-

TDot’s Mailbag v8.0: Post-Bar Exam Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 11, 2012 in Mail

Good evening y’all :)

We’re just shy of the 3-week mark since I took the North Carolina bar exam, and one of the things on my disturbingly long to-do list1 has been re-engaging with all the social media outlets I let wither over the past couple months. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and of course law:/dev/null updates have finally been getting some long-overdue attention.

As I started easing back into the blogging routine, I also realized I haven’t done a TDot’s Mailbag entry in over a year :crack:

So I figured it’s a good time to knock out some of the questions I’ve gotten asked since the bar exam a couple weeks back…

***

Q: Olivia2 asks:

When preparing for the bar did you actually use materials from school? I think I’ve managed to keep every paper from every class thinking that I will need to look at it again one day. Now I’m running out of room and I’m trying to throw things out but I’m afraid lol. What were the things you needed? Any advice would be great!

A: Don’t hate me for saying this, but… I didn’t consult a single paper from law school in prepping for the bar exam :surprised:

In terms of what you’ll need, whatever bar prep company you choose will send you oodles of stuff to get you through the exam. You’ll likely get around a dozen textbooks, access to an online database with thousands (!) of sample multiple choice questions, and a string of video lectures re-teaching you the core snippets of law in all the subjects that can be tested.

Many law schools also have supplemental programs of their own, such as NCCU Law‘s Invest in Success program that focuses on the essay portion of the exam.

And honestly, you’ll probably also be surprised / a little weirded out at how much law you’ve remembered over the years. Even though I won’t know if I actually passed the bar exam for another couple weeks, I never had writer’s block while taking it like I worried I would — I read the prompt, realized the area of law getting tested, and could spit out at least something vaguely resembling a coherent rule without much second-guessing.

Now even though your papers might not be any use to you, I’m one of the (apparently few) folks who have kept all my textbooks and found myself referring to several of them during different internships: specifically my Contracts book (bluelining), my CrimLaw and Evidence books (larceny and hearsay respectively), my Employment Discrimination book (Title VII), and my ConLaw book (time/place/manner restrictions on speech).

You could probably find all of the same info in a Google search, but having read through the material in class once already I have a mental image in my mind of where what I’m looking for can be found. Your mileage may vary on that one, but I hope it helps :)

***

Q: Savannah asks (after I blew up her Twitter timeline participating in the recent #1LTools tweet-up hosted by the Law School Toolbox):

So is twitter the new gig? I’ve been scouring your blog for info about your 2L classes and profs!

A: Yyyeeeaaahhh that’s not Twitter’s fault, I just did a bad job with blog updates most of 2L/3L year :beatup:

There are a few entries on here under our 2L tag, and for the list of classes I took you can check out this entry on Fall 2010 and this one on Spring 2011.3 Beyond that feel free to send me an email or message over Twitter/Facebook with questions until I get more material posted!

***

Q: Tim asks:

Now that you’re no longer a law student (and hopefully an attorney soon), what’s your plan for the blog? Are you going to keep it? Change the title? Change the focus?

A: We’ll see / Yes / No / Maybe.

I’m definitely planning to keep law:/dev/null live and updated, if for no other reason than it gives me an opportunity to help spread the word about my law school. I know at least a dozen people who applied to NCCU Law because of what they’ve read here — the “Why NCCU Law?” page is still one of the most-visited on the blog — and even though a dozen is a drop in the bucket of what they get each year, every little bit of publicity helps.

Plus it’s kinda cool being on the first page of Google results when people search for the school ;)

The name will also probably stay as it is; even though I’ll hopefully be licensed by the end of the month, we don’t stop being students of the law just because we’ve graduated from law school right?4

As for the plan and focus of the blog, we’ll see what happens. I’ve still got a lengthy backlog of law school-related topics to go through — not just the May and June entries that are half-written, but posts I never got around to writing in the first place (like my 2L/3L grades) — and will probably continue offering my $.02 on law school-related developments in the news. Then there’s the whole wide world of law-outside-of-law-school to comment on, with the occasional update on my dog Samson5 and NC SPICE and various other projects thrown in.

The key, of course, will be whether I find the time to actually keep things up to date :beatup:  But stay tuned!

***

Q: Patrick asks:

Where do things stand with SPICE?

A: NC SPICE is still in its start-up phase, so we’re doing a bunch of things simultaneously as we work to get off the ground.

Our first Board of Directors meeting was the Friday before the bar exam where we adopted our bylaws, mission, product matrix, and related items. I’ve fired off grant requests to a couple foundations with more in progress. The NC SPICE Facebook page got fleshed out a bit, I’ve started working on the NC SPICE Twitter account,6 I added a LinkedIn company page, and at some point this coming week I’ll get to work on the main website itself.

One question mark looming over the group is what relationship (if any) we’ll have with NCCU Law. Our new Dean talked about building a traditional incubator “in house” during her search committee interview — which was my original idea for NC SPICE before the Chief told me there was no money to make it happen — so if the administration sees us as competitors it’ll be difficult to build a collaborative partnership. I’m still holding out hope for a consortium-style approach modeled after the Center for Child and Family Health, where you have an independent entity that multiple schools help support. We’ll see what happens on that end in the months ahead.

But until then, I’m still going full steam ahead! :D  Once we’ve got funding we’ll get our first SPICE Center open, and once the website is operational we’ll get the SPICE Rack in place.7

If you or someone you know might be interested in the services that NC SPICE offers, feel free to send an email to info [at] ncspice.org! :)

***

Q: Vanessa asks:

So how does it feel being DONE??

A: Weird. :beatup:

The first few days after the exam, I still kept waking up at the crack of dawn and falling asleep early like I had in the week leading up to the test. Then during the day I spent a lot of time reading the news, Facebook-stalking people, cleaning and re-cleaning the apartment, working out, basically anything that didn’t involve thinking in any capacity. There were a couple times where I almost felt inclined to do some practice multiples just so I’d have something intellectually stimulating. Most of my classmates had left town to relax, my 2L-turned-3L friends typically had summer internships or summer school, and folks from undergrad were like “Oh, you’re finally done? Welcome to the real world I entered 3 years ago”  :roll:

The only real structure to my days are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and taking the dog out at various times in between. The rest of the time gets spent working on NC SPICE, surfing the web, and trying not to think about the bar exam. It’s a very useless feeling that I’ll look forward to ending one way or the other in a couple weeks.

***

Q: Alex asks:

T. Greg, you didn’t seem stressed at all during bar prep, and you certainly don’t seem stressed now. What’s your secret?

A: Faking it well ;)  (Kidding!)

A year and a half ago Kaplan asked me to write a piece for their Beyond Hearsay blog, and my first entry was on my experience as a college dropout and subsequently learning that fearing failure stalls success. It’s a personal mantra I force myself to remember whenever I get stressed out.

Now I still had occasional moments where I felt sick from nervousness, especially after some of my initial essay grades during NCCU Law‘s Invest in Success program. And I still made sure to put in the work needed to pass, including sitting through every single mind-numbingly slow lecture and running through well over 1,000+ practice questions.

But if you know you’ve put in the time and effort, what more can you do? Worrying about it just throws you off your game right at the very moment when you need to be focused the most.

That was all pre-exam. Post-exam, there’s really no point in stressing out because you can’t go back and change the test results! Pass or fail, my outcome was predetermined the minute I turned in my papers and there’s nothing else I can do about it. So I’ve turned my attention to doing something useful with my life — which is a great stress reliever in itself :)

***

Q: Natalie asks:

You knew I was going to ask this lol: do you have any bar exam study materials?

A: Yes ma’am — I’ll upload them at some point in the next few weeks and we’ll post them alongside the 1L and 2L/3L Outline files  :P

***

That’s it for this entry y’all :) Thanks again to all of you for your continued support of law:/dev/null, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send an email to tdot [at] lawdevnull.com! :D

—===—

From the Mailbag archives:

  • TDot’s Mailbag v8.0: Post-Bar Exam Edition [this post] –
    • What materials did you use for bar prep?
    • Are you bailing on law:/dev/null for Twitter?
    • What are your plans for law:/dev/null post-graduation?
    • Where do things stand with NC SPICE?
    • How does it feel being done with everything?
    • What’s your secret to not being stressed about the bar exam?
    • Do you have any bar exam study materials?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v7.0: Legal Eagle Grading Edition –
    • You made Dean’s List… but grades don’t matter?
    • Why is NCCU Law’s curve so low?
    • What is the rationale for NCCU Law’s dismissal policy?
    • How does the dismissal policy work?
    • What are NCCU Law’s GPA cutoffs for Dean’s List and academic honors?
    • Do you get notified if you made Dean’s List?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v6.0: 1L Questions Edition –
    • Do we really need to study 60 hours a week?
    • My study partners study all day; am I missing something?
    • How time-consuming is being an SBA Representative?
    • Should I use “canned” briefs or create my own?
    • Is law school really just a big head game?
    • What’s the biggest difference between 1L year and 2L year?
    • What made you pursue law after having done computer science?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v5.0: What Law School’s Really Like –
    • Admissions?
    • Bar Exam?
    • The Work?
    • Professors?
    • Electives?
    • Extracurriculars?
    • What would you do differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v4.0 –
    • What really made you dislike BigLaw?
    • Why were 2 of the top 4 teams in the K-S competition from T4s?
    • What happened to Tweet-sized Tuesdays and the Friday Drive-by?
    • How did your CivPro I final exam turn out?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v3.0 –
    • What’s your email address?
    • Do you really send/receive thousands of text messages in a month?
    • How are you adjusting to a historically black university?
    • Are you really a Republican?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v2.0 –
    • Did you have a bunch of study materials for the LSAT?
    • How well did you do on the LSAT?
    • How did you do in your election for 1L SBA Rep?
    • Who is in the Gang of Eight?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v1.0 –
    • What does law:/dev/null mean?
    • Did your entry about That Guy really happen?
    • Did you really count the lights from your apartment to school?
  1. Trying to figure out how to make a living is a lot more involved than studying for law school! :beatup: []
  2. As a FYI for any new folks who’ve found us over the past year, I keep the names on these submissions anonymous (picked at random from the Social Security Administration’s Popular Names database) so feel free to send me an email if you’ve got a question but don’t want to risk having your name in print :) []
  3. The only changes from that class list: I dropped App Ad and re-enrolled 3L Fall, and I ended up with Judge TP as my Trial Practice professor. []
  4. Yes, I realize that’s probably a cheesy explanation. For an alternative reason, I’m just stubborn and don’t want to change the title :P []
  5. I got him a year ago as of this week! :eek: []
  6. Though I fumbled by committing a classic error: following a couple hundred people all at once. To most folks NC SPICE now looks like a spam account, with a disproportionate following:follower ratio and a low tweet count :beatup: []
  7. SPICE Centers are what we’re calling our physical offices in each county, and the SPICE Rack will be an online clearinghouse for attorneys with unused office space for lease/sale — giving new graduates instant access to counties across North Carolina until we’re able to expand out to those areas! :D []

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
2

TDot’s Tips: Final Exam Refresh

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 30, 2011 in TDot's Tips

For the past couple semesters I’ve been throwing together exam-related advice for new 1Ls (and now 2Ls) who had newly discovered law:/dev/null since the last exam entry…

…and have realized that at this point anything I could write tonight would be redundant :beatup:

So rather than re-repeat everything for the new batch of folks, here are some quick links to the old entries:

  1. The browsewrap contract you’re agreeing to for the ZIP files below
  2. The first set of exam tips I wrote way back when I was a 1L after Fall 2009 finals
  3. The second batch of exam tips after surviving 1L year, with an addition based on my performance in CivPro II
  4. And finally the last final exam tips entry, including a more-detailed explanation of why the multiples matter (written a year ago today :surprised: )

As for those ZIP files containing the 1L / 2L / 3L stuff, the links are in the picture below. I didn’t embed them due to spammers in Russia, China and a few other countries who seem to enjoy hotlinking my files and trying to kill my bandwidth, so you’ll have to type the URLs in by hand. Sorry.

The URLs and subjects for the "#L Stuff" archives

Remember these are pretty hefty files, so the downloads are going to take awhile.

And when exams are all over, make sure to keep things in perspective and remember: your 1L grades don’t matter ;)

Have a great night and *GOOD LUCK* on final exams! :D

—===—

Past TDot’s Tips entries:

Tags: , , , , ,

 
1

Class Rank Results, 2011 Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 22, 2011 in The 2L Life

Happy Almost-the-Weekend everybody! :D

There’s been a lot going on this past week and all sorts of news in the legal arena that I’ve been wanting to comment on but just haven’t had the time. The internship at I-Cubed has been a lot more enjoyable than I thought corporate work would be,1 grades for Summer Session I courses have all come in,2 it looks like I’ll be the CrimLaw tutor next Spring for the 1Ls and this Fall for the 2LEs,3 I was invited to give a leadership development presentation to the NCCU SGA earlier this week4 — there’s just been a lot going on in a very short amount of time!

Which brings me to the topic of this post: the 2011 class rank charts that we finished gathering data for over a week ago :beatup:

Before diving in to the data, I want to give a huge *THANK YOU* to everyone who participated! We had nearly two-dozen people submit their anonymous information, including folks from the upper and lower ends of the spectrum.  Coupling those with some data points provided by the Registrar we’ve got what should be fairly accurate models for each of the 3 classes submitting information.

Now for some charts…

===================
CLASS OF 2012 (Day Program):  ONE YEAR LATER
===================

We’ll start with my class, since it’s my blawg :P

Class of 2012 Rankings: the top is 2011 (after 2L) and the bottom is last year (after 1L)

The NCCU Law cohort that started in August 2009 began with 169 students, which had whittled away to 157 by the time our 1L year was finished.

Factor out the 18ish folks who fell below a 2.0 and another handful who enrolled in the 4-year JD-MBA program (pushing them into the Class of 2013), then add in folks who transferred in from the Evening Program or are from the August 2008 cohort who are now “in sync” with our class (either from being in a dual-degree program or being readmitted after falling below 2.0 in the 2008-09 year), and we’re down to 152 people.

You can see the impact of students being able to self-select their courses as each of the percentile cutoffs have climbed since last year.  The biggest jumps have come at the lower end of the ranking spectrum; for example, the 50th percentile cutoff is actually higher than my GPA last year when I was at the 40th percentile.

You can also tell from my class rank that there’s a decent amount of fluidity in the rankings. I jumped from #62 to #32 in the span of a year,5 with only a just-over-three-tenths-of-a-point bump in my GPA (e.g. a hair’s breadth greater than the difference between a B- and a B).

Not to continue beating the same dead horse, but that data point tends to reaffirm my argument that your 1L grades don’t matter. ;)

===================
CLASS OF 2013 (Day Program)
===================

Based on the incoming class profile, this year’s 1Ls were an interesting mix.

On the similarities side of the ledger, their class started out slightly larger than mine (174 for them compared to 169 for us) but had shrunk the same amount (-12 students apiece by the end of 1L year). The 75%ile/median/25%ile LSAT scores were also practically identical between the two cohorts.

Class of 2013 Rankings

But on the differences, the Class of 2013 was more polarized. The median age was almost the same (25 to our 24) but the Class of 2013 had more “really young” students in the 21-24 range and more “not as really young” students in the 40+ range. On the GPA side, they also had more students who did better than us in undergrad (75%ile GPA was +0.11) and more students who did worse (25%ile GPA was -0.12).

That polarity also shows up from two points in the 1L ranking data: (1) both their 15%ile and 25%ile GPAs are higher, meaning their high achievers racked up comparably more of the high grades than ours did; and (2) it looks they’ll have a lower number falling below a 2.0, meaning their low achievers soaked up comparably more of the low grades than ours did. Really high and really low grades were more broadly distributed in the Class of 2012.

You can also see the effect of the C-curve to an extent. Even with the low-ranked students taking up more of the bad grades, the median is still almost two-tenths of a point below a B-. And even with their higher-achieving high achievers, no one in the Class of 2013 scored above a 3.78.

===================
CLASS OF 2014 (Evening Program)
===================

When I started this data gathering operation I really didn’t expect anyone from the law school’s Evening Program to send me their information. They were extended the invitation of course, but I only know maybe 3-4 people in the entire program who I know have been to law:/dev/null at least once so I figured the odds of someone seeing the call for submissions were a bit low.

Class of 2014 (Evening) Rankings

You can imagine my shock when I ended up getting just as many submissions from the Class of 2014 evening students as I did from the Class of 2012 day students :surprised:

The Class of 2014 Evening Program started out with 34 students in Fall 2010, which has since shrunk to 32.

They’re also ranked separate and apart from their Day Program colleagues so the data isn’t quite as useful for analysis except on a year-over-year basis. For example, on a percentage basis the 1LE 15%ile and 25%ile cutoffs are markedly higher than the corresponding 1L cutoffs.

But there are also only 8 1LE’s at a 3.1 GPA and above, when there are twice as many 1L’s at 3.2+. In other words, to borrow an over-used cliché, comparing the Evening Program to the Day Program is akin to comparing apples and oranges.

One commonality that can be culled from the data is that the Evening Program is obviously bound by the same curving process since their median GPA (even with fewer students) is similar to the median for the day program.

***

So that’s the class ranking data for the academic year ending May 2011! And it concludes what I can now officially designate as my first successful use of this blawg as a crowd-sourcing app :spin:

Hope all of you have a good night and a great weekend ahead! :D

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

  1. :surprised: []
  2. :D []
  3. :spin: []
  4. B-) []
  5. Roughly 19%, going from the 40th percentile cutoff to a smidge over the 21st percentile. []

Tags: , , ,

 
4

TDot’s Mailbag v7.0: Legal Eagle Grading Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 22, 2011 in Mail

I know y’all, it’s been well over a week since my last entry where I said I’d have this entry ready to roll  “on Monday or Tuesday this coming week” — I’d give you an excuse, but you can probably already guess what it is.1 :beatup:

So can we all just pretend that when I said “this coming week” I meant the week after the week that was actually coming at the time? Yes? Great. :*

Although I’ve gotten a smattering of questions from current and prospective students in the 10 months since I last put one of these entries together, the bulk of them were so über-fact-specific that they weren’t really suitable candidates for including on the blawg. But with end-of-1L grades getting released and folks experiencing the same shellshocked reactions I saw firsthand last year, there’s been renewed interest in how NCCU Law handles grading, curving, dismissal and so on.

So, without further ado, here are your questions — answered.

***

Q: William2 asks:

Just read your entry on making Dean’s List again. But grades don’t matter right? :P

A: If you read that Dean’s List entry, then hopefully it meant you also read this footnote written in anticipation of an email just like the one you sent  :angel:

Needless to say, I stand by my earlier commentary. Most grades at most law schools get determined by a single final exam, or a combination of a final preceded by a midterm.  These aren’t like grades in undergrad or high school or even how you’d be “graded” on a job, where you’re given multiple assignments over a given timeframe and tested on things like time management and ingenuity in addition to raw knowledge.

Now I realize there are few absolutes in life — in some cases good grades are genuinely a sign that someone’s a legal genius who will make a phenomenal attorney, and in some cases bad grades are genuinely a sign that someone just doesn’t “get it” and would end up as a Joseph Rakofsky-grade incompetent if they were given a law license.

But for the overwhelming majority of the however-many-thousands of people graduating law school every year, including here at NCCU Law, a string of subjectively-scored 1-time 3-hour exams is a meaningless measurement of someone’s skill and potential as a lawyer.

That rule applies to me too. My excitement over making Dean’s List this past Fall and again in the Spring had nothing at all to do with some misplaced belief that I’ll make an amazing litigator as a result. I just derive great joy from getting to disabuse people of their mistaken beliefs, including the higher-ranked classmates, friends at other schools, and occasional professors who all made the mistake of concluding I was an inept buffoon because I spent my 1L year saving students millions of dollars instead of worrying about my classes ;)

***

The answers to the next two questions are rooted in the same background, so I’m pairing them together –

Q: Danielle asks:

Why is our curve so ridiculously low? And we don’t have A+’s?

Q: And Kevin asks:

What’s the rationale on the dismissal policy?

A: NCCU Law‘s strict-C curve and its 2.0-or-out dismissal policy are both byproducts of being what the administration labels “a school of opportunity.”

Remember that NCCU Law was created by the N.C. General Assembly way back in 1939, an era when de jure segregation was the reality across the country.3 The politicians created the law school specifically so that aspiring black attorneys could get a “separate but equal” legal education without trying to attend a white law school.4

The only other public law school in the state, UNCCH Law, wouldn’t accept black students until forced to do so by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a 1951 lawsuit challenging its admissions practices.5 Private Duke Law and WFU Law wouldn’t desegregate until the 1960s. Campbell Law, Elon Law, and Charlotte Law didn’t exist. And even if a black student managed to graduate and pass the bar exam, they were still categorically denied admission to influential industry groups like the N.C. Bar Association.

This second-class status for black attorneys and black law students was reflected in the Legislature’s second-hand funding for “the Negros’ law school,” as NCCU Law grappled with an inadequate building, a minimal law library, few faculty and related problems. As an example, for a good chunk of the law school’s history its law library was stocked with the out-of-date books discarded by the neighboring law schools at UNCCH and Duke.  :surprised:

The point of noting all that background is to highlight that NCCU Law was created to educate students that other schools wouldn’t take; it’s part of our law school’s DNA. That legacy is reflected in the admissions data: even today our GPA and LSAT scores of admitted students are among the very lowest in the country (we’re functionally tied at the bottom with 2 other HBCUs, FAMU Law and Southern Law). The law school views its job as providing an opportunity to people who are willing to take advantage of it, regardless of how they “measure up” on paper.

Which finally brings me around to the questions at hand :beatup:  From a philosophical perspective, the strict-C curve exists because the faculty believe (and I agree) that it’s the best way to gauge student performance. And from a practical perspective, law schools bumping their curves use the Lake Wobegon defense6 as a smokescreen — something that can’t credibly be done with our mission and legacy.  The curve ensures students have earned the grades they get.

Working in tandem with the curve but serving a slightly different purpose, the law school’s policy of dismissing students if they fall below a 2.0 at the end of any year is designed to “separate the chaff from the wheat” as the Biblical saying goes.  Since it’s statistically possible for every student to make a 2.0 or above, and the school is taking what it considers a “calculated risk” by admitting students whose quantitative credentials wouldn’t get them in elsewhere, the assumption is that someone who doesn’t hit a 2.0 (and hasn’t already withdrawn before Spring final exams) must not be taking their educational opportunity seriously enough to continue. So those folks get a letter telling them they’ve been dismissed and then have to wait at least a year before they can petition to return.

***

Q: Nina asks:

How exactly does the dismissal policy work, as far as coming back goes?

A: The dismissal policy and petition process can both be found in the Student Handbook distributed to 1Ls each year (in the 2010-11 edition it’s in §1.09).  Basically only 1Ls who have between 1.8-1.999 are eligible to petition for readmission; if a student’s GPA is below 1.8, their only option is to reapply as a completely brand new student at least 2 or more years after their dismissal.

For eligible students, they get 1 chance to submit a petition to the Standards Committee for readmission the year after they are dismissed. To quote from the policy, the petition must “demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances resulted in his/her substandard academic performance.  Extraordinary circumstances are those that do not ordinarily occur.  Financial concerns, employment obligations, family illness or commuting distances normally involve no element of extraordinary circumstances.  The petitioner must demonstrate that the extraordinary circumstances have been resolved and that, if re-admitted, he or she will be able to successfully handle the rigors of legal education.”

Following review of the petition and an optional presentation by the petitioner in person, the members of the Committee vote on whether or not the student should be reinstated the following Fall semester. Decisions on reinstatement are usually released in mid-June.

***

Q: Susan asks:

What are the GPA cutoffs for honors? Dean’s List? Do we get notified?

A: You can find the listings for academic honors on this page of the NCCU Law website.  Cum laude requires a GPA of 3.000 to 3.299, magna cum laude is from 3.300 to 3.499, and summa cum laude is 3.500 and above. All of those are of course based on your GPA at the time of graduation.

The Dean’s List is compiled on a per-semester basis, and includes all students who earn a 3.0 and above. Students on Dean’s List can get a certificate from the Registrar’s Office upon request, a lapel pin from the NCCU main campus in the week before Convocation, and will have their name included on the massive posters created by main campus listing everyone at the entire University who made Dean’s List each semester.

And it’s up to each student to know whether or not they made Dean’s List on their own; there is no individualized “Hey btw you made Dean’s List!” emails or anything like that :P

***

That’s it for this entry y’all :) Thanks again to all of you for your continued support of law:/dev/null, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send an email to tdot [at] lawdevnull.com! :D

—===—

From the Mailbag archives:

  • TDot’s Mailbag v6.0: 1L Questions Edition
    • Do we really need to study 60 hours a week?
    • My study partners study all day; am I missing something?
    • How time-consuming is being an SBA Representative?
    • Should I use “canned” briefs or create my own?
    • Is law school really just a big head game?
    • What’s the biggest difference between 1L year and 2L year?
    • What made you pursue law after having done computer science?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v5.0: What Law School’s Really Like
    • Admissions?
    • Bar Exam?
    • The Work?
    • Professors?
    • Electives?
    • Extracurriculars?
    • What would you do differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v4.0
    • What really made you dislike BigLaw?
    • Why were 2 of the top 4 teams in the K-S competition from T4s?
    • What happened to Tweet-sized Tuesdays and the Friday Drive-by?
    • How did your CivPro I final exam turn out?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v3.0
    • What’s your email address?
    • Do you really send/receive thousands of text messages in a month?
    • How are you adjusting to a historically black university?
    • Are you really a Republican?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v2.0
    • Did you have a bunch of study materials for the LSAT?
    • How well did you do on the LSAT?
    • How did you do in your election for 1L SBA Rep?
    • Who is in the Gang of Eight?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v1.0
    • What does law:/dev/null mean?
    • Did your entry about That Guy really happen?
    • Did you really count the lights from your apartment to school?
  1. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “fool.” Totally coincidental. :beatup: []
  2. For the new folks, I keep the names on these submissions anonymous (picked at random from the Social Security Administration’s Popular Names database) so feel free to send me an email if you’ve got a question but don’t want to risk having your name in print :) []
  3. A point politely ignored by nearly every law school nationwide even as they dole out admission to legacy applicants of alums who benefited from segregationist admission policies. []
  4. As otherwise would have been required by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938), which held that states providing education for white students either needed to admit blacks or provide a “separate but equal” education for them. []
  5. McKissick v. Carmichael, 187 F.2d 949 (4th Cir. 1951), reversing Epps v. Carmichael, 93 F.Supp. 327 (M.D.N.C. 1950). And even then UNCCH only accepted students who had already completed their first 2 years at NCCU. Admitting blacks as incoming 1Ls wouldn’t occur until later, and the rest of campus wouldn’t be desegregated until a post-Brown decision handed down in Frasier v. Board of Trustees of Univ. of N.C., 134 F.Supp. 589 (M.D.N.C. 1955).  []
  6. They admit students with higher GPAs/LSATs, and therefore “all of our students are above average.” Even though we all know the main motivation behind bumping curves is to artificially make graduates appear more competitive in the job market. :roll: []

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
6

Queries queries everywhere

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 11, 2011 in Site Stats

Good evening folks!

I haven’t compiled one of these Site Stats entries since January, owing largely to the fact law:/dev/null has been slowly atrophying during my chronic absences and I didn’t feel the urge to memorialize it in a blog post ;)

The number of visitors atrophied a bit over the Spring

But despite the chronic disappearances we still had two interesting developments in the statistics department, so I figured I’d go ahead and cobble an entry together.

First, we somehow inexplicably had a +35% spike in folks subscribing to the RSS feed in the past month. That’s the largest month-over-month increase — both in terms of % and # of raw subscribers — since we started publishing via RSS back in November ’09 :surprised:

I have no clue where y’all came from or what prompted you to start reading law:/dev/null via RSS, but welcome! :D

The other surprise was that my disappearances didn’t seem to impact the number of people reaching us via search engine. There were over 1,800+ unique queries made by folks visiting this site since that December entry (9,100+ searches total, with ~400K impressions), setting a record for us in January and setting the #2 and #3 marks in May and April.

We’re currently averaging 350 unique searches a month (compared to 80 this same time a year ago), a perk of producing original content even if it is a bit on the infrequent side :)

***

Here’s a random selection of 20 out of the 360+ unique search terms that brought folks here in May 2011:

  • which t4 law school is the best to attend: NCCU Law. Duh. :P
  • nccu law is hard: That’s generally the idea. If law school was easy, everyone would be doing it ;)
  • suicidal thoughts after law school exam: ok it’s hard, but it’s not that hard. Seriously, your grades don’t matter and there’s -0- point in stressing about what you can’t change.
  • law school, got a c in a class where the median is a b+: Can you change it? No. So stop worrying about it and just do better next time. :*
  • 1l student failed out+someone help me: Talk to your professors and to your mentors. Between the two of them, you’ll know what options you have open to you.
  • do 3ls ever fail: Yep.
  • when will nccu law school grades for 2010-2011 be posted?: They should all be finally online for everyone as of this past week. Though apparently some of my almost-3L colleagues are still waiting to learn whether or not they’ve passed ConLaw :beatup:
  • nccu law unfair grading: 1Ls (and some 2Ls/3Ls) complain about this every year when grades don’t turn out how they want. It’s a myth. Go get your exams from your professors and you’ll see sometimes you really do get things wrong ;)
  • if my final grade is b+ and my midterm was b+ what was my final: It depends on the curve. For example, in CivPro II during my 1L Spring semester there was a +19-point curve on the final exam to get the grade distribution we had.
  • law school c- curve: Doesn’t exist, at least if this well-cited Wikipedia entry on law school curves is to be believed. NCCU Law is among the lowest at 2.0.
  • why is nccu’s law school curve so low?: I’m actually covering this question (and a related one on why we kick people out) in a Mailbag entry I’m hoping to have posted on Monday or Tuesday this coming week — keep an eye out for it :)
  • definition for “madame prosecutor”: This is a loaded query so I’ll plead the Fifth on this one :beatup:
  • i missed my deposit deadline with campbell law: Give them a call and see if you can still pay it. And if not, go somewhere else :angel:
  • unranked law schools worth it: I think so, both here and here.
  • preston mitchum, nccu law: El Presidente, he is my predecessor as SBA President, kicked Harvard Law’s butt in the Luke Charles Moore Invitational, served as President of his 1L and 2L classes, and is an all-around cool guy.
  • has anyone gotten into duke law with a 2.7 gpa and a high score on the lsat: Depends on how high your “high score” is ;)
  • attrition at nccu law: Was #2 highest in the country for a public law school the last time NLJ put a chart together (scroll down), and around #7 highest among public and private law schools combined.
  • unc asg constitution: It’s been shuffled from location to location since I left the organization in April ’10, but you should (hopefully) still be able to find a copy at this URL on iwantmydollarback.org. I have no clue if it’s been amended since then though.
  • t. douchette, nccu law grades: There’s no “h” in my last name :P  But you can find my grades in the transcript at the bottom of this entry.
  • does the the law a pickle is not a pickle unless it bounces to be considered a pickle stand today: Wait… what?? :crack:

Not as exotic as some of the entries from months past, but still fun to dig through :spin:

***

We also have a whole new set for the Top 5 most-viewed posts of the month, including one that vaulted to #2 in just a couple days:

  1. On me nearly missing my CrimPro final: Dear Future 2Ls… (05/04/11)
  2. On my $.02 about 1L grades: Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter (05/29/11)
  3. On closing arguments at TYLA’s Southeast Regionals: Wrong man. Wrong place. Wrong time. (05/05/11)
  4. On slogging through the end of 2L Spring: 2L Year: 1 more exam to go… (05/03/11)
  5. On my 1L Spring grades and NCCU Law’s attrition stats: Spring ’10 Final Grades (or, “A 2L. For srs.”) (06/08/10)

*THANK YOU* to all of you for continuing to check out law:/dev/null despite my chronic disappearances — I truly appreciate you! :heart:

—===—

From the Site Stats archives:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
2

An inauspicious start to the summer

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 23, 2011 in The 3L Life

For whatever reason, Mondays are the red-headed stepchildren of the week. I always thought it was an ill-deserved reputation; after all, Monday signals the start of the work week and all the cool stuff that happens when people work on doing cool stuff.

The popular perception of Mondays

Besides, if nothing else it means you can start making money again for another 5 days ;)

But, every now and then, I can see why people hate Mondays…

  • I’ll be volunteering as a counselor for NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp, where 2Ls and 3Ls spend a week teaching 7th-11th graders about our legal system. The volunteers can either get paid or get course credit, and I opted for the 1-credit over the $$$… only to discover that getting the course credit will entail assignments on the side and 3 extra class meetings on either Wednesdays or Thursdays :beatup:
  • Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, since there was an open spot in my Thursday schedule. Except that my USPTO class has now randomly been moved from Tuesdays — where it was scheduled in our course registration system, and around which I’ve planned my summer work and travel schedules — to Thursdays. (A change that just got announced when? Today.)
  • And I still don’t have any Spring 2L grades… :mad:
  • Aside from the academic drama, I also somehow managed to sprain my left thumb this weekend. The pain got bad enough that I decided to go buy one of those immobilizer things you can find at just about any big box or department or drug store in the country (theoretically). So I go to the Super Target closest to my house to save gas, just to discover they only sell them in Small/Medium sizes instead of a one-size-fits-most style :surprised:  They suggest the Walgreen’s that’s on the way home to my apartment… which I visit, and which is out of them entirely. By the time I’m done the Rite Aid up the street is now closed. The closest Walmart is out-of-stock too. So I end up having to drive to a Walmart in a neighboring county until I can finally get my hands on one, wasting more gas than if I had just gone there in the first place and burning an hour of my life in the process. :crack:
  • And the whole trek takes just long enough that, by the time I get close to my apartment, there’s a car accident blocking both westbound lanes of Fayetteville Street nearest to the apartment complex — the only portion of roadway that can be used to get into the complex, since there’s a median with trees blocking the entrance from the eastbound lanes ::headdesk::

Yes, I realize things could be worse; that could have been me in the car accident, or I could have broken my thumb instead of spraining it (or I could have all my grades but they turn out to be F’s :beatup: ).

But I’m still adding Mondays to my list of things to avoid in the future… :mad:

Hope Monday went better for the rest of y’all out there — have a good night! :)

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

How to Successfully Lose Half Your Readers (and Gain 10 Pounds)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 22, 2011 in Randomness

Good evening folks! :D

With the first summer session here at NCCU Law getting underway tomorrow, today got spent tying up loose ends before the back-to-school grind resumes. And in the process I re-discovered some of the effects of final exam season: over the last 3 weeks of my 2L Spring semester, we lost about half of our regular readers as law:/dev/null has gone un-updated… and I managed to pack on another 10lbs around my waistline.1 :beatup:

So while all the cool kids make New Year’s Resolutions about getting in shape and other worthwhile endeavors, in honor of my procrastinating tendencies I’m making those resolutions 5 months late instead: effective today I’m improving my diet, exercising more, and finally posting an update to the blog ;)

My predecessor Preston Mitchum and I transitioned over the NCCU Law SBA this month

Here’s a quick rundown of where I’ve been the past few weeks:

  • I finally became a 3L
  • …then un-became a 3L, as my Scientific Evidence professor unexpectedly gave the entire class 3 days to turn in an extra assignment — and I proceeded to sequester myself in my apartment like a hermit until it was finished
  • Re-became a 3L again, for real this time :spin:
  • Took over as President of our Student Bar Association
  • Amped up my work schedule at I-Cubed to 40hrs a week… right before realizing I probably can’t continue at that pace when summer school starts ::headdesk::
  • Watched the Class of 2011 graduate
  • Watched the law school end up in a minor scandal after graduation :beatup:
  • Tallied up the private $$$ the SBA raised last year — an all-time record in law school history — and how much the 2011-12 SBA has raised in the past few weeks2
  • Penned my 2nd guest column for the Beyond Hearsay blog (publication date TBD)
  • Spent $350 on books for summer school :surprised:
  • Spent hours reading ~150 pages for tomorrow’s first day of class
  • Finally got around to updating law:/dev/null, including tweaking our About page to reflect my now-3L status :D

That’s the rundown. Nothing particularly exciting… which makes me wonder how exactly time has flown by so fast :crack:

I’d be lying to you if I said I expected to resume regular blog updates, simply because my summer school schedule leans toward the crazy side this year (10 credit hours total) when it’s coupled with my internship. But my hope is I’ll work my way into a routine and can get back to posting somewhat regular content.

That’s it from me for tonight, I’m off to bed so I can get up for work + class tomorrow. Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. A repeat of the end of my 2L Fall semester, but this time without Thanksgiving as an excuse :beatup: []
  2. A +32% year-over-year increase, positioning us to beat last year’s record :spin: []

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

Wrong man. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 5, 2011 in The 2L Life

I’M OFFICIALLY A 3L! :D

Although I didn’t have as much time to study for my (9am) Criminal Procedure final as I had planned — courtesy of my near-catastrophic failure to write down the correct exam time — I suspect I got enough of the material right to pass the course. So I’m claiming the 3L status now instead of waiting however long it’s going to take for the Professor to confirm it :beatup:

To celebrate, I’m going to do absolutely nothing at all tonight except relax.

And since (i) “absolutely nothing” would include refraining from productive blogging and (ii) I had my own potential issue with “wrong place / wrong time” yesterday, I thought now would be a decent time to embed a YouTube clip of the audio from my closing argument that I gave during the TYLA National Trial Competition regionals a little while back ;)

I don’t have a video feed to go with it so you’ll miss out on some of the theatrics, but this was the closing when we went up against the WFU Law team in the very last round (and essentially ate them alive). Hope you like it!1 :D

If you want to read through the fact pattern that was used in this case, check out State v. Duffie from TYLA.org.2

Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. And for the computer science folks in the audience, this video uses the new HTML5-friendly iframes format for embedding video — if you have trouble playing it, let me know so I can figure out what’s wrong! []
  2. There were some amended pages clarifying minor points, and you can download those from TYLA.org if you’re so inclined. []

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

Dear Future 2Ls…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 4, 2011 in Fail

…if you’re going to write down the wrong time for your last 2L final exam, at least make sure the time that you write down is before the actual exam time and not after it.

That is all.

Tags: , , ,

 
-

2L Year: 1 more exam to go…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 3, 2011 in The 2L Life

Hey y’all!

I’m currently on my lunch break here at my internship1 and figured I’d use the opportunity to finally post something here on the blog :)

The past couple weeks have been crazy with exams and other end-of-semester festivities. That Scientific Evidence paper I mentioned in my last entry took up the better part of the week, with my routine basically following a “Shower. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Eat. Paper. Sleep.” cycle for days on end. Turns out I went a wee bit overboard in terms of research, and rather than take out huge chunks of stuff I had written about other stuff I had already spent hours reading, I decided to just throw almost all of it in the final memo :beatup:

On the upside, if you have any interest at all in either the underlying science or current case law regarding the admissibility of expert witness testimony on the behavioral impact of violent video games, you are more than welcome to read my finished memo and let me know what you think / point out the inevitable BlueBook errors.2 :D

The latter part of last week was spent furiously studying for my Business Associations final… which proceeded to thoroughly pummel the daylights out of me on Friday. No clue how the grade on that one will turn out, but for now I’m just ecstatic I’ll never have to take the class again.3 ;)

Since then I’ve essentially been dividing my time between working and studying for my Criminal Procedure exam coming up on Thursday. I’m even further behind in CrimPro than I was in BA (if such a thing is possible to imagine) so there will be a whole lot of prayers said between now and exam time…

So that’s life in my neck of the world :) Congratulations in advance to all the 3Ls who are done or who will be done shortly, and *good luck* to everyone else still in the middle of final exams! :D

  1. One of the “missing entries” from the past month was about me going back to I-Cubed as of last week. Not sure if this will be a full summer gig, but I’ll stick with it while it’s still fun/interesting :) []
  2. Be gentle, and bear in mind my patience with doing a solid+thorough writing job waned after Day 3 of reading/writing :beatup: []
  3. End-of-semester grade expectations / synopses will be coming in a later entry. []

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright © 2019 law:/dev/null All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.
Find TDot on Twitter or on Google+.