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Things TDot Likes: Flattery (Redux)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 30, 2012 in Things TDot Likes

Back during 2L Fall I mentioned in this ConLaw-centric Things TDot Likes entry that I like knowing when the stuff I do helps someone else.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve kept law:/dev/null going, why I host outlines on the blog and post how-to videos on YouTube, and that sort of thing — contrary to popular belief, it’s less about being an attention whore and more about (i) representing my law school and (ii) hoping to improve the law school experience for the folks coming after me.

I don’t expect that of course, but that’s the goal :) And hearing that it’s worked always brightens up my day.

Today was one of those days:

Nicest. Message. Evah.

Hey dude…just wanted to say thanks for all the videos you’ve uploaded on Youtube. I’m on the mock trial team at [redacted] University in [redacted], and our school is mostly transactional so we don’t have a lot of coaching/budget /trial resources. I thought you’d like to know that your videos have helped me enormously in preparation for the TYLA regional competition and the [redacted] Mock Trial Comp as well as in becoming a semi-finalist in the [redacted] Closing Argument Competition hosted annually by our school. My friends and I have been studying your movement, inflections, introduction of the burden, use of themes, use of jury instructions, and your acting skills for our trial ad classes. You’ve become kind of a legend down here lol. Anyway, just wanted to reach out, say thanks, and wish you luck in the future. And of course, looking forward to any more entertaining and educational videos you may post in the future.Best Regards, [redacted]

:eek: :D :spin:

That has to be one of the very best messages I’ve ever gotten on Facebook. It not only put me in a great mood, but validated why I do what I do — and gave me extra motivation to keep things going and (hopefully) get the blog updated sooner rather than later.

I don’t expect that either of course, but that’s the goal ;)

Good night y’all!

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From the Things TDot Likes archives:

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I’M DONE!!!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 27, 2012 in The 3L Life

With law school classes and papers anyway :beatup:

Today was my very last day of class as a student at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, and man it was a doozy.

Our final exam in NC Distinctions was at 12:00pm,1 after which I immediately booked it down to my cubicle to grind out my unfinished two final papers in Arbitration. Not only did I get those done, but I also found my old notes to myself and typed up those missing journal entries too — if I can’t get an A or an A-, at the very least I’m gonna try to make Prof Arbitration think long and hard before giving me lower than a B+!

When I got home tonight I was completely drained mentally. I mean barely-forming-coherent-sentences drained. So I headed over to the bar next to my apartment to indulge in their cheese fries and a celebratory drink :D

I’ve just got my Professional Responsibility exam a week from today and I’ll be finished with law school.2 I can’t convey to you in words how TOTALLY @#$%ING AWESOME it feels to be done with papers and classes! :spin:

This is going to be one incredibly peaceful night’s rest. Have a great weekend everybody! :)

  1. I learned after the test that I flubbed half of the essay question, so now I have the agonizing wait to learn how badly I flubbed it and if I still have any “path to victory” at all… []
  2. Can you believe that?? :eek: []

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Ugh

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 25, 2012 in Fail

When political commentators talk about the presidential election race every four years, have you ever heard them talk about a candidate’s “path to victory”?

I always thought it was a silly phrase to use. I’m not really sure why; maybe because I always saw the President of the United States as a “national” leader that I briefly forgot about the state-by-state nature of the election.

Well this week I’m learning first-hand about the concept  :beatup:

We got back our last-set-of-grades-before-the-final in NC Distinctions, NCCU Law‘s course to help immerse 3Ls in the key distinctions between North Carolina and other states in Future Interests, Criminal Procedure, Real Estate Finance, and Family Law. The course features one test every couple weeks in each of those subjects, worth 20 points apiece, and a final exam covering all four subjects also worth 20 points. Every test except the final can be retaken — the overall score is determined by taking the best of the two scores on the multiple choice portion, and adding the average of the two scores on the essay portion — and there is a curve of no more than +8 points.1 It’s a class the 3Ls before me always complained about and is a renowned GPA killer.

So I’ve been studying my butt off trying to get an A in here now that the best I can do in Arbitration is a B+.

I’d done sufficiently well on the first test (Future Interests) to escape a rewrite entirely, did well on the CrimPro essay so I decided not to risk my score dropping by doing a rewrite for that one, and voluntarily did the rewrite in ReFi to juice my score when I realized the trajectory my grades were taking. I needed roughly an 18 apiece on the FamLaw test and the final; not easy, but not outside the realm of possibility with enough studying.

Me after seeing my latest Distinctions grade

I botched the first FamLaw test multis, earning me a 16. Under the Distinctions scoring model, though, I could bring that up to a 19 on the rewrite.

Then I did the rewrite (the grade we just got back)…

…and got a 16.5 :beatup:

My guess is Prof Distinctions was feeling sympathetic, because she rounded my overall average on the subject to 16.5 from 16.25.  As appreciative as I am, the bigger issue for me now is that I need a perfect 20 out of 20 on the final exam to get that A. Miss a single point and I’m down to an A-; miss 3 or more puts me in B+-and-below territory.

I feel like I’m back at N.C. State, where I spent my Christmas breaks doing academic work and was still doing assignments to graduate in July even after I had “walked” in May.

This is entirely too much effort during what should otherwise be the relaxing downhill coast to graduation… and my “path to victory” is mighty doggone narrow. Grrr.

The final Distinctions exam is tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me y’all! :)

  1. Meaning if someone aces the course the curve will be less than +8, but if we all fail we’re not getting more than +8 no matter how the curve turns out. []

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Maybe one implied the other?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 22, 2012 in The 3L Life

Good evening y’all!

Tonight was our annual 3L Graduation Dinner at NCCU Law, one last chance for the Class of 2012 to get together and enjoy good food, revel in the fact we’re about to graduate, and otherwise have a good time :D

No surveys taken to determine if being a politician qualifies as being in the public sector...

We also announce the winners of our Class Superlatives, things like “Most Likely to be Late to Graduation” and that sort of thing.

And I ended up with two :crack:

Now I’ll concede up front: I don’t think anyone was surprised that I was voted “Most Likely to be a Politician.” Between 1L year as UNCASG President, 2L year as SBA Treasurer, and 3L year as SBA President (plus being Student Senate President and UNCASG President at N.C. State), it’s obvious by now that I really enjoy this stuff and being in a position to help folks.1

The stunner was getting called back up to the stage a second time as the people’s choice for “Most Likely to Work in the Public Sector” :surprised:

Sure, it’s shaping up that will probably be the case — NC SPICE is coming together slowly — but for other folks to think it was a surprise, especially with my not-infrequent rantings against Big Guv’mint (see here and here and here for examples).

I’m a little flattered, very appreciative, but mostly just shocked. Even though it’s “just” a superlative, I’m hoping down the road I’ll be able to live up to them both :)

Until then, have a great night y’all!

  1. Even though I’ve already noted that the odds of me getting elected outside of a college campus are nil… :beatup: []

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Well that sucks…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 18, 2012 in The 3L Life

With the end of my last semester of law school (ever!) bearing down and final papers coming due, I’ve started worrying about…

…my grades. :surprised:

Now before I get accused of being a flip-flopper or hypocrite after penning entries like “Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter,” let me explain. I stand by my argument that law school grades are irrelevant; I’ve seen enough people with GPAs lower than mine to be convinced legal employment is largely a game of networking and not being a prick, with jobs going to socially adept people who outwork their competitors regardless of artificial scholastic achievement.1 My 1L grades were sufficiently low that graduating with academic honors was always a stretch, so graduating without them hasn’t been a big deal to me.

My family sees things a smidge differently though :beatup:

Nan has been pushing me to drop the extracurricular stuff and focus on my grades for years now. And my mom still has a tendency to bring up National Honor Society inductions in high school — 15+ years ago! — when I needed a 3.5 GPA for admission and only had a 3.492.2 Now that law school is my “last hurrah” academically, and especially with my GPA so close to the cum laude borderline (currently at a 2.934 on NCCU Law‘s strict-C curve), I’m basically facing the either-or dilemma of graduating with honors or… giving my mom yet another story with which to embarrass me in front of people decades from now.

You can guess which option I prefer ;)

I need a 3.667 semester GPA3 in order to reach a 3.004. One-half of one letter grade below that threshold — a single B+ in a sea of A-‘s — and I’d drop down to a 2.996 with all the parental (and grandparental) disappointment that comes with it.

So it was in that spirit I talked to Prof Ks yesterday, explaining my situation and asking for advice on how to gently twist professors’ arms for insight on how to get better grades. I was/am particularly vexed by Arbitration, where the Professor doesn’t seem to be a T. fan.

Not that she’s without justification. We have weekly journal entries to submit based on the readings for class, designed to ensure we’re sufficiently versed in the material to discuss the cases, and not surprisingly I’ve missed 2 this semester.4 We were also supposed to observe one particular arbitration in person, but the day of that arbitration became the day I ended up on the phone all morning with Sallie Mae trying to explain away getting screwed by the Department of Education; I basically stood in the foyer to the courtroom all morning in my suit, missing everything but the verdict, and earning an incredulous look from the Professor when I explained why I wasn’t in the room.

Like I said, she’s not a T. fan. Anyhow, the bulk of our grade is based on a final research paper and in talking with Prof Ks his suggestion was just to ask Prof Arbitration after class how amazing I had to make this paper to snag an A-.

So I did.

And it did not go well…

Favoring the direct non-poker face approach, I just came to her office and asked the question: what can I do to get an A-?

Prof Arbitration’s response: “Oh you’re beyond that.” Her tone of voice made it clear that “beyond that” meant “too low for it to ever happen,” but just in case I misunderstood she made sure to clarify by adding “And what I mean by that is that it’s just not possible.”

Me, to myself: “Well d*mn.”

It definitely put a damper on the rest of the day. Now I’m stuck in this worst-case scenario where I have to go all-out in Arbitration (an elective) to make sure I get at least the B+, and somehow swing an A in one of my other 3 classes.

It’s gonna be a long couple weeks…  :roll:

  1. Or, as Prof Ks aptly put it back during 1L year: “When your competitors are sleeping, you’re hustling. When they’re hustling, you’re hustling harder.” []
  2. No attention paid to the fact I had -0- actual interest in joining NHS, since a good number of the members looked down on folks like me who spent the day playing either basketball, RPGs, or video games. But I digress… []
  3. A-‘s across the board, and what would be my highest GPA ever in law school :beatup: []
  4. Even so, I’m one of only a quintet of students who regularly participates in an often-silent class discussion. I always do the readings, they just typically get done the night before class when I don’t have time to write a journal entry. []

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I’ve been meme’d! O_o

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 17, 2012 in Randomness

Forgot to mention this a couple days ago when I first found out:  someone’s turned me into a UNCCH meme!  :crack:

Even though I haven’t been keeping up with law:/dev/null like I should, I still stalk Facebook on a near-daily basis. So I logged in Saturday night when I got back from the law school, figuring I’d scan through my timeline to see what was going on in the world…

The image I saw at the top of my FB timeline on Saturday

…and at the top of the timeline saw a picture of myself staring back at me :surprised:

One of the 1Ls here at NCCU Law went to UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad and saw the pic on the UNC Memes page that had cropped up on Facebook. The format is a blend of the Scumbag Steve meme paired with the traditional Advice Animals’ color wheel background.

At first I thought it was created by someone who didn’t like me from UNCASG, or maybe had an issue with my past trash-talking about UNCCH.1

But I didn’t recognize any of the names at TheBlackFalcon.net (the folks behind the initial meme) and now it just looks like a random coincidence:  after going through our server logs, someone Google’d “ncsu hat” a couple days ago and apparently we show up on the first page of the results — the photo is from this entry back during N.C. State’s Champs Sports Bowl appearance 2L year, where I bought my red NCSU hat to replace the old “traditional” black one I’ve had since late 1999.

Coincidence or not, I’m honored to be the face of the opposition for all you UNCCH lovers out there. Even the bandwagon Walmart fans who comprise the majority of the university’s support base  :*

And to the folks at TheBlackFalcon.net: well played y’all, that made my weekend ;)

  1. An example from this football-related entry last year: “I have no doubt the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven is a fine upstanding academic institution 6 out of 7 days of the week. But the rest of the time they’re typical blue-blood white-wine elitists who got where they are today courtesy of mommy’s and daddy’s trust fund. Oh, and the wealthy white alumni $$$ that came with excluding blacks for 160 years.” :heart: []

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Incorporated!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 16, 2012 in The 3L Life

Hey y’all!

I know I disappeared again, and school still sucks, and I can’t really write much on this entry because I’ve got a paper due in Professional Responsibility at 9am and another NC Distinctions test at noon (right before a presentation in Arbitration at 10am on Wednesday on a topic I haven’t even started researching yet :beatup: ).

But I wanted to post something so y’all don’t think I’ve pulled the plug :)

And I also wanted to let y’all know that we filed Articles of Incorporation for the North Carolina Small Practice Incubator & Collaboration Environment earlier today! :D

In addition to class, over the past couple weeks I’ve been immersing myself in the world of business plans and revenue streams and figuring out how to create a 501(c)(3) and then get it financed and off the ground. I’ve managed to convince some heavy hitters to take the first few slots on the Board of Directors: Peter Romary over in Greenville (the same Peter Romary mentioned here and here), Donald Thompson Jr down in Raleigh (CEO at the tech company I interned for 2L year), and Prof Ks here at the law school (this guy).

Now while the AOI paperwork gets processed I’m shifting back to classes, then after knocking out a couple more papers I’m transitioning back to writing the corporate bylaws, a handful of policies on things the nonprofit is going to need to address (conflicts of interest, personnel, etc), and figuring out how we’re going to fund the thing.

The more I work on it, the more I’m convinced we can turn this into a statewide economic engine… and maybe even expand nationally.  :surprised:

We’ll see what happens.

But first I have to graduate, so that’s it for tonight — good night folks! :)

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One more picture that makes me smile

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 7, 2012 in Randomness

I promise I’m not turning law:/dev/null into a photo-blog after yesterday’s post, but this is how my dog ended up after “fluffing” his dog pillow…

Samson made a pillow out of his pillow...

He’s a pain in the butt at times, but I swear I’ve got one of the most adorable pets evah :)

Have a good night y’all!

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Pictures that make me smile

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 6, 2012 in Randomness

School sucks.

Yes, that's a bunny made of 12-packs

At the end of the last entry I mentioned more blog entries coming soon as SBA winded down.

I apparently forgot about the fact I’m graduating in about a month and as a result have a metric ton of papers due in a matter of weeks :(

I'd have bought this in a heartbeat if it had a "."

So rather than a full entry, I thought I’d just share two things I happened to see tonight while I was getting some necessities1 at Wal-mart and a new suit hanger at Bed Bath & Beyond.

And yes I realize the 2nd pic is really just a total coincidence… but it makes me want to create a T. line of various household goods one day ;)

Enjoy — and have a great weekend, and a happy Easter on Sunday! :)

  1. Translation: food :beatup: []

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Going out on a W

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 1, 2012 in NotFail

It’s been a great night!

This past week has been our annual Law Week activities at the North Carolina Central University School of Law,1  capped tonight with our annual Law Week Banquet where “The Big Five”2 announce the winners of their respective competitions and the SBA elections, praise their outgoing executive boards, listen to the outgoing President give his remarks, and so on.

The banquet this year was notable from the start for completely and totally shattering every single attendance record in existence at the law school over its 73-year history :D

Best-attended banquet in 73 years!

Last semester my Vice President and I came up with some new ideas for improving the event,3 she then put together a stellar agenda/program for the event then she and her planning committee made things happen. With over 210+ people in attendance, we had about 70 or so more people than the previous banquet attendance record.

We were charging folks $20 apiece for tickets ($35 for alumni/faculty/staff) and still had to turn people away! :crack:

The student speakers ran a bit long so a good chunk of those 210+ were gone by the time I gave my (abbreviated) farewell address at the end of the night, but it didn’t matter because my night was made earlier that night…

BECAUSE I FINALLY WON SOMETHING! :spin:

After 2.5 years, I finally got 1st place!

After coming in 3rd place my 1L year with my “Alice in Wonderland” closing, then clawing up to 2nd place last year despite a horrible ambulance-chaser-inspired fact pattern, I finally made it to the top of the dog pile in our 3L closing argument competition (even after screwing up a guy’s last name)! :D

And I didn’t just make it to the top in the trial advocacy stuff — I somehow also got the best oral advocate and best overall awards for our Fall moot court competition, named after Judge TP…

…yes, that’s the same guy who held me in contempt during my final trial in trial practice :beatup:

I’m probably one of the few people who has honestly enjoyed his entire law school career, but after my grades last semester I was bitterly disappointed that I probably won’t be able to graduate with honors. As shallow as it probably sounds, coming in 1st in both of these competitions coupled with having an incredibly successful year at the helm of the SBA helps to lessen the sting ;)

The dog’s pestering me to go outside so I’ll have to cut this entry here, but more to come at some point in the near-term future now that my SBA obligations are winding down. Have a great night y’all! :D

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

  1. A crazy week indeed — my birthday on Monday, a rally that same day about the Trayvon Martin homicide attended by about 250 people from both the law school and undergrad, our annual 1L/2L/3L basketball tournament, nearly a dozen different student organization events including Speed Networking II and symposiums for both of our law reviews, our SBA and class elections on Thursday, and more stuff I’m probably forgetting… :crack: []
  2. The Student Bar Association and the 4 organizations who provide academic credit to their participants: our “regular” law review, our biotechnology and pharmaceutical law review, our Moot Court Board, and our Trial Advocacy Board. []
  3. Including bulk table sales for student organizations: selling 10 seats as a block to the organization itself, then letting the organization resell the tickets to their members at whatever price point they want and keeping whatever they can raise. Capitalism works y’all! []

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