Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 31, 2011 in The 3L Life
Happy Halloween folks. I decided to dress up as an overextended 3L for the holiday.1
Just kidding — I stuck with my Guy Fawkes mask, but had to forgo the cape this year due to academic obligations; here’s a pic
I prefer the cape to the suit, but law school calls...
In all seriousness, I’m drowning in assignments and apologize for not blogging more often. I’ve taken a week’s worth of draft entries and stripped them down to another one of my really-need-to-be-trademarked bulleted lists so the folks who want to know what I’m up to (or an excuse to take a break from work) have something to read
On the technical side of law:/dev/null, we’ve added in a new widget that lets users subscribe to the comments of any particular post. Now if you write a comment you can be notified by email if someone replies so you don’t have to go digging through old entries to check.2
I’ve also received some suggestions/requests to improve the pagination on old entries. It’s been added to the to-do list, but the CSS for that one will take more effort so it won’t be getting done any time soon (don’t expect the subscription widget to look pretty either )
At no point since I started writing this blawg two-and-a-quarter years ago have I ever even contemplated saying “f*ck it, I quit”… but today the thought crossed my mind for a couple femtoseconds. The class schedule I arranged was mind-bogglingly stupid in retrospect; my day is spent reading for classes, and my off-days are spent… reading for classes. Taking a quartet of paper-oriented courses (with their attendant components and drafts and etc all due at overlapping times) was equally ill-conceived in light of the reading volume. I’ve missed enough deadlines at this point that it’s almost impossible to keep my GPA above 3.0. Insanely frustrating.
Case in point: in Employment Discrimination we were given a fact pattern from which we were to craft a complaint and a client letter. I knew MDG’s late policy only allowed items up to 2 hours late, and I also knew there was -0- chance I was going to be able to comply with the policy. Sure enough I got an F… but only after MDG noted that I otherwise would have had a perfect score3
There’s also no real outlet for me just to vent, because I inevitably get advice that I’ve either already done (dramatically scaling back SBA involvement), advice I’m simply not willing to entertain (dropping Samson, close friends, or courses), or advice that does nothing at all to actually solve the problem (limiting involvement in trial team… which doesn’t start until January). PSA: If you have a classmate who looks stressed out and needs to b*tch, just let them carry on for a bit. After ranting and raving for a bit we’re usually in much better mental shape.
Speaking of people with mental issues, last Tuesday a friend of mine posted pictures from NC State‘s GLBTA Center — where someone had spray-painted “Fags burn” and “DIe” [sic] across the door. This type of stuff is (thankfully) a relatively rare occurrence at NCSU, but I have to confess a certain degree of amazement that (1) anyone would feel so morally secure to declare divine judgment upon people they don’t like, and (2) they think destroying property and attempting to intimidate others is an acceptable form of self-expression. Reprehensible, disappointing, and wrong.
It’s a historical anomaly that the attack was discovered five years to the day after myself and a pair of other Senators pushed a (successfully adopted) resolution calling for the GLBT Center’s creation through the Student Senate. I remember the floor debate back then focusing on whether or not something like this was needed, or worth students’ fee money. I’d argue the Center being targeted in the manner it was speaks to the majority’s wisdom back then.
On a happier note, NCCU Law‘s first-ever “Speed Networking” event was held last Wednesday and was a HUGE success! The brainchild of EIC based on an idea she got from the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto back in August, basically SBA / Career Services / Alumni Relations teamed up to bring in 45+ alums for a rapid-fire series of one-on-one meetings with 2Ls and 3Ls. It was the first time we’ve done anything like it at NCCU and it was awesome.
Also on the extracurricular front, last week I submitted a brief to our Moot Court Board for their Fall tryouts After ignoring the appellate stuff for the past 2 years to focus on trial advocacy, I decided to at least give it a try just to see if I’ve got the technical competence for it. Oral arguments will be this Wednesday if anyone wants to come learn about the Eleventh Amendment.
Recognizing the huge hole I’ve dug myself academically, I spent my entire weekend trying to catch up on Sales & Secured Transactions. Prof Sales gave us old copies of the 2009 and 2010 exams without the answers; we’ve got until tonight to send in our guesses for feedback. Realistically I won’t be anywhere near done by deadline (which, like MDG, is a bright line cutoff) but at least I don’t feel totally lost anymore.
I also penned a letter to the alumni asking them to give back to the law school With the North Carolina General Assembly gutting the University-system budget, and the law school losing $2M in the process ($1 of every $7), we need private support now more than at any time since when the law school was still legally segregated. I’ve announced what’s tentatively being dubbed “The SBA Challenge” where we’ll raise $1 for every alum who contributes. Fingers are crossed for a big response.
Oh and did I mention I registered for class for the very last time evah? More on that later this week.
There’s been a lot more going on but I’ve gotta snip it here so I can get back to work. Have a great night y’all!
Only because Mariel‘s idea of dressing up as a milk carton (“I am the 1%!”) was too much work… [↩]
Don’t get me wrong, I love the added traffic — but I’d rather you actually enjoy the time you spend here [↩]
I just realized I still haven’t posted my 2L grades, but basically the same thing happened to me in Scientific Evidence last Spring… [↩]
Now that I’ve recovered from driving 10 hours in 2 days, I’m not entirely sure what to think about the ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” meeting for the 4th / 5th / 6th Circuits that happened down at Charleston Law this weekend. The meeting was more informative than I anticipated; the turnout, on the other hand, seemed downright spartan for such a large geographic area.
It was hard to tell when attendance hit its peak. When the day started there were a bunch of CSoL students present which inflated the numbers, but as they started trickling out just after lunch other law schools (like FAMU Law) had started trickling in. I’d estimate there were around 40 or so people present over the course of the day.
By the time the clock hit around 2pm, though, there was barely anyone left
The abrupt disappearance of so many attendees was reflected in the agenda: rather than have the planned sessions for roundtable-like discussions with other delegates (the main reason I went), the meeting was adjourned nearly 2 hours ahead of schedule
Sure it left time for a more-scenic drive back to North Carolina, but it makes me wonder if sending people to these meetings is a project on which I want the NCCU Law SBA investing our students’ money…
When the people in charge asked what could be done to fix the horrible turnout, naturally people targeted the symptoms rather than the cause — requests for the dissolution of combined circuit meetings outright and other various solutions-that-don’t-solve-things-but-make-you-sound-intelligent were plentiful. In case anyone from the ABA-LSD happens to read this small piece of internet real estate, here are my 3 suggestions:
Embrace the 36 Hour Rule: I’ve literally been to dozens of weekend meetings in my life, and I’ve never seen a well-attended one that lasted less than 36 hours. As a group starts cutting back the amount of time designated to business to lure more attendees, the relative opportunity cost for attending actually goes up — people who might drive 10 hours round-trip for a full-weekend event simply aren’t going to commit that same travel time for a mere 6-or-less hours of business. When you spend more time traveling to a meeting than you do actually meeting, attendance drops. This was the exact same situation UNCASG faced before the Pickle Princess and I ran for office, and one shared by many other groups.1 You fix it by offering more for the attendees instead of less: some business and a social event on Friday night to encourage on-time arrival, substantive business all day on Saturday, a party of some kind on Saturday night as a reward, and some closing minor business over breakfast Sunday morning to discourage early departures. Attendance will always be lighter on Friday and Sunday, but having those days as the ones dedicated to travel gives you a greater volume of people present on Saturday; those same people then interact with the others, building friendships, and creating a reinforced incentive for people to participate and show up to future meetings.
Lead from the front: Back during the Spring’s ABA-LSD 4th Circuit meeting when I served as a proxy for our SBA President, I “ran” for Circuit Governor in protest since no one had filed for the position; two other candidates were nominated from the floor and talked about how much they wanted the job, and my commentary was along the lines of “If you cared so much you’d have filled out the paperwork on time. Wtf is wrong with this Circuit?” I think the eventual winner (Mallory Duley-Willink of Charlotte Law) has been leery of me ever since, but at least as far as this Charleston meeting goes she was the only one to actually do her job throughout. By the time we hit that 2:00pm-ish mark — with 3 hours of material left to go on the agenda — both the 5th Circuit and 6th Circuit Governors had bailed to head home That sets a horribly bad example for the other delegates, who will rise or fall to the standards set by the leadership. If the people reaping the networking and financial benefits of these jobs aren’t sticking around, the “little people” will follow suit. The group leader should be the first to arrive, the last to leave, and should be putting more effort into the group than anyone else.
Live the mission: I don’t actually know if the ABA-LSD has a mission separate and distinct from the greater ABA, but whatever it is or would be the leadership should reflect some passion in trying to carry it out! All the communications I’d gotten for the meeting were the slick automated emails sent through whatever program the ABA folks use, with no real information in them beyond the same form email listing the date/time/location. When we got there, the officer reports were lukewarm. The new Representative to the ABA Board of Governors had no idea what I was talking about when I asked a question about an initiative discussed by his predecessor;2 then he offered a lengthy politician’s explanation instead of simply saying “I don’t know anything about it but I’ll find out.” Then just before the remaining leadership announced the meeting would be cut 2 hours short, they asked for suggestions on how to improve the meetings… with not a single recommendation being written down by anyone An organization’s leadership serves as its biggest cheerleaders; their principal role is being physical embodiments of the group’s ideals. If you can’t live the mission, you should probably go lead something else.
I doubt any of the ABA’s decision-makers will read this (much less take it seriously) but that’s my $.02 on how to improve ABA-LSD participation, at least in this part of the country. People respond to expectations, regardless of where they’re set — so set them higher
Have a good night y’all!
From the law:/dev/null 2011 ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” Meeting-related archives:
See page 4 of our UNCASG platform “The Clock is Ticking…”, where we called for (and later implemented) full-weekend meetings. That decision led to three different records setting the highest attendance in the Association’s 38-year history. [↩]
Trying to get the cost of bar review incorporated into the Cost of Attendance figure used by law schools to calculate financial aid packages. [↩]
It’s pretty much been a whirlwind of a day since I woke up — I somehow managed to fall asleep in the middle of working on my Employment Discrimination complaint and client letter, and also managed to successfully navigate the multiple steps necessary to disable the alarm I set just in case I fell asleep
So rather than spend yesterday cleaning up the apartment and packing, I went to class and then spent until a couple hours before midnight getting the client letter finished,1 then picked up 雅雅 from the airport just after midnight for her coming in to visit. This morning was then spent getting the house in order for the dogsitter, packing up, then making the 5 hour drive south.
Since getting here, I have to say Charleston has been rehabilitating my opinion of South Carolina My only other time in the state involved burning hours of time to go a few miles on the interstate. Couple that with some natural North-South rivalry that comes from me living in North Carolina since 1998, and let’s just say I’ve had a dim view of this state
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 12, 2011 in The 3L Life
A complaint alleging discriminatory employment practices (racially motivated firing) and a client letter explaining it are all that stand between yours truly and a 1.5-day quasi-vacation in Charleston SC for the ABA-LSD’s Fall “Super Circuit” meeting.
The problem? The first one’s nowhere near done, and the second one isn’t even started
MDG wanted us to have drafts to him days ago so he could at least give us pointers on what to include. As you can probably guess (see here and here) I definitely never got around to that. ::facepalm::
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 11, 2011 in Fail
“The best laid schemes of mice and men,” Robert Burns wrote a couple centuries ago, “go often askew[.]”
That pretty much sums up today
One thing I left out of yesterday’s update on life was that I missed AppAd last Monday to get repairs made to my car, a paid-off-but-aging-rapidly Ford Focus that I’ve driven across the State of North Carolina several times over.1 My cursed tire was flat again for reasons unknown so I headed in to the repair shop, got the tire fixed (gratis), and decided to get the usual pre-winter maintenance done as well: oil change, tire rotation and alignment, coolant flush, and so on.
Sure it came out to a few hundred dollars, but I thought to msyelf “At least this car won’t need any more maintenance until Spring semester.”
Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.
So today’s Election Day in the Bull City, I leave the apartment a little earlier than usual with the plan to go vote before class… and notice the car feels funny. When you’ve been driving the same vehicle for nearly a decade, you can just tell when something’s wrong. And sure enough when I get to the next stoplight the battery warning light comes on to tell me something’s awry with the electrical system.
Rather than turning right to go to the polls, I turn left to go to the repair shop again. A few minutes after turning my key over to them I learn that the refurb’d alternator I had installed back in 2008 picked today to stop working
And unlike my old 1987 Mazda pickup truck (the first vehicle I had), today’s cars are manufactured by machines that cram parts so @#$%ing tight that it’s damn near impossible to service yourself and takes repair shops a few hours to fix things too. My Focus is actually intentionally designed so the only way you can really replace the alternator is by machine-lowering the entire engine block a few inches So I’m at the mercy of the repair folks, shell out more $$$, and head on my way 3 hours later.
Over the past just-over-a-month I’ve now spent in excess of $1500 on auto repairs: getting the cursed tire fixed 3x, replacing some part that holds some other belt in place,2 last Monday’s maintenance, and then this stuff today. That not only totally wipes out my savings account that barely endured what is already my most expensive semester of all time, it also erases the $700 I had set aside for my NC bar application due January 1st
And just to add insult to injury? I was late getting out of Sales & Secured Transactions tonight so I couldn’t even make it to the polls before they closed, making this the first election I’ve missed since I started voting 12 years ago
Needless to say your friendly neighborhood blawger’s in a bitter @#$%ing mood. Heading to bed with the knowledge tomorrow will inevitably be a better day — have a good night y’all!
It’s safe to say the semester is going by entirely too d*mn fast when we were more than week into the month before I finally realized it was October.1 Midterms are this week for the 1Ls and 2Ls, and a string of papers are due for me. I’m ready for this month to be over and we just fast-forward to Thanksgiving so I can breathe for a few days…
On a less depressing note, Wednesday was a whirlwind day in general — starting with me dropping off Samson for his last round of heartworm shots! He had to stay overnight at the Durham APS for two separate injections, but after another few weeks of activity restrictions he should be heartworm free and able to resume life as an active dog!
Right after the NCSU interview I went out west to a reception for incoming UNC-system President Tom Ross, held at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering shared by UNC Greensboro and NC A&T State. I’d been to receptions before back when I was UNCASG President; I expected a sit-down dinner thing where you make small talk with 6-7 other education-oriented folks seated at your table, eat, and exchange pleasantries before departing. This was apparently more of a “make friends and influence people”-type thing, because the place was swarming with politicos, judges, fundraisers, and other people famous by NC standards, with no fewer than 4 different “liquor stations” where attendees could imbibe a variety of beverages.4 In general I’m not a particularly huge fan of these types of big, unstructured social events — see, e.g., my abject terror/awkwardness during the “mixer” at 1L Orientation two years ago — but I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with some folks I hadn’t seen since my term on the Board ended
Plus I got to meet Governor Easley!5 I saw him while talking to someone about the state budget and the budget cuts going on across the UNC system, and finally worked up the nerve to say hello. I tell him I’m a 3L at NCCU Law and the current SBA President… and he starts motioning other people over to come meet me instead It easily ranks among the most surreal experiences of my life…
My lapel pin collection, now with pins from all 17 UNC institutions! (the top 3 rows)
…and when the event was winding down, on the shuttle back to the parking lot I had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. J. Todd Roberts, the new Chancellor of the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics (North Carolina’s residential high school for high-achieving students). I noticed the NCSSM lapel pin on his jacket when his wife asked if I had enjoyed the event. I replied that I had, then asked if he was “the new guy” running NCSSM.6 We exchanged introductions, and I somewhat-imperiously asked if they sold NCSSM lapel pins anywhere; it was the only institution still missing from my collection, where I had gathered lapel pins from all 16 other UNC institutions. He told me they didn’t, and he really needed his for President Ross’s inauguration the following day… but he offered it to me anyway! I basically pledged my undying loyalty to NCSSM right there on the shuttle, and sent the school a $50 donation when I got back to Durham — right after filling the one remaining gap in my collection
I wish I could say academics were going quite as well I’m currently sitting on a legitimate, bona fide “F” in Tax right now. Right alongside another “F” in Appellate Advocacy I. Fortunately both courses still have 80%+ of the grade still remaining to be earned, but the current standings highlight that I’m in deep sh*t academically. I’ve been trying to pare back my extracurricular activities to focus more on the papers and other miscellaneous stuff we have to do. It’s a deep hole to climb out, and will be taking me awhile to get there…7
To highlight how bad things are going, I was walking through the law clinic earlier today when Prof Tax herself called my name — in that “Go straight to the Principal’s Office young man” tone of voice that I think all teachers, from K-12 to college, have innately mastered — to make known she wasn’t happy with my sub-standard performance in her class. I pleaded my case but at the end of the day I’ve just been doing too much non-academic stuff. I promised I’d be in class on time tomorrow and work to catch up.
(On a somewhat-related note, I really dislike paper-based classes My colleagues gravitate toward them because it’s easier to get an A on a paper you can pour hours of time into — but I just can’t seem to find the time. I miss going through a couple weeks of hell studying for exams, having a test, and being done. Having four different classes with various papers due at various points over the semester currently qualifies as the most grating experience of my law school career…)
Even so, I’m still trying to write a brief to apply for our Moot Court Board8
There’s more stuff to write about, but I think I’ll cap it for this particular entry because I really need to get back to reading for class.
I hope all of you had a great Monday, and have a great week! (and a great October! )
And the only reason I noticed was because the 1Ls were panicking about midterms. [↩]
And yes, I’ll confess I cried a little when I got home [↩]
Motivated 16-year-old enters NCCU law school BY LANA DOUGLAS – email@example.com
Tags: University of Baltimore | Durham | eduation | Ty Hobson-Powell
One look at Ty Hobson-Powell and you may think that he is an average teenager.
N.C. Central University law student Ty Hobson-Powell, 16, with his trademark Washington Redskins hat, waits to see one of his law professors. HARRY LYNCH - firstname.lastname@example.org
He likes to play basketball and video games; he even occasionally wastes time on Facebook and Twitter.
But Ty isn’t the average 16-year-old.
He began classes at N.C. Central University Law School in August after he became the youngest person to graduate from the University of Baltimore at age 15, finishing a four-year degree in two.
The average age of a daytime student at NCCU is 24, according to Linda Sims, associate dean for student services at NCCU school of law.
“I wouldn’t say that I always knew that I wanted to get finished early,” Ty said. “I can say that from a young age I was driven.”
When he was 3 years old, he learned how to read, write and speak Chinese.
“He’s always been a very above-average kid, but normal,” said Edwin Powell, Ty’s father. “The word ‘why’ was always in his vocabulary.”
His mother, Liz Hobson-Powell, describes him as always being “very inquisitive.”
Ty credits his success to motivation and having a semi-photographic memory.
“If I study very intensely for a week, I can remember some things word for word. For example, I remembered all of the elements of adverse possession in a week,” he said.
Ty’s three siblings also are accomplished.
His older sister graduated from high school at age 17 and college at age 19.
His two younger siblings, Quinn and Reid, also show promise in their areas of interest.
“(There was) no pushing force from our parents,” Ty said. “They just reinforced our passions and did everything in their power to help us achieve our goals.”
‘We’ve encouraged them’
Ty’s father is a professor at Howard University, and his mother is a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service.
“I would have to say that we’ve encouraged them and with all the strengths that they have and given them the tools to go out and do what it is they feel they would like to do,” Hobson-Powell said.
“I’ve always said to my kids, putting letters behind your name does not define success, but leaving behind a legacy and looking behind saying, ‘I’ve helped somebody,’ that’s how you define success,” Powell said.
Ty chose to go to school to become a defense attorney after he met someone from the Innocence Project, which works with people it believes have been wrongfully convicted.
“I want to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves,” he said.
“I chose NCCU Law School because it is rooted in the tradition of breeding lawyers that go out and help the community,” Ty said.
He also has a passion for public speaking. His message encourages students to capitalize on every opportunity they get and parents to help their children achieve success in whatever path they choose.
“I think it’s reasonable to believe that a lot more people could be where I am right now,” Ty said. “Hopefully, I can instill values in youth and even adults to go out and strive to be as good as they can.”
“In a non-cocky way, I want to make sure that there are more stories like mine, because there’s a lot of people like me and a lot of people with potential to be like me, but for whatever reason, be it lack of support at home or lack of drive from within, are not where I am currently,” he said.
After he graduates from NCCU, Ty says he may attend medical school or get into politics.
You can follow Ty Hobson-Powell on Twitter @TyTheOriginator.
And I thought I was hot stuff when I started at N.C. State at 172…
Assuming this guy makes it through law school — and if you can master Mandarin at 3, I’m assuming NCCU Law‘s strict-C curve is a relative cakewalk — he’s going to have his education knocked out early enough to do pretty much whatever he wants and still make an absolute killing financially.
Mr. Hobson-Powell can start in that far right column at Year 1 instead of Year 7 if he chooses
I realize there are a ton of other factors at play of course: law is as much about life experience as raw knowledge, it’s a clique-ish profession based on relationships he still has to build, etc etc etc. But the inescapable reality is this young man has some pretty amazing talent and a golden opportunity to chart whatever path he wants when he graduates.3
Hats off to him — I’m looking forward to counting him as a fellow Legal Eagle alum!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 3, 2011 in The 3L Life
I know I’ve been gone for a long time folks, but I kid you not when I say last week has been the week from hell in terms of multiple events going on every. single. day.
I’m 2 assignments behind in AppAd,1 nearly a week behind on a Tax assignment, couldn’t even tell you how far back I am in reading for Sales, etc etc etc. I’ve got another bullet-pointed update to post at some point this week that will explain in greater detail.
In the interim, however, this past weekend we had our annual tryouts for NCCU Law‘s trial teams — where I got mauled by polysyllabic surnames
Once again I ended up being defense counsel for a guy on the hook for murder, with a scant 7 minutes to explain to the jury in my closing why there’s no possible way he could have done it. The biggest challenge for me? The dead guy’s name is McKenzie, the trigger man’s name is Kubinsky, and the widow who financed the hit is the dead guy’s wife Mrs. McKenzie.
Trying to say McKenzie and Kubinsky in the span of a few minutes didn’t turn out so well. See for yourself…2
Folks I’ve gotta tell you, I felt like the closing was going pretty doggone well until I hit that point — but the instant my tongue got tied up on his name, it seemed like time itself crraaaaawwwwwllllled to a standstill. I left out part of what I planned to say, added in stuff elsewhere that I never planned to say, and felt like I speed-talked through the final two minutes to make sure I made it within the time limit.3
No one but myself to blame on that one. I was fighting hard for #1 in the competition but at this point I’ll be content just being on the team again