting to the “work you to death” part, because this semester is going to be crazy
Yes, that's nearly 2 feet of textbook for just one semester -- and doesn't even include Employment Discrimination!
With the first week of 3L Fall behind me (NCCU Law started a week later this calendar year) and 1.5′ of books to read, here are some initial thoughts on my classes this semester:
After graduating high school with few accolades — and graduating from N.C. State with none at all — I decided I was going to be one of the most-decorated people to cross NCCU Law’s stage for graduation on May 12, 2012.
So I’m currently signed up for the maximum number of hours you can take in a semester (16 hours / 6 classes) and will be taking a full load next semester too. And I don’t have the option of dropping any of them if I stick with my plan to be blinged out in May.
Just wanted to throw that preface out there so y’all don’t think I’m insane
APPELLATE ADVOCACY I
Those of you who are long-time readers of law:/dev/null1 might notice that I had signed up for this class last year… and promptly dropped it when things got too busy.
The problem is that AppAd is a prerequisite for trying out for our Moot Court Board, which I’ve developed an ever-so-tiny urge to attempt even if I stick with the TYLA trial team this coming year.
Prof AppAd is the same professor I’ve got for Criminal Prosecution Clinic I. Seems to be a good guy, passionate about the subject and has a good sense of humor to keep things entertaining. He also appears to be very very very detail-oriented — which makes me feel better since I won’t be the only one raising an eyebrow when I see a sample appeal in two different fonts
FUNDAMENTALS OF INCOME TAXATION
This class… yyyeeeaaaahhh…
And remember how I still hated Contracts because it was (i) so @#$%ing early in the morning, (ii) required, and (iii) the subject matter was more dense than a brick wrapped in a neutron star at the center of black hole?
The first two items on that list accurately describe Tax so far: passionate teacher, required course with dense subject matter at 8:30am.
I’m praying I don’t end up with the third item on the list too…
MDG teaches this one, which is the only reason I signed up for the class — I might not have loved CivPro, but at least I knew the material when we finished!
Class has been challenging so far because the bookstore still doesn’t have the casebook so I only partially know what’s going on.2 The upside is that MDG has focused on teaching the concepts with hypos drawn from real cases, so the debates have been interesting and the class has been pretty engaged.
Not that we have much choice since there are only 9 of us in there, but still…
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II: FIRST AMENDMENT
I’m not sure what to think about this one.
On the one hand, (1) I love constitutional law in general and (2) this is one of the required courses for the Civil Rights concentration.
On the other, I don’t think the professor likes me…
It could just be me imagining things of course, but the first time we met in-person was upon her request to come to her office (I had emailed her to see if she would approve me being added to the course even though it was at the enrollment cap). When I got there, she asked me to sit tight because she had to walk across the hall and talk to MDG about something.
3 hours later and I was still sitting there before finally deciding I had been punk’d
That aside, so far the classes have been fun hashing out some of the nettlesome challenges facing the courts in dealing with the First Amendment. I’m assuming it only gets better from here…
SALES & SECURED TRANSACTIONS
Contracts IV basically.3
Prof Sales sort of reminds me of the mad scientists you see on TV: very passionate, very animated, trying to convince the masses to take an interest in their respective crafts. He’s funny too.
But, again, this is essentially Contracts IV we’re talking about here. I’m trying not to go in with a too-negative mindset, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the semester in this class…
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION CLINIC I
Not sure what to expect here — this class only meets once a week, and I had to sheepishly ask Prof AppAd if I could leave about an hour in for a required meeting I had with the law school administration
Essentially this class will be teaching us how to handle ourselves in the courtroom when we’re trying actual cases under the Third Year Practice Rule next semester when we do the field portion of this class. Since this is what I want to do for a living (assuming I can make enough to pay the bills) I’m looking forward to the experience
So that’s the synopsis so far It’s going to be a long semester, but I hope / pray / expect it will be worth it in the end!
Apparently the folks at Follett (the vendor NCCU contracts with to run the store) noticed that the 7th edition was no longer in print, but never took it upon themselves to discover that the 8th edition was out. So we have 8th Edition statutory supplements at the store, but no 8th edition casebook. Needless to say that’s been on my list of complaints our SBA is dealing with… [↩]
I consider Business Associations to be Contracts III… [↩]
If you’re a long-time law:/dev/null reader, you already know the story about how that happened: me coming to college dirt poor and sans computer, flipping through the classifieds in N.C. State‘s student newspaper The Technician seeing if I could find someone selling their PC… on what turned out to be the only day Apple had paid for an ad seeking a campus rep.
Twelve years later, I still have no clue why they hired me
Suddenly I was immersed in the latest technology: a grape-colored Rev. D iMac, MacOS 8.5.1, programs like SoundJam MP,2 the list goes on. I was meeting administrators and other tech purchasers all over the N.C. State campus, learning the ins and outs of how the bureaucracy worked — invaluable information when I got back into the Student Senate nearly a decade later. Having my own @apple.com email address alone was adequate payment for the work I was doing each week.
But then Apple also added in training trips to California each summer. Every campus rep from across the country flown into San Jose, brought to “the Mothership” at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, and instilled with knowledge on all the latest Apple stuff.
At the risk of forever being labeled a nerd’s nerd, one of the Top 5 most-awesome experiences of my life came during one of those summers when, in a less-than-3-hours span, I met Jonathan Ive showing off a G4 Cube in Apple’s cafeteria, had a 15-minute technical conversation with Avie Tevanian about his Mach kernel, and as I was walking with the Campus Rep group back to our room I made a comment along the lines of “This is like a trip to Mecca” or something to that effect — which apparently was the first time Avie had heard anyone say anything like that, because he then took me to Phil Schiller‘s office to repeat it.3
I got to meet Phil, got to hold one of the first ten Newtons ever produced that he kept on a bookshelf in his office… and completely missed the next session of my training as my Apple Rep colleagues wondered why I came back with a ridiculously goofy ear-to-ear smile across my face
No, I’ve never actually met Steve himself. A couple years before I left for college, I remember reading in the business section of the paper in Nan’s kitchen that he had come back to Apple. I remember commenting as I read about how awesome that news was, how Steve was going to save Apple from its death spiral, and that maybe I’d be able to get an Apple for college now. And I remember Nan looking back at me, laughing at the 15-year-old naiveté embedded in my comment, and just responding “OK.”4
Steve Jobs was the driving force behind that Campus Rep program, behind the operating system I love to use, behind the iPhone I’ve got holstered to my hip on a daily basis, the list goes on and on and on (and on). He’s one of the greatest visionaries the technology industry has had, and even with his well-documented “mercurial” temper and other inevitable human flaws he’s still the closest thing to a role model I’ve aspired to since I was a teenager.
So even though the odds of Steve ever reading this law school-related blawg fall somewhere in between infinitesimal and nil, I wanted to post this entry and particularly one closing remark in response to his letter:
That Apple would later acquire and convert into iTunes. [↩]
I was terrified when I was told to come with him to Schiller’s office — I thought my comment had been construed as a non-politically correct remark unfit for a campus rep, and that I was about to get fired on the spot [↩]
It’s actually more like a “OhhhhhhK.” It’s the grandmotherly equivalent of saying “That’s probably never ever ever going to happen, but since technically anything is possible I’ll let you keep thinking it just in case.” [↩]
Not to mention a wide collection of Pixar movies [↩]
This is the kind of sh*t that makes less-mentally-stable people think the CIA is out to get them...
Yes, ladies and gentlemen: that’s a flat tire.
And not just any flat tire, mind you, but the exact same now-flat tire I just fixed barely a month ago
I got my car in 2002, and can recall only 2 flat tires before moving to Durham (and both were the result of the car getting hit).
But since starting at NCCU Law in August 2009, I’ve now had 3 “nailed” tires in 2 years — the first at the intersection a couple blocks from my apartment complex en route to our 1L Mary Wright Closing Argument competition, the second one last month at the intersection at my apartment complex, and now this one earlier tonight in the parking lot at NCCU.1
My car evidently thinks nails in the street are a grave safety hazard, and so it’s determined to roll over every single one it can in the name of preserving public health…
At least I’m slowly approaching my lifetime goal of reaching NASCAR-esque speeds in how quickly I can change a flat tire?
Where the gym and the Criminal Justice Building are both being repaired, which presumably has resulted in nails getting littered around… [↩]
Which is probably a good thing because otherwise I would have spent the past 4 days complaining about how f*cking expensive my penultimate semester of law school is getting
Now some of this stuff I knew was coming even back when I was a 1L, like the $2,667 I still owe BarBri for my bar review. And some of it I didn’t know about my 1L year (like the MPRE) but the cost isn’t that significant ($63).
I’ve already spent $729 on books this semester — more than I’ve ever spent at any point in the 24 separate semesters I’ve been buying them2 — and I’m not even done yet! The bookstore is still missing the casebook for my Employment Discrimination class, and the statutory supplement for my Tax class
I’ll be a hair’s breadth under $1,000.00 (just on textbooks) by the time 3L Fall is over…
Then there’s the $310 tuition increase requested back in December by NCCU (not the law school), approved by the UNC Board of Governors in February, and then skimmed off the top by NCCU (not the law school) as part of a 14% budget reduction handed to the law school a couple weeks ago.3 And of course the unexpected costs of getting old, like (in the case of my car) spending half a grand to fix something in the engine block earlier this week or (in the case of me) dropping just-under-a-grand to get a cap put on one of my molars last week
Sorry for venting y’all, the past couple days with these textbooks have just crystallized my general frustration with being a broke law student and watching everything I saved up over the summer vanish paying for unexpected expenses. I’ve got no earthly clue how I’m going to get everything paid for by the time I’ve got to pay it, but I’m ready to graduate, pass the bar, get my license, and start making real money.
Hope all of you are having a less-expensive start to your school years! Have a great night!
If you’re a 1L, copy and paste www.lawdevnull.com/docs/1LStuff.zip and if you’re a 2L/3L copy and paste www.lawdevnull.com/docs/2Land3LStuff.zip — send me an email if you have any trouble! [↩]
6 years of undergrad, 2.5 years of law school, and 7 sets of summer sessions between them. [↩]
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 15, 2011 in TDot's Tips
In addition to law school Orientation — if you’re a NCCU Law 1L, make sure to read yesterday’s Orientation entry — this is the time of year where the 2Ls and 3Ls start hitting up everyone they can to accumulate outlines for the upcoming year
Starting last year I’ve tried to compile as many of those as I can and bundle them into a ZIP file hosted here on law:/dev/null. If you’re looking for outlines, follow these steps:1
Now for some obligatory caveats and 1 contractual obligation on your part:
On the contractual obligation side: in exchange for downloading this file, you’re agreeing to help spread the word to your colleagues at the law school about its existence; I want everyone to have access to the outlines, even if they don’t necessarily take advantage of the opportunity to download them.
These files are large, and they come from a lot of different sources so there are some duplicates. If you’re on a Mac, the easiest way to find what you need is to use Spotlight; if you’re on a PC… well… I don’t know how to help you on that one
Many of these outlines will need updating. The 1L classes introduce new cases, and many of the 2L and 3L classes have either new cases (CrimPro) or new statutes (ZombieLaw) or both.
These outlines are for NCCU Law classes, so if you’re one of my non-Legal Eagle readers and download them you probably won’t get much utility from them.
Most importantly: the benefit to briefs and outlines is in creating/editing them, not in getting them from someone else. You’ll still need to read for class, and you’ll still need to study. Don’t come back to me in December crying because you have all these outlines, did no work on your own, and then failed your classes.
Hope that helps! I’m heading to bed so I can go help with the first day of 1L Orientation for the Day Program in the morning. Have a great night y’all!
Sorry for being so tedious about it, but spambots like to link to file URLs so I’ll end up with folks in Russia or China downloading these over and over again without actually using them if I posted the links directly [↩]
To highlight how totally out of it I’ve been: law:/dev/null actually turned 2 years old back on Thursday (!)… and I didn’t even notice because of my router issues
I’ll forgo waxing sentimental over how much has happened over the past 2 years, how crazy it is that I’ve actually somewhat kept up with the whole blawging thing throughout that time, or how totally @#$%ing stoked I am to be wrapping up law school this year. Instead I’ll link to some old entries for any incoming 1Ls/1LEs curious about my perspective on things (assuming such creatures exist).
Have some questions you want to ask? Go to the bottom portion of this Mailbag entry, which links to all the past questions I’ve answered here. If you’ve got something you want to ask that don’t see listed, feel free to send me an email!1
My role with Orientation will transition a bit this year: instead of helping to check in volunteers and then wandering aimlessly through the school, I’ll be helping to check in volunteers and wandering through the school with a purpose — trying to meet as many of you as I can to help answer your questions and get you prepared for what will be the most intense 3 years of your life
I’ve posted our Twitter convo on the right so you’ve got an idea of where this entry is going
Now let me preface the rest of my commentary by saying I don’t disagree with anything David has tweeted.1 He’s right about the reasonableness of these students’ reliance on Cooley’s stats being a key issue in the case. I suspect/hope he’s also right about law schools being less inclined to screw with their numbers as a result of this lawsuit. And I agree that the court will be considering the circumstances as they existed at the time these students first enrolled, not as they exist today.2
Let me also say here (just so I don’t have to repeat it later) that the response from Cooley Law’s general counsel Jim Thelen to blame the ABA is also shamelessly disingenuous. There’s nothing at all preventing any law school from collecting and releasing far more granular employment data on its graduates — they simply choose not to do so for fear of looking bad from the results.
But with those two caveats out of the way, this is another case of only focusing on the Big Bad Law Schools. I stand by the implication of my admittedly rhetorical question to David on Twitter: can any law school student who enrolled after the proliferation of Google really claim they reasonably relied on a law school’s employment statistics?
Ignore the fact that you can probably count on one hand the number of law students you know who actually based their decision to go to law school in any part on a given school’s stated employment statistics; even though I’ve never met one, I’m assuming arguendo that they do in fact exist. I’m also assuming, simply because they claimed it in the complaint they filed (h/t to Above the Law for this entry on the lawsuit), that the named plaintiffs in McDonald v. Cooley are among them.
Look at when these folks graduated though: 2 of the 4 graduated in 2010, meaning they began enrollment in either 2007 (if full-time) or 2006 (if part-time); the 3rd graduated in 2008, meaning enrollment in 2005 or 2004; and the 4th graduated in 2006, meaning she enrolled in 2003 or 2002.
And if through some miracle this well-educated class of plaintiffs3 had never heard of Google, they still could have used search engines on Yahoo!, or MSN, or AOL, or Lycos, or AltaVista, or Ask Jeeves, or…
…you get the point
It’s pretty safe to say the concept of internet search was already a widespread and well-ingrained phenomenon before any of these students enrolled, particularly among the well-educated, and has grown even more widespread and even more well-ingrained the later in time that enrollment choice was made.4
“But TDot!” you exclaim, “Just because search engines were available doesn’t mean these students would have found anything of concern!”
Which brings me to the 2nd prong of this analysis: people have known law schools were juicing their employment statistics for most of the past decade.
Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers Growth of Legal Sector Lags Broader Economy; Law Schools Proliferate
SEPTEMBER 24, 2007
By AMIR EFRATI
…Evidence of a squeezed market among the majority of private lawyers in the U.S., who work as sole practitioners or at small firms, is growing. A survey of about 650 Chicago lawyers published in the 2005 book “Urban Lawyers” found that between 1975 and 1995 the inflation-adjusted average income of the top 25% of earners, generally big-firm lawyers, grew by 22% — while income for the other 75% actually dropped.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, the inflation-adjusted average income of sole practitioners has been flat since the mid-1980s. A recent survey showed that out of nearly 600 lawyers at firms of 10 lawyers or fewer in Indiana, wages for the majority only kept pace with inflation or dropped in real terms over the past five years.
The news isn’t any better for the 14% of new lawyers who go into government or join public-interest firms. Inflation-adjusted starting salaries for graduates who go to work for public-interest firms or the government rose 4% and 8.6%, respectively, between 1994 and 2006, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which aggregates graduate surveys from law schools. That compares with at least an 11% jump in the median family income during the same period, according to the Census Bureau…
Sure this piece only talks about solos and government/public-interest attorneys. But I also found that in under 30 seconds earlier today. Just 30 seconds, despite 4 years’ worth of new websites and blogs and other data Google has indexed clogging up my 2011 search results.
In other words, had any of these students done a same or similar search in 2007 (or earlier), they could have found the exact same IRS / BLS / NALP data indicating a difficult legal job environment in the exact same amount of time (or less!) with a much better signal:noise ratio than I’m getting now.
And that’s not even getting into the “common sense” factor here: you know there’s a stagnant legal market if for no other reason than living in an economy barely recovering from the September 11th attacks (and ensuing diversion of resources to improve homeland security), and yet you really believe your law school had a 90%+ employment rate? While nearly every other law school in the country claimed 90%+ employment over the exact same time?
Now I’m not the type to categorically trash all graduates from a law school, so I have to assume this “I really didn’t know! I really did reasonably rely on this data even though contradictory information from more reputable sources was literally right at my fingertips! Really!” mentality is atypical of Cooley Law graduates.
Have a great Friday night and an amazing weekend everybody!
As a random aside, have any of you noticed how double negatives are not only commonplace but widely accepted in law? Once upon a time I was taught that a double negative was bad grammar and now I use them regularly [↩]
I tried to convey that last point by the “2004+” reference, but I think my inapt inclusion of the word “now” gave a wrong impression of my meaning [↩]
Remember, a baccalaureate degree is now required for law school admission. Meaning anyone enrolling at Cooley Law or any other law school is already among the top 10% of the US population in terms of educational attainment. [↩]
Translation: no sympathy at all for the 2010 Cooley Law grads now crying foul. [↩]
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 11, 2011 in Technology
Sorry folks, no post tonight. Back after I got home from visiting Nan and Pops for Independence Day I discovered that my modem, NAS and trusty ages-old WRT54G router had all been fried from some sort of electrical event (my guess is the surge protector failed).
After that I got everything replaced — including purchasing a shiny new Linksys E2500 router — and the @#$%ing thing keeps dropping connections like a gunner during 1L Orientation
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 10, 2011 in Randomness
I need your help plz
Each year, the ABA Journal compiles its annual Blawg 100 — a pretty cool categorized listing of the top 100 legal blogs on the web. As part of that process they developed a “Blawg 100 Amici” form where folks can submit recommendations of blawgs the ABA Journal folks should check out.
I filled out one form last year (nominating Dennis Jansen) and plan to submit more this year…
…but with my chronic disappearances over the past semester I don’t really know as much as I should about the law student portion of the blawgosphere anymore
So I’m turning to you for info: which law student blawgs should I be looking at that I’m not? is there anyone new out there who isn’t included in the law:/dev/null blogroll? and which folks merit me (and others) turning in amici forms?
Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email
And, just because I’ve been on a Samson kick these past 36 hours,1 here’s a clip from my camera phone of him playing with one of his new toys earlier today:
Have a great night everybody!
Albeit a tired Samson kick, since the dog woke me up at 3:30am… then again at 5am… then again at 6:30am… [↩]