Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 24, 2011 in Background
Happy Christmas Eve y’all!
This is a mostly pointless non-law-related entry, so consider yourself forewarned. I’m still working on school stuff and needed a break from law.
Top: Summer 1995, probably the longest my hair's ever been. Bottom: Today, the shortest my hair's been in my 30.75yrs of life.
And with a solid 2.5 weeks to go before school starts back, I randomly decided last night to try embracing my impending baldness and just cut off what little was left of my hair.
It was a decision not made lightly… but one that was probably inevitable.
In the “Be Careful What You Wish For” Department, most of my younger years were spent cursing my mane. I was born with a full head of hair that tended to grow like kudzu for most of my life, and after it hit about 1/8″ in length it started to get absurdly curly.
My locks were so unruly throughout grade school that the occasional classmate would even inquire into my ethnicity (which successfully made me self-conscious about both what my hair looked like and the fact I only knew about a portion of half my bloodline). It was also problematic for pictures since the family often didn’t have the money to spend on haircuts every 2-3 weeks, but I didn’t trust anyone to cut it themselves.
But then I joined Student Government in college and the hair thing “fixed” itself…
My last year at N.C. State undoubtedly ranks as the single craziest period of my life, trying to juggle being a second-term Student Senate President, a first-term President of UNCASG, a legislative intern down at the N.C. General Assembly, and an about-to-be-graduated senior in Computer Science.
Top: 06/13/08, the day I was sworn in to the UNC Board of Governors (flanked by NCAT SBP Marcus Bass and ASU SBP David Mofford). Bottom: 03/27/10, explaining my proposed budget at a UNCASG meeting at UNC Charlotte.
Going through it at the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal; sure I was averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night, drank Vault Zero (and later Diet Mt Dew) like it was water, and would frequently skip meals to catch up on work, but I still felt great. I was on a near-constant emotional high from knowing I was helping to get things accomplished.
Then one day back in Fall ’08, QuietStorm came to visit me at the NCGA interns’ suite office, sat beside me, and noticed when I turned away that my hair basically wasn’t there. I had her take a picture with my BlackBerry because I didn’t believe her; seeing myself daily, I never really noticed a change from the front. She did, showed it to me, and I blurted out “oh my God”
Sure enough, after spending most of my life wishing I had less-crazy curls, I was in the process of joining millions of guys globally down the path to no curls at all.
I fought it for awhile. I’d intentionally cut the rest of my hair über-short to make it look like I meant for it to look that way. And when I was in my friends’ wedding last week I had let the top grow out as far as it could for a few weeks and then asked the barber to try and blend the top with the sides so it wouldn’t look quite so sparse.
A guy who used to wonder why other guy’s would ever shell out $$$ for hair transplants, I suddenly found myself trying to preserve what little of my own hair I had left… until last night when I said “@#$% it, why not?” and sheared everything off.
It’s definitely going to take getting used to; my head’s oddly shaped, and I can’t help but feel like I sort of look like the convicts I see when I watch Lockup on MSNBC. But I refuse to be one of those people having an existential identity crisis because they lost their hair.
And not having to pay anyone for haircuts anymore helps ease the pain
That’s it from me for the night y’all, thanks for reading my ruminations on the averted midlife crisis Have a good night good night and Merry Christmas in a few minutes!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 22, 2011 in Randomness
I used to think my 1L professors had disturbed minds to come up with the tortuously crazy hypos that routinely populated our exams.
Then I read the paper and wonder if maybe these were just actual news stories…
From this news story over in Taylorsville, Utah:
Man shoots at mouse, hits roommate; another roommate arrested for rape
By Pat Reavy
December 21st, 2011 @ 12:48pm
TAYLORSVILLE — A 34-year-old man has been arrested for investigation of multiple counts of sex abuse against a 13-year-old girl.
The four-month relationship was discovered after a bizarre incident at the man’s house in which one of his housemates was shot by a third housemate who was reportedly trying to shoot a mouse in his kitchen with a 9mm handgun, according to investigators.
Paul Daniel Kunzler was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of rape of a child, three counts of sodomy of a child and three counts of sexual abuse of a child.
The string of events began to unfold about 2 a.m. Tuesday when police were called to a house, 2584 W. Brucemont Dr. (5450 South), on a report of an accidental shooting. Officers arrived to discover that a man who was in the bathroom had accidentally been shot in the chest by his 27-year-old housemate who was shooting at a mouse in the kitchen with a handgun, said Taylorsville Police Sgt. Tracy Wyant.
The bullet went through a wall and struck the 28-year- old man while he was in the bathroom.
“After the gun was fired, both the roommate and Paul heard a scream,” Wyant said.
The victim was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. He was later upgraded to stable condition. Alcohol was involved in the incident, Wyant said.
During an ensuing search of the house, officers found a 13-year-old girl hiding in a basement closet, Wyant said. The girl told police she had sneaked out of her house without her father’s knowledge to see Kunzler, according to a jail report.
After further questioning, investigators learned Kunzler and the 13-year-old had been having a relationship for four months. The two had met through a common friend, Wyant said.
It was not known Wednesday whether any of Kunzler’s three housemates were aware of the relationship.
Doesn’t this story sounds almost like a CrimLaw hypo?
“Larry, Curly and Moe share an apartment. The apartment has a mouse. Larry decides to try out a new mousetrap to kill the mouse: his .22 Ruger. He shoots at the mouse and in the process hits Curly, who screams in pain. Curly is taken to the hospital while police investigate. The police go into the basement and discover Moe fondling a 13-year-old girl. Discuss all relevant issues.”
Maybe my professors weren’t crazy after all…
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 20, 2011 in The 3L Life
Good evening y’all
Sorry for the abrupt disappearance this past week, but the end of the semester brought a flurry of activity that I’m still slogging through. Here’s a quick bulleted update on life:
- I don’t remember what happened last Monday during the day, but I distinctly recall waking up from my first bona fide law school-related nightmare in awhile It was next semester and I was at my first CrimLaw tutorial… except I didn’t have my Keynote slides. So I decided that, to preoccupy the 1Ls, we’d go around introducing ourselves… except apparently several of the students had issues with each other, so when one girl introduced herself another called her a b*tch, shouting back and forth ensued, and not a single soul was listening as I tried to get them to shut up and pay attention. Then I decided to distract people with index cards, having them write down names and other tidbits about themselves instead of talking… except I couldn’t find any blank index cards. Every time I’d find a pile of them, they were already filled out. Even a mostly-fresh pile of index cards had an occasional filled-out card included, so I was trying to gather enough fresh cards while the room re-descended into chaos. It was a strange, odd, unpleasant dream. That thankfully has a 0% chance of happening next semester or I’ll physically beat someone
- Last Tuesday was the first meeting of the NCCU Law 1L trial teams, letting them know roughly what to expect in the now-Kilpatrick-Townsend competition that will take place in January. This is now the 3rd generation of teams to compete so I’m hoping it will be a more-comfortable experience for these 1Ls now that they have both 2Ls and 3Ls available to share their experiences.
- Right after the team meeting at 1pm was the release date for my Criminal Prosecution Clinic exam, which I spent the next 48 hours grinding through. Not difficult per se, but lengthy and detailed. Impressed that police and prosecutors are able to remember all of these various statutes…
- Speaking of academics, I’m still not done. I’ve still got 2 briefs for Employment Discrimination to finish, and a paper for ConLaw II that hasn’t even substantively been started aside from my prep work for the radio show on my topic. I had long ago accepted the probability of failing both classes given all the other stuff I foolishly piled on my plate. Tack on the fact they’re both electives that I don’t need to graduate, and you have a dangerous recipe of grade-A Motivation Killer™ to at least turn in some kind of work product.
- Not sure I’ll have time to get around to my usual guesswork “Here’s what I’m hoping to get grade-wise” posts for 3L Fall, so I’m tucking it in here: B+ in Sales, B- in Tax, A in Criminal Prosecution Clinic, D- in both Employment Discrimination and ConLaw II, for a 2.333 semester GPA. Fingers crossed for that or better. Will elaborate if the opportunity presents itself.
- Part of why I’m not finished academically is because I’ve very successfully sidetracked myself on this going solo idea and exploring the creation of a small practice incubator at the law school. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and researching, put together a proposal complete with financial projections, and have started farming it around among faculty at the school. I even came up with a snazzy acronym for it: the Small Practice Incubator & Collaboration Environment… because a little seasoning makes everything better!
- I had also already stacked my calendar high with stuff scheduled for last week because I’m habitual about planning ahead, so when the papers didn’t get done on time they’ve got pushed even farther back then they would be otherwise as my focus shifted elsewhere. In addition to the Crim Prosecution exam, spent Wednesday afternoon catching up with a good friend over lunch who I hadn’t seen in ages. Thursday was spent finishing up the exam, turning it in, then skipping the first TYLA trial team meeting to immediately drive down to Raleigh to help with another good friend’s bachelor party. Friday was a smidge of work on the papers followed by the wedding rehearsal dinner, Saturday was the wedding, then Sunday was returning the tux to Men’s Wearhouse and finally catching up on life basics like laundry / dishes / vacuuming the disaster that had become my apartment.
- Yesterday I got a smidge bit more work done, though not before inadvertently crossing paths with MDG in the hallway at school (my Emp Disc professor). I greatly appreciate that he hasn’t reamed me out for my slacker-ness… but it was still awkward exchanging pleasantries knowing I still owed the man two papers.
- And voila here we are at today. Behind on academics. Behind schedule on the moot court problem I’m working on. Behind schedule on the TYLA problem I’ll also be litigating in February. But otherwise alive, breathing, and determined to make it through the vacation in one piece
That’s it for tonight’s entry. Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the break yourselves! More to come once I get caught up
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 10, 2011 in Technology
Not much time to post anything substantive tonight — I’m grinding away trying to finally wrap up this entirely-too-long semester — but wanted to give y’all a heads up that some changes will be coming to law:/dev/null over the Christmas break.
First, I’ve resumed the process of going through old posts and adding the appropriate tags to them, so old entries will finally show up when you click a tag in a recent post. For whatever reason I didn’t start using tags until several months into blogging so there’s a bunch of them to go through But for the several 1Ls and pre-Ls who had sent messages asking where all the stuff was from my first year (like the Torts mixtape with bonus Ks track) because going through the overall category took forever, the tagging process should make life a little easier.
Also, as we’ve banned more and more spammers the site has slowed down from parsing the ever-growing .htaccess file. Average load time is hitting 2-3 full seconds ( ) which is an order of magnitude slower than where I’d like it to be. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to fix it, but wanted you to know I’m aware of the problem and will see what I can do.
That’s it for now, back to these papers. Have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 9, 2011 in Site Stats
It’s been half a year since our last Site Stats entry back in June, not for lack of time or interest but mostly because traffic tended to stagnate with my random disappearances all the time. Even with us passing 1,000,000+ pageviews back in September, there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy to merit another entry.
November '11 now holds the all-time attendance record
Then a whole bunch of y’all appeared out of nowhere!
November 2011 was officially the single busiest month law:/dev/null has had since we launched back in August 2009!
And I have absolutely no clue why
We had a +6.7% bump in daily readership to 2,041, likely resulting from my somewhat-less-sporadic posting over the month.
But the real craziness is the sudden +57.4% explosion in unique people coming to the site (8,144) — leapfrogging our previous record back in October 2010 of 6,716, and for reasons totally unknown to me.
There wasn’t a sudden bump in Google searches, no random spike in RSS readership, no particularly controversial posts that I’m aware of, and yet somehow we still had a whole bunch ‘o newcomers stop by this little piece of internet real estate.
The war on spammers continues...
And what makes the unique IP number particularly odd is that it came alongside us blocking an unprecedented number of spammers that would otherwise be distorting the traffic figures.
In what has become my WordPress equivalent of the government’s War on Drugs, on a regular basis I go through our logs line-by-line and wall off this space from an ever-growing number of bots and spamdexers via our .htaccess file. It’s virtually eliminated comment spam (0.00479 spam comments per IP last month) but has the side effect of holding down the traffic figures.
Which is just as good since I don’t really count spammers as “real” visitors, but it’s still weird seeing such a jump in readership knowing there are about 2,000 URLs blocked from sending people here.
Anyhow, to the new folks: *WELCOME*, and thank you for visiting! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and keep coming back.
Doubt we’ll hit this level of traffic again any time soon but we’ll see what happens…
The main reason I started putting these entries together ages ago was to go through some of the search queries that send people to the site. So here’s a random selection of 20 out of the 580+ unique search terms that brought folks here in November 2011:
- can a footnote go under the signature on a legal doc: Depends on the document, and depends on the rule of construction the courts in that jurisdiction use; some courts allow it, others consider anything past the signature (including footnotes) as “surplusage” that has no legal effect.
- nccu law bad neighborhood: Aside from a drug bust at the local Burger King and the occasional stuff that happen on every sizable college campus, it’s really not that bad.
- can you petition your gpa if you are within less than 2 tenths away from cum laude: In the words of MDG, “LOL. no.” (at least not here at NCCU Law)
- lawyers in state legislatures: Are a surprising rarity
- i’m panicking wording: Freaking out. Melting down. Losing your nerve. Having a psychotic episode. Taking a law school exam. Let me know if I should continue…
- how often do people get kicked out for 2l grades: Not often compared to 1L year because people can self-select their classes, but it does happen. The frequency doesn’t matter, all that matters is whether or not your GPA is above a 2.0
- how to get a job with bad grades in law: (1) Develop a personality, then (2) network. If you exclude me tutoring CrimLaw (where the grade for that single class was a smidge important), I’ve had exactly -0- employers care about my GPA for the various law jobs/internships I’ve had. Particularly in smaller firms, people care more about whether or not they can tolerate working with you every day than whether or not you were Top 10% academically. Make sure you have a solid LinkedIn profile, go to various law-related events, attend CLEs, get to know your professors and career services personnel, and so on — that way when openings pop up, people are willing to recommend you or at least clue you in to the vacancy.
- american travel blog first impression toronto: I loved loved loved it! Awesome place.
- dueces fingers with white background: You’d probably have more success spelling it correctly (“deuces”), but until then you can use the pic from this old UNCASG-related entry.
- college students taking classes unrelated to their major: Yep, that’s how I made my way through N.C. State
- why do you want to go to nc central law?: Ummm… if you don’t know the answer to that question already, you probably don’t want to go here If you want my reasons, you can read my “Why NCCU Law?” entry linked at the top of this page.
- is law school still worth it: Nothing has happened to change my perspective (Part I and Part II) so I’d say “yes.”
- can you fail duke law?: On a B+ curve? And risk the school losing $51K+ a year in tuition in fees per student? It might be theoretically possible, but I doubt it happens
- 1l grades most important: I certainly hope not or I’m screwed. I prefer my own $.02: your 1L grades don’t matter.
- va beach snowmageddon: Terrifying at the time, but pretty effing cool in retrospect
- sulc has too many white students: With budget cuts going on and minimum bar passage rates slated to rise, my guess is SULC has bigger things to worry about
- november mpre 2011 thoughts: It sucked. But I passed.
- “closing argument” “let me try that again” good morning: Assuming you’re planning to try something similar to the Chief’s greeting back at 1L Orientation: please don’t. I’ve yet to find a single person who thinks this tactic is humorous or anything but annoying.
- how to get caught up law school: When you figure it out, please let me know
- young lawyers division ridiculous: That’s actually not the first time I’ve heard this. Aside from the YLD’s incomplete approach to transparency in law school statistics, a number of them were downright rude during the ABA Annual Meeting this past summer. I guess being esquires entitles them to be pricks? Hopefully that won’t be me this time next year.
Nothing particularly risqué in this month’s batch of queries, but I still enjoyed digging through them
To wrap things up, here are the Top 5 posts from November 2011:
- On NCCU Law’s strict-C curve: In support of the strict C: a year later (11/12/11)
- On thinking about going solo: Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part I) (11/27/11)
- On pros/cons for going solo: Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part II) (11/29/11)
- On the irrelevance of 1L grades: Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter (05/29/11)
- On the November ’11 MPRE: That was remarkably unpleasant (11/05/11)
And that’s it for this entry! *THANK YOU* as always for your continued support of law:/dev/null, it’s greatly appreciated!
From the Site Stats archives:
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 8, 2011 in Randomness
After spending the past 7 years at the helm of the North Carolina Central University School of Law, the Chief is stepping down when his 5-year contract expires at the end of this academic year.
From today’s article in the Durham Herald-Sun:
Pierce to leave NCCU law school
By Neil Offen
December 8, 2011
DURHAM — Raymond Pierce, who has lead the N.C. Central University School of Law to increased funding and national prominence, is leaving his post as dean to take a position with a Raleigh law firm.
Pierce, who has been dean at NCCU since 2005, will join Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as a partner at the end of the academic year.
“It has been a great honor and pleasure to have worked with so many outstanding people at NCCU,” said Pierce. “Although I will greatly miss being at the university, I look forward to being at Nelson Mullins and returning to the practice of law.”
Before becoming dean, Pierce was a partner at the firm of Baker Hostetler where he represented clients in the steel, energy, banking and private equity business.
During Pierce’s tenure, the law school has seen increased applications, enrollment and alumni giving. The school twice has been rated No. 1 for best value Law School and has been included in a top 10 list of most popular law schools.
In 2008, Pierce led a successful effort to equalize state funding between the law school at UNC Chapel Hill and NCCU, the state’s only two public law schools. Pierce also has elevated the prominence of the law school by securing visits from dignitaries such as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Lots more info in the Durham Herald-Sun article, so make sure to check it out when you have time.
Many of us have known this was coming since at least August when the Chief all-but-announced the news at the first SBA Presidents’ Roundtable meeting. Even so, it makes me incredibly nervous for the next few years at NCCU Law.
Any time you’ve got a transition of leadership at a public institution it creates a window for slashing budgets and making other changes that established leaders had previously blocked. See, e.g., what’s happened to the consolidated University of North Carolina the instant former University President Erskine Bowles stepped down, with billions (with a ‘B’) slashed from the University budget and multiple 4-figure tuition increases at constituent institutions across the state slated to take effect next academic year.
It’s also commonplace for educational institutions to alternate between more “business”-oriented leaders and more “academic”-oriented leaders. The UNC system is a good example with academic Bill Friday followed by businessman Dick Spangler followed by academic Molly Broad followed by businessman Erskine Bowles followed now by former Davidson College President Tom Ross.
If NCCU Law follows that pattern, we’re likely to get someone academically oriented as our next Dean… and I’m uncertain (at this point at least) if that’ll be a wise decision in a period of budget austerity. Students want someone friendly toward them who will focus on polishing the academic credentials of the school, but money is what helps make all that happen. We need someone who can twist arms at the General Assembly, convince alumni to open their wallets, and make sure tuition stays low so NCCU Law can continue honoring its historical mission to reach out to underserved communities and dominating the cost-conscious sector of legal education in North Carolina.
But that’s just my $.02, and I could be wrong.
Congratulations to the Chief on his new job! And let’s hope whoever determines his successor doesn’t screw up
Have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 6, 2011 in NotFail
I know I usually wait to post entries until right before bed, but the November 2011 MPRE scores just came out…
…and I’m officially ethical enough to practice in any state in the country!
Yay passing things!
Words cannot adequately convey how abjectly terrified I was when I walked out of the testing center expecting that I’d have to repeat the test again in February. I’m talking downright turrfied.
Thankfully all that stressing out was for nothing ::wipes brow::
Granted the score’s not exactly anything to write home about; the MPRE’s on a 150-pt scale, so basically I got a flat D if this were done on a traditional grading scale.
But I don’t care because now I’ve only got those minor speed bumps of “graduation” and “barzam” standing between myself and a law license!
That’s all for now, I’m still on finals grind mode and don’t really have time to type more. Have a great night y’all, and *CONGRATULATIONS* to all the other law school folks out there who passed!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 4, 2011 in The 3L Life
At the risk of sounding like one of those creepy internet stalker-type people, it’s no secret that I’ve derived many an LOL from reading Mariel’s commentary over at Fresh Thought Soup.
She’s a fellow Class of 2012 blawger way out at UT Law, and from the law school-related nightmares to the hilarious cartoons and most other stuff in between she writes stuff that’s (i) funny, (ii) on point, or typically (iii) both.
Besides, her blog currently has snow flakes falling — who doesn’t like snowflakes in winter??
Her latest entry squarely falls into the second category, but it’s so thoroughly spot on that I thought I’d mention it here and send y’all in her direction. Titled “Why I can’t study,” it’s basically a chronicle on 3L-itis that I wish I could just sign at the bottom.
Grades not being able to change much at this point because so many credits are already in the bag, to the point it’s mathematically impossible to reach the next academic plateau even if you banked straight A’s from now until graduation? Check.
Having a blend of classes that all-but-guarantees a net GPA roughly in line with your current long-run average? Check.
Realizing that you’re better in a hands-on practical environment where you can adapt and fix errors, compared to the sanitized world of client-less one-and-done law school exams? Check.
My classmates wonder why I’ve been so lax with academic stuff this semester after working so hard last year, now focusing more on the excessive quantity of extracurriculars I dove into — our situations might not be exactly the same, but Mariel’s voiced my thoughts on it pretty well. Definitely go read her piece when you have some free time
I’m off to resume work on my next set of final papers that aren’t getting done on time…
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 3, 2011 in NotFail
I made it!
For the first time all semester, I got a Tax assignment turned in ahead of deadline with my final uploaded just before 4am this morning. Then headed to bed, slept ’til 8am, got up and promptly started studying for my 2pm Sales & Secured Transactions final.
To any 1Ls/2Ls who happen to read this: paying attention in Sales throughout the semester is certifiably A Good Idea™
Prof. Sales’s exam is intense, reflecting the fact it’s a 4-credit course. 10 questions on classifying collateral, 20 “short” multiple choice questions, 40 “long” multiple choice questions, and 2 essays on Article 2 and Article 9 respectively. By the time you’re done it’s like having an anvil lifted off your chest; it was, hands-down, my hardest exam of my law school career.
And even though I’ve got no clue how my grade will turn out, I think I actually might have done alright
The pre-Halloween weekend I spent catching up on Article 2 was time very well spent, and my Article 9 (mis-)reading helped me not be totally clueless on PMSIs, the Professor’s SCAPP analysis framework, and so on.
Though I did have a brief CivPro II flashback as I made it to the 2 essays with only 30 minutes left, put in 20 minutes on what had to be the quickest almost-thorough analysis I’ve ever done and then barely managed to outline a response on Article 9
No clue how much that’s going to hurt my grade, but I’m hoping I followed my historical pattern and banged out the multiples. Fingers crossed
Grabbed dinner and a drink with some fellow 3Ls afterwards, came home to knock out an extra credit assignment for Tax… and now I’m off to catch up on sleep
Have a great night y’all!
Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 2, 2011 in Fail
LDOC and SBA’s last Presidents’ Roundtable meeting were Wednesday, NCCU Law‘s class-free “Reading Day” was yesterday, and as of today our Fall final exam period has officially started.
So my dishwasher decided to commemorate the event by exploding.
I’ve got a Tax final due tomorrow at 8am that I really needed to finish this afternoon, so I could study for the Sales & Secured Transactions final happening at 2pm. Instead I got to spend time cleaning up nasty water, airing out the apartment, and trying to convince the dog we weren’t getting bombed by fighter jets.
No clue what prompted the breakdown either because I’m not missing any dishes. Reverse serendipity maybe?