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Greetings from Washington (briefly)!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 26, 2012 in The 3L Life

Hello from Reagan Washington National Airport!

Yes, I’m posting from the airport while waiting for a flight home :beatup:

Life the past week has been crazy and taken its toll. Backtracking to the previous law:/dev/null entry, the TYLA quarterfinals at Memphis Law last week came to an ignominious end. The UGA team went in on Shutterbug with some thoroughly bizarre objections during our case in chief, and the (bankruptcy lawyer) judge actually sustained them :crack:  And since I’m a smidge overprotective of people, I was pissed they hounded her and was determined to get our evidence in come hell or high water — which I eventually did on cross-examination of their expert witness, but only after giving the (bankruptcy lawyer) judge five (5!) separate rules allowing it in and still having to go through three separate sets of questions the (bankruptcy lawyer) judge felt I needed to ask as foundation. :mad:

Soooo I lost points for my demeanor…1

Bear in mind this was the same (bankruptcy lawyer) judge who decided to publicly berate Shutterbug for questioning the Defendant about a prior DUI… after the Defense opened the door on direct examination.2 Needless to say we lost that round, and EIC was less-than-pleased with me. But at least NCCU Law set the stage for an even better performance next year!

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with 雅雅, then afterwards I joined the team for drinks and relaxation. What happens in Memphis stays in Memphis of course; I’ll just say I had a blast and didn’t fall asleep until 4am3 :)

Group photo of NCCU Law's Howard Moot Court Teams: Me, Diane Carter '13, Nnenna Olu '13, and Kelvin Jacobs '13

Once we were back in NC my focus shifted to moot court and the competition at Howard Law this weekend in Washington DC. Enduring two weeks of averaging 4.5 hours of sleep a night finally caught up to me, and by the time we got into Washington this past Thursday I had come down with a full-fledged cold. I was chugging Theraflu like it was Kool-Aid and popping Halls cough drops like Skittles. That in turn affected my oral argument performance, which I thought was utterly disastrous despite my coach and El Presidente (who’s getting his LLM at American Law) both insisting it went well. I’m proud one of our two teams made it to the quarter-finals there, my team just wasn’t one of them and I feel responsible for it :(

The highlight to the trip was getting a chance to catch up with two friends from my NC State days. On Friday I got food and a drink with Shirley, someone I first met all the way back in 2005 when I came back to NC State and became the Treasurer of my Hall Council. I’ve always been guaranteed to have an abnormally insightful discussion with that one, and Friday was no different. Then Saturday I joined a former SG colleague Mr. QC for a couple hours to learn about all the big-time stuff he’s doing in the nation’s capital.4 He’s currently with a federal agency and actively dabbling in city politics, and I fully expect him to be running something major by the time I’ve gotten my law license.

Cool+random mural on the side of a DC building Shirley and I passed, with Presidents going back to Eisenhower

It was truly awesome talking with them both, and really helped put me in a better mental frame of mind after my competition :D  I can’t tell you how truly blessed I feel having crossed paths with all these really amazing folks. It gives me the cliché warm fuzzies inside… :spin:

Which brings me to today, sitting here about to board a flight back to the Bull City. I’m way behind on academic work — and made the mistake of signing up for 3 separate classes that have weekly assignments, so my grades are pretty much shot for the semester already — but fortunately will not be traveling anymore until after the bar exam, so I can go back to a somewhat normal life. Obviously I’m ready to be home and get things back the way they should be!

And, God willing, including a few more blog entries too ;)

That’s it from me, about to go board — have a great day y’all, and a great week ahead!

—===—

From the law:/dev/null travel-related archives:

  1. Even though one of the jurors (who actually does litigation) described the cross-x and closing arguments as the “highlight” of my performance. []
  2. Our coach went up to the (bankruptcy lawyer) judge after the competition to ask wtf she was thinking, and she claimed to have never heard of the phrase “opening the door” or understanding what it meant :roll: []
  3. Before having to wake up at 6am to get to the airport :beatup: []
  4. His nickname for him here comes from the very first day we met, when he walked into my office when I was Student Senate President and told me “Charlotte does this, you need to get Raleigh to do it too” — a poor strategic choice, for those law:/dev/null readers who aren’t familiar with the hostility between North Carolina’s two largest cities ;) []

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TOP 8!!!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 18, 2012 in NotFail

AAAHHHHHHHHHH!! :D

Sorry, had to get that out :)

So after finally getting things caught up here at law:/dev/null a couple weeks ago, I promptly disappeared again to focus on my upcoming competitions. I’m the “swing” counsel for one of NCCU Law‘s TYLA National Trial Competition teams again this year and have been determined to improve on last year’s just-barely-missed-it 9th place finish…

…and tonight WE DID IT!!! :spin:

NCCU Law's 2012 TYLA Trial Teams! From left to right: Associate Coach Jessica Major '09, Head Coach Clayton Jones '03, Me, Deyaska Spencer '13, Robert Brooks '12, Jillian Mack '12, Nikia Williams '13, Omari Crawford '13. Not pictured: Associate Coach Dominique Camm '09. Photo courtesy of 雅雅 :)

Teams are a little different year — instead of doing straight 2L-only and 3L-only squads, we have two 3Ls1 and one 2L2 on one team and one 2L, one 2.5L,3 and a 3L on the other — but even with the switched up pairings we still had a team make it into the Top 8 to advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

And not only did we advance, but we discovered (i) we were 1 of only 5 teams4 to win all three of our preliminary rounds and (ii) we also swept all 9 of the judges’ ballots, making us the #1 seed in the quarterfinal pairings! :surprised:

For a time it didn’t seem like things were going to turn out that way.

NCCU Law’s been getting hammered with budget cuts, so we couldn’t afford to print our enlarged exhibits locally and then ship them from Durham; we had to get them printed here in Memphis before our arrival… only to discover yesterday morning (before the first round) that the order was completely FUBAR’d :mad:  So rather than spending our time focusing on the upcoming trial we were scrambling to get the prints done like they needed to be, get additional prints for the stuff that never got done, etc etc.

The first round was against the University of Memphis School of Law with EIC and I on defense, and after it was over we felt pretty good — no repeats of first-round jitters like we had at both the TYLA competition and the AAJ competition last year. Then came this morning, with Shutterbug and I representing the Plaintiff against a team from Duke Law. It was the same Duke Law team that won the 1L K-S competition last year so Shutterbug was looking for revenge and did a superlative job; Duke Law’s main strength was the breadth and quality of their objections, but we had a special pow-wow before heading to Memphis where we anticipated almost everything they threw at us.

But then the afternoon session was against a team from Charleston Law and we just knew EIC and I had lost our shot. One of the other side’s witnesses was actually a witness from the Friday night round playing the same guy, so he knew our cross-examination; the Memphis hosts went out of their way to try and find someone else, but couldn’t come up with anybody so we had to roll with it. I think knowing that was an issue had both of us mentally thrown off because neither of us were really “in the zone” like we should have been from that point onward.

By the grace of God we somehow eked it out though, winning that particular round by a couple points :)

I was so nervous when they were announcing the results of who advanced that I completely forgot my alphabet too. The hosts were announcing winners in alphabetical order, and when they said “E” I dropped my head thinking we had lost again  :oops:  Then they said “H” and I did a little foot stomping before giving the team a bear hug :D

Coach Jones and I with the Sunday rounds poster (before the re-flip)

The 8 advancing teams got called into a side room to get entered onto the chart of Sunday rounds and call a coin toss to see who would be which side. We were originally slated to go against Mercer Law, but their team was late to the meeting (for reasons that’ll be apparent in the next paragraph) so we were given the chance to call the coin toss, won, and were slated to go against them on Defense.

Then we went back to the room to change clothes before getting dinner… only to get called back because apparently there was a ballot error,5 Mercer Law was right in thinking they hadn’t advanced after all (hence why they were late), and we had to do everything all over again with a different team. We lost the coin toss the second time and the sides have switched, so we’re now on Plaintiff paired up with Georgia Law‘s defense.

In addition to us and Georgia Law, there’s one team apiece from Wake Forest Law (NC), Campbell Law (NC), Georgia State Law (GA), Vanderbilt Law (TN), Memphis Law (TN), and Emory Law (GA).

I’m more nervous than a Mythbusters insurance agent about how tomorrow is going to go down, especially after the unexpected change in plans about who’s going on what side. But after last year — and I hate to say this in print because it seems preemptively defeatist, but it’s true — I’m totally content with where we’ve gotten. NCCU Law made it to the Sunday rounds for the first time in at least 3-4 years,6 we are 1 of only 3 North Carolina schools to advance this year, we swept everything, and we snagged a #1 seed… and, the biggest relief for me, I redeemed myself for blowing the first round last year :beatup:

Totally unrelated to how things go, I want to publicly give some praise to the University of Memphis School of Law on how they implemented the competition this year.  They did an excellent job of making sure the judges didn’t know what schools the different competitors were from, reminding coaches and competitors both not to disclose that information intentionally or accidentally, went out of their way to ensure there were no conflicts with judges or witnesses seeing the same teams more than once, the list goes on. The competition coordinators were moving around all over the place keeping things running like a well-oiled machine, and I greatly appreciate that.

And I’m not just saying that because we advanced :P  I’d rather lose a fair contest than win a rigged one.

Aside from all the competition-ness, I also got to see 雅雅 who gave up her weekend to come out and support us, ate some delicious ribs and bbq from Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous, and generally just enjoy having the weight of last year’s failure lifted off my chest. It’s been a good day :)

I’ll keep you posted on how things go tomorrow, but for now I’m heading to bed so I can get ready for tomorrow morning. Good night y’all! :D

—===—

From the law:/dev/null travel-related archives:

  1. Myself and EIC, who was on the AAJ team last year. []
  2. Shutterbug from last year’s Kilpatrick-Stockton 1L team. []
  3. A 3rd-year student in our 4-year JD/MBA joint-degree program []
  4. Out of 32 teams from 16 law schools across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee []
  5. One of the judges marked a defense ballot part of the ballot as a plaintiff part of the ballot :crack: []
  6. No one’s been able to tell me the last time our TYLA team actually made it to Sunday :beatup: []

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In Case You Missed It (Round VIII)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 7, 2012 in In Case You Missed It

Earlier tonight I crossed paths with Prof. Sales during a break in TYLA trial team practice, and he noted there hasn’t been much to read here on law:/dev/null lately. So I let him know I’d actually gotten a few entries written over the past week about the 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting

…which prompted him to ask if I was going to be as distracted during the bar prep summer months as I seem to be during the semester :beatup:

He had a point about the blog though, so I decided to cobble another one of these entries together. Here are the posts since I returned from my hiatus in chronological order:

If you’re bored and have some free time, feel free to read through the past few entries. And I’ll do what I can to not be MIA for an entire month ;)

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This is more like it…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 6, 2012 in The 3L Life

I’m hoping against hope that I just might have turned a corner on this semester.

The day didn’t start off that well — I did end up oversleeping and missed 8:30am Moot Court practice :beatup: — but things turned around by mid-afternoon.  Our first NC Distinctions tests came back, and while I didn’t do as well as I should have I did “good enough” to avoid being subjected to a re-test tomorrow afternoon. I got some more work done on law:/dev/null, got my roadmap cobbled together for moot court, and did reasonably well at my first practice.1

There’s still a lot left to be done: homework is still due weekly for my other classes, the TYLA trial team coaches are pissed at my future absences,2 and I’ve got upcoming subjects in Distinctions that I’ve never taken before so the tests will be more challenging.

But coming off my worst semester of law school, progress is progress! :)

  1. A clutch performance, as our coach noted in the feedback afterward that she “was expecting you [me] to be my [her] biggest disappointment.” []
  2. Even though I made clear to them when we came up with our original practice schedule that I wouldn’t be available M/W/F, and later acquiesced to temporary availability on those days when they altered the practice schedule to 7 days a week… :mad: []

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Back in the Bull City (Again)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 5, 2012 in The 3L Life

I’m back :)

EIC and I missed the Super Bowl, our 2nd flight back was spent right behind a smelly drunk,1 and we didn’t touch down in RDU until just now minutes before midnight — but it’s been a great trip, and even more great being back in North Carolina :D

Heading to pick up my luggage, drop off EIC, take out Samson, then head to bed and pray I don’t oversleep and miss Moot Court practice tomorrow morning :beatup:

Have a great week y’all!

—===—

From the law:/dev/null 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting-related archives:

  1. On a plane with an “inoperable auxiliary power supply” :crack: []

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I TALKED TO ANTONIN SCALIA!!! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 4, 2012 in The 3L Life

You guys!

I talked to Antonin Scalia! :D   :D   :D

Well, “talked to” as in “asked a question that he answered” — but that’s close enough for this 3L :spin:

I was hoping to snap a better shot, but right as I took this they announced no pictures or recording devices were allowed... :|

Today was Day 2 for EIC and I at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting 2012. Neither of us found any other law students in the morning (again), so we hit two different CLEs1 and then headed to an afternoon Q&A session where Justice Scalia was the featured guest.

We got there über-early, so we got prime seats on the 3rd row along the center aisle. It’s the first time I’ve actually seen a Supreme Court Justice live in-person so I wanted a decent view :beatup:

Regardless of one’s opinion on his opinions, Scalia was/is hilarious and had the audience laughing on a fairly regular basis — even more impressive when you consider that these were law-oriented jokes and not your typical comedy fare. He had a number of anecdotes interwoven into his substantive commentary to keep things interesting.

After talking for not-quite-an-hour on the state of the courts, how the Supreme Court works, his past opinions and such, the floor was opened for audience questions. So I decided to raise my hand and got to be one of the five questions he answered.2 :D

It was a pretty snazzy experience :spin:

A Pat O'Brien's Hurricane: highly recommended for a reason

Once the Scalia talk wrapped it was dinner time, so we headed over to Pat O’Brien’s for food and drinks. Their Cajun Shephard’s Pie was great, incredibly delicious. We each also tried one of their Hurricanes (at the request of, literally, almost a dozen friends) and now understand why they were so highly recommended.3

After that we hit Cafe du Monde again for more beignets, explored the French Market area, did a smidge of souvenir shopping and headed back to the hotel.

I feel lame for being back in the room by 8pm on a Saturday night in New Orleans, but I’m doggone tired  :beatup:

Hope all of you have an amazing weekend! I’m getting up early again tomorrow so I can start packing up for the trip home. It’s been a great time in NOLA but I’m looking forward to being back in the Bull City :)

Have a good night!

—===—

From the law:/dev/null 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting-related archives:

  1. Hers on indigent defense, mine on computer security, privacy rights and the law. []
  2. Though it was a softball: I asked if he stood by his opinion that we have too many lawyers and if he ever envisioned it changing, just to see what he’d say to a room full of lawyers :angel: []
  3. And as an ego boost — witnessed by EIC — one of the waiters (not ours) saw me in my campaign t-shirt and goes “I LOVE that t-shirt man! That T. on it is hot!B-) []

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First Impressions: ABA Midyear Meeting 2012, Day 1

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 3, 2012 in The 3L Life

This is a lot different from the ABA’s annual shindig

First, neither EIC nor I have found a single law student here :surprised:  From the agenda it looks like the only thing the Law Student Division has going on is the National Negotiation Competition — so we stopped by to see who we could see, and didn’t see a soul. A huge disappointment in my opinion, and a highlight of why it’s difficult increasing participation in the ABA-LSD.

There are also fewer attorneys here overall, which means fewer CLEs and more meetings for the leadership of the ABA’s multitude of Divisions, Sections, Committees, and so on. It looks like that’s the purpose for why the midyear meetings were created in the first place; it’s just difficult for a law student to break the ice when you walk in a room and you’re not part of the “in” crowd on that committee.

We did swing through several events though. This morning we sat in on a CLE discussing the trends in cybercrime heading into 2012. It was an interesting discussion, though one where I felt my inner computer scientist and political libertarian creeping out. For example, the CLE began with a discussion of Anonymous and LulzSec… labeled as terrorist organizations :crack:  I have a hard time accepting the notion that hacktivists are of the same mold as Al Qaeda or Los Zetas. A few minutes later a panelist with the Secret Service commented on the Jones SCOTUS decision and how GPS “tracked your phone number” so a vendor could text you when you were in the vicinity of their store — except GPS only tracks the GPS receiver in your phone, and any text messages you got based on that data would be the result of you sharing your phone number with a vendor a priori, and not because of some innate danger to GPS itself.

View of the Mississippi River from the hotel's 41st floor (Panorama via AutoStitch iPhone app)

Afterwards we stopped by a roundtable discussion on election laws going into the 2012 election cycle, where we happened to cross paths (again) with former NC Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye. The roundtable itself featured an at-length discussion of Voter ID laws in Louisiana, similar to those that were vetoed in North Carolina, and how the law was implemented. With North Carolina shaping up to be an electoral battleground next year it was an interesting conversation.

Following the election panel we headed over to a CLE on qui tam lawsuits, easily among the Top 3 most lively debates I’ve ever seen at a CLE. I confess to knowing almost nothing about qui tam suits beyond what I learned in Employment Discrimination last semester, or how many of them (if any) there are here in North Carolina, but I spoke with the panelists for a bit afterwards and if this turns out to be something our alumni do I’m hoping to bring them down to NCCU Law for a panel discussion some time in the future.

CLEs aside, New Orleans is very cool :) We took some time to go explore, eat some po’boys and other Louisana staples, shop a bit, and otherwise wander around. And we ate some beignets from Cafe du Monde that tasted delicious.1 The whole area is an interesting blend of really really really old mixed with the modern and tourist-y stuff. It also reminds me of Disney’s The Princess & the Frog (courtesy of EIC’s voice impressions) and a smidge of Q.T., who has a very Tiana-like persona.

Once the exploring was done I came back here to the hotel to crash and do some work. Things resume early tomorrow morning and frankly I need my beauty sleep too :beatup:

If you haven’t been to New Orleans before, definitely add it to your life’s to-do list! From what I’ve seen so far it’s pretty amazing.

Until then, have a great night y’all! :D

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From the law:/dev/null 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting-related archives:

  1. Yes, I’m sufficiently fat-minded that beignets get their own special line of commentary in that paragraph :P []

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Greetings from New Orleans!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 2, 2012 in The 3L Life

Hi from the Big Easy y’all! :D

1 more state added to the list!

EIC and I are in town for the 2012 ABA Midyear Meeting, taking place here in New Orleans from February 1st through 7th.

Our arrival here today marks the first time in NCCU Law history our SBA has had someone present at all four Law Student in Division that happen during the year: the Circuit meeting in the Spring, the Annual Meeting in the Summer, the “Super Circuit” meeting in the Fall, and now this Midyear Meeting in the Winter :spin:

I’m totally exhausted from my 8am Negotiation class and 12pm test in NC Distinctions, so I’m heading to bed; more to come tomorrow. Have a great night!

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From the law:/dev/null travel-related archives:

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