8

NC Bar Exam 2012 Postmortem

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 25, 2012 in The After-3L Life

[CORRECTION (07/28/12): Madame Prosecutor informed me that the +$125 extra that computer users get charged is actually the ExamSoft licensing fee, and not extra cash going to the NCBLE as I surmised near the end of the Day 1 rundown. I’ve left the original blog entry as-is for posterity but wanted to ensure the wrong info was corrected. :) ]

***

And that’s a wrap: after 3 years of law school — including extra summer sessions both summers, plus bar prep every day since graduation — I’m officially done with the 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination! :D

It was also apparently an unprecedented clusterf*ck :beatup:

 

DAY 1: “Electricity? You mean, that’s important?”
Things started out pretty well on Tuesday morning. I had taken Samson down to a pet-sitter in Raleigh on Monday night, checked in to a hotel a few minutes away from the test site, and took the evening to relax.1 As I left my room the next morning2 I saw a guy all the way down at the opposite end of the hall getting ready to leave as well.  I hate waiting for the elevator myself, so I decided to hold the elevator for him. He got on, asked if I had any exciting plans for the day, and when I told him I was taking the bar exam he goes “Just remember, there is no failure. The only failure is not doing it.”

It was a random encounter, but good vibes heading over to the test site. :D

When I got to the NC State Fairgrounds around 7:15am there were already hundreds of other test-takers already lined up at various entrances to the Jim Graham Building, sorted by starting letter of everyone’s last name. I wandered around until I saw some NCCU Law classmates and we waited in line for an hour or so as folks eventually got checked in. Most of our professors were there talking with Legal Eagles in the different lines, including The Chief and our new Dean,3 encouraging all of us not to stress out and to do well. :)

After checking in — and getting fussed at because I had inadvertently kept my NCCU Alumni hat on4 — I found my seat near the back side of the Jim Graham Building and waited through nearly an hour of instructions on the documents we were being given, what needed to get filled in where, and all the other oodles of stuff the NCBLE is required to announce to ensure everything is done fairly (even though most of it was in printed material sent to us before we showed up). Then we got to open our essay packets and get to typing.

The essays were split into four parts, with two parts per session (AM and PM). For the morning session we were tested on:5

  • Civil Procedure:  π files a wrongful death suit against a company on the day the SOL expires, then later amends to add that he’s suing as representative of the estate and names two additional ∆s; lawyer for ∆ company opposes arguing they’re futile due to SOL lapse. Which, if any, of the 3 amendments should be allowed?
  • Contracts:  Underage ∆ (claiming he’s 19) enters into referral agreement with temp employment agency π, who gets ∆ a job as a photographer for a child porn syndicate. Can π recover the referral fee ∆ was due to pay?
  • Evidence (2-part):  ∆ charged with second-degree murder following accident while intoxicated says during interrogation “I’m not drunk”; ∆’s lawyer tries to get the statement in during cross-examination of the police officer, and prosecutor follows up by trying to introduce ∆’s prior DWI to prove malice. Which, if either, of these two items should be excluded?
  • Family Law (3-part):  ∆ and wife separate; wife has 1 child not adopted by ∆ from prior marriage, 2 more children with ∆, and doesn’t work because she and ∆ agreed at time 3rd child was born that she’d be a housewife until child starts kindergarten.  Does ∆ owe support for unadopted child, can he force wife to go back to work to support kids, and what of ∆’s various items of income will be used by the court in determining child support?
  • Professional Responsibility (2-part):  Prosecutor loses bond hearing against defense counsel; within minutes he finds a state statute (partially quoted) after returning to his office, then approaches judge ex parte to ask for new hearing under the statute, and gets original bond reinstated. Did he violate the RPC in asking for the new hearing and/or getting the bond reinstated?
  • Property: Easement on parcel of land recorded 75 years ago; BFP acquired parcel with no mention of easement in deed. Can successors in interest of owner of the dominant tenement enforce the easement?

I finished the first set of essays about 45 minutes ahead of time, then we had a break for lunch until 1:45pm. The law school had a particularly tasty selection of deli sandwiches, sweets, fruits, drinks, and so on. It was unexpectedly good, and filling — I’d been expecting something low-budget in light of the state’s budget cuts but was pleasantly surprised. :spin:

After lunch we all filed back into the warehouse for the afternoon session. In that one we were tested on:

  • Criminal Procedure: DV victim consents to search of apartment for abuser boyfriend; officer discovers marijuana in cigar box under the bed and charges DV victim with possession. Should the cigar box contents be suppressed?
  • Torts: π loses medical malpractice case against doctor. What does he need to prove to succeed in a legal malpractice claim against ∆ lawyer?
  • Constitutional Law: Kelo v. City of New London question; city condemns π’s property under eminent domain as part of economic development project getting turned over to private developer. What are π’s odds of successfully enjoining the condemnation?
  • Agency: President of ∆ corporation enters into contract to buy expensive equipment from π, even though bylaws prevented her from doing so, π knew of bylaws restriction, and Board voted to defer all equipment purchases until next year. Is the contract enforceable?
  • ZombieLaw: Pastor owns rental properties as tenants by the entireties with mentally incompetent wife, joint checking account with right of survivorship with one son, life insurance policy naming both sons as beneficiaries, and modest home; son holding durable power of attorney changes life insurance policy to name himself as sole beneficiary; pastor’s will splits estate between both sons; pastor dies with mountains of debt. Who gets what?
  • Secured Transactions: Creditor 1 finances ∆ company in exchange for security interest in all of ∆’s after-acquired personal property; Creditor 2 finances piece of equipment in exchange for Purchase-Money Security Interest, but doesn’t file a UCC-1 until months later; ∆ defaults on both loans. Who has priority over the piece of equipment?

It was in the middle of this second session when things went to hell in a handbasket testing-wise.

You see, this part of North Carolina has a long-standing history of late afternoon summer thunderstorms — even confirmed scientifically by my alma mater NC State and the State Climate Office back in 2001.6 The day starts out great, then around 4pm the clouds form, you have 20 minutes of the worst rain, wind, and lightning that you’ve ever seen, and then the sun’s out again.

Well in the middle of my ZombieLaw essay the power went out the first time. It lasted for about 7 minutes before things came back on, and the proctor announced that everyone would get an extra 7 minutes of time. I’d ensured my MacBook Pro battery was fully charged the night before the exam so I wasn’t phased by the outage and just kept on working.

Then, as I’m a paragraph away from finishing my Secured Transactions essay around 3:30pm, the power goes out again. And stayed off this time :beatup:

I finished my essay and turned in my forms about 5 minutes later, but found out that night that power stayed out for nearly an hour and folks were given an extra 45 minutes to finish; the essay portion that was supposed to end at 5:11pm stretched out until just before 6 o’clock. Bear in mind no electricity also meant no air conditioning — on a summer day, in 90º+ heat, housed in what is essentially the livestock barn for the State Fair each year. :crack:

Maybe it’s just because I was a computer scientist before I was a law student… but contingency plans for a loss of electricity seems like something you’d have for an event like this. I can only imagine the number of threatened lawsuits that are going to crop up when results are released and people who failed the test argue it was/is because of the stressful testing environment.

Did I mention that the NCBLE makes us pay an extra +$125 to use our laptops? Multiplied by the number of laptop users, that’s well over $100K going to the NCBLE just from laptop users alone. Surely they could drop $5K (or more) on a durable industrial generator. :roll:

After leaving the building I continued my non-diet indulgences by getting Zaxby’s for the first time in ages, went back to the hotel and swam for a bit, then did a hundred practice MBE questions while watching television.

 

DAY 2: “What the hell is that sound? And did that rat just piss on your foot?”
Wednesday was the Multistate Bar Exam multiple choice questions, covering ConLaw, CrimLaw/CrimPro, Evidence, Ks, Property, and Torts in two 100-question chunks. Things started around 8:15am and it was as dull and mundane as 100 multiple-choice questions sounds.

I’d been averaging around a minute per question practicing all summer, and did about the same on the exam wrapping up a couple minutes after 10am. The lunch break was absolutely dreadful the second time around because it was so… @#$%ing… long. It was already slated to last two hours, and me finishing an hour early added to it. Most of the time I was debating whether or not I should do more practice multiples, and didn’t eat lunch until the tail end of the break because I was still full from breakfast.

Oh and I forgot to point out there was a rat running around a quadrant of the testing area in the morning session, that staff captured on the lunch break by throwing a trash can over it :beatup: One of my classmates had the misfortune of it running across (and peeing on) her foot.

Things got back under way just after 2pm for the next batch of questions. Throughout most of the afternoon I kept hearing a loud noise outside, wondering if there was another thunderstorm going on — and turns out there was a wood chipper running full blast for hours. :surprised:

I tuned out the noise and kept grinding on the questions, finished about 3:55pm, then picked up the dog and headed home.7

 

So how did it go?
I have no clue :(

On the essays, I thought they were a lot “easier” than I expected. That word’s in quotes because I have -0- clue if I actually got the answers right; it just wasn’t nearly as difficult coming up with words to put on the paper as it had been during bar prep. I know for sure that I railed the Agency, ConLaw, and CrimPro questions, had only a partial clue on the CivPro and Prof Resp questions, and was somewhere in the middle on all the rest. NCCU Law has a supplemental bar prep program called “Invest in Success” that exclusively focuses on the essay portion of the exam and I’m thinking that was instrumental in getting me prepared.

The MBE, on the other hand, was inordinately difficult across the board.

My practice scores jumped, but the MBE was still far more difficult

My scores had improved dramatically on the practice multiples I’d been taking from BarBri so I went into Wednesday expecting it to be a piece of cake. But wow. I could narrow most questions down to two choices fairly quickly but would have no idea which of the two was correct.

Taking everything overall, and the 60-40 split NC uses on the essays-vs-MBE, if I were a gambling man I’d put my odds of passing somewhere around the mid-60% range. I feel OK but not comfortable. And now I have to find a way to put the test out of my mind for five weeks until we get the results…

That’s it from me for tonight y’all! Now that I don’t have class or studying I’m going to try to get law:/dev/null up-to-date (seriously!) and work on getting NC SPICE off the ground. Thanks to all of you for your support the past couple months, and have a great night! :D

  1. Dropped my diet for a 72-hour window by eating McDonalds, then sitting in the bathtub for an hour reading through some essays and collecting my thoughts, then sleeping. []
  2. After indulging on a delicious breakfast from room service :spin: []
  3. I’ll come up with an adequate nickname for her at some time down the road :) []
  4. Trying to make sure my bald scalp didn’t get sunburned! :beatup: []
  5. I’m using the delta symbol and pi symbol for defendant and plaintiff respectively; these should show up regardless of your browser and operating system, but if they don’t let me know and I’ll revert to D and P. []
  6. They suspect it’s because of the geological makeup of the region. []
  7. Didn’t get to celebrate being done though, because Samson puked shortly after dinner which prompted me to take him to the 24-hour emergency vet. :cry: Instead I got home just after 11pm, ate Bojangle’s for dinner, and working on this blog entry. []

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

 
3

Billing by the word (or, “Redundant Redundancy FTL”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 17, 2011 in Fail

Hey everybody! :D

I hope all of you have had an amazing weekend!  The crush of work I mentioned in my last entry is finally finished, so I’ve spent the past couple days reflecting on life,1 relaxing,2 and now working on a leadership development presentation for my undergraduate colleagues in the N.C. Central University Student Government.

And of course taking a break to throw one of these posts together ;)

It’s no secret that I’m generally not a fan of Contracts (see here and here and here if you don’t know why). The concepts aren’t exactly difficult, I’m just not aware of any field of law where people have gone to greater lengths to defile the meaning of perfectly functional English words.

Not even Capt. Picard approves of these Ks

Now most legal documents seem to have taken the old adage of “Don’t use a 10-cent word when a 5-cent word will do” and replaced it with “Don’t use a 10-cent word when an identical or substantially similar conveyance of meaning is articulable through the concurrent deployment of at least, but not limited to, a half-dozen or more $2 locutions.” :beatup:

So this entry is dedicated to those documents and to the lawyers billing by the word who wrote them.3

I’ve picked a quartet of clauses from actual contracts that have crossed my desk over the past few months for your reading pleasure, and underlined the language that irks me…

Honorable Mention:

This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of [RandomState], without reference to its conflict of laws principles.

Now I realize that this underlined snippet is actually designed to serve a purpose. Those of you who paid attention in CivPro might recognize this entire clause as a “choice of law” provision, indicating which state’s laws the parties want to use in enforcing the contract. And some of those states have enacted statutes — their “conflict of laws principles” — that say if a cause of action arises in another state, that other state’s laws should govern the conflict.

So, hypothetically, if a contract between a buyer in North Carolina and a seller in Virginia is construed under North Carolina law, but something happens in Virginia such that the seller defaults and the buyer files suit, a judge interpreting the contract might say “Construing this contract under North Carolina law, since this default happened in Virginia and North Carolina’s conflict of laws provisions say a contract must be governed by the law of the state giving rise to the cause of action, the Virginia law applies to this suit.” The underlined text would, theoretically at least, prevent that from happening.

[Note that I don’t actually know if what would actually happen in that particular hypothetical, I’m just trying to come up with a rational explanation for the underlined verbiage :beatup: ]

Then why, assuming this language really does serve a purpose, did it get included in my list?

Because one of the cardinal principles of contract interpretation is construing the contract in a way that effects the intent of the parties. It’s evident from including a choice of law provision in the first place that the parties wanted it governed by the law of the chosen state. For either party to then use the chosen state’s conflict of laws principles to wedge their way under the aegis of a different state’s laws would seem (to my feeble mind at least) to frustrate the signatories’ intent.

***

Third Place:

Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement to the contrary, if any confidential information is required to be disclosed pursuant to an order of a governmental agency or by operation of law, the receiving party shall be permitted to disclose such confidential information in accordance with the order or law. Prior to the disclosure the receiving party shall, unless prohibited by law, give the disclosing party reasonable advance notice to contest the disclosure.

Is there any kind of notice “[p]rior to the disclosure” that would not be “advance notice”?

Is there any kind of “advance notice” to contest a disclosure that could happen after “[p]rior to the disclosure”?

Unless the meaning of those basic words has changed since I last took an English class, the answer to both questions is “no.” The redundancy is unnecessary surplusage.4

***

Second Place:

In the event of a breach of this Agreement, [OurCo] may demand from [YourCo] the sum of One-Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars ($100,000.00) as liquidated damages and as reimbursement for expenses incurred and estimated to be incurred by [OurCo], which [YourCo] agrees to pay to [OurCo] within five (5) business days of the demand by [OurCo].

This one evidently originated in the Legal Department of a company that really likes seeing its name in print :roll:

This type of “break fee” provision is common in many contracts, designed to incentivize a party to avoid breaching the agreement. It’s obvious from the first sentence that the ability to demand payment in this clause belongs to OurCo, so the recitation of the rationale (“reimbursement for expenses…” blah blah blah) doesn’t need the “by OurCo” reference. Neither does the last line, since nothing in this clause gives YourCo the ability to make such a demand; we’re only talking about OurCo’s demand here.

And if OurCo is making the demand, why require in the contract that YourCo must “pay [it] to OurCo”? Maybe OurCo’s finance guys want YourCo to pay the money to some random charity so it’s not reflected as income on OurCo’s balance sheet.

Lots of redundancy all around… ::smh::

***

Before getting into our First Place winner, I have to confess up front that I bear some responsibility for any continued longevity this provision now has — I alphabetized the original and removed some of its duplicate listings.5 :beatup:

First Place:

“Document” means a physical embodiment of information or ideas of any kind or nature, including items that are handwritten, printed, mimeographed, lithographed, duplicated, typed, or contained in a graphic, photographic, film, video, tape or other electronic recording. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to: accounts, affidavits, analyses, answers to questionnaires, appointment books, balance sheets, bills, blueprints, book entries, books, cables, calculations, catalogs, charts, checks, computer files, computer logs, computer printouts, computer programs, contracts, correspondence, data, deeds, deposit slips, desk calendars, diagrams, diaries, drafts, drawings, emails, evaluations, expense reports, films, forms, formulas, graphs, income and/or investment statements, indexes, instructions, invoices, journals, ledgers, letters, license agreements, lists, logs, magnetic tapes and cards, manuals, maps, memoranda, microfilms, minutes, money orders, newspaper articles or clippings, notations, notes, offers, opinions, pamphlets, papers, periodicals, photographs, plans, publications, punch cards, purchase orders, questionnaires, receipts, records, renderings, reports, schedules, sheets, specifications, statements, statistical records, studies, summaries, surveys, tabulations, tax returns, telegrams, telex messages, text messages of any kind (including AIM, ICQ, MMS and SMS), transcripts, vouchers, warranties, web pages, websites, work papers, and worksheets. Documents also include, but are not limited to, reports and recordings of (i) telephone or other conversations, (ii) interviews or personal conversations, (iii) conferences, or (iv) committee meetings or other meetings, in addition to all other records or information kept by electronic, photographic, mechanical or other means, and things similar to any of the foregoing, however denominated.

This one actually takes up an entire page once it’s put in 12pt Times New Roman and doubled-spaced :crack:

For comparison, Black’s Law Dictionary defines a “document” as “Something tangible on which words, symbols, or marks are recorded.”

And Merriam-Webster’s goes with “a piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.”

Neither apparently feels it necessary to provide a page’s worth of examples.

—===—

Have a good night y’all! :)

  1. Son of TDot turned 13 yesterday :surprised: []
  2. Saw Harry Potter 7.2 with 雅雅… and, the storyline notwithstanding, thought it was the worst film in the series :beatup: []
  3. Hat tip to Peter Romary of The True Verdict blawg for inadvertently suggesting the title of this entry :) []
  4. And yes, I realize “unnecessary surplusage” is redundant — that’s the point :P []
  5. Meaning the original was even worse, if you can imagine that… []

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
-

Revisiting 1L Spring Grades

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 14, 2011 in NotFail

Good evening y’all :)

As law:/dev/null exhibited the occasional sign of life over the past couple weeks, I had a trio of people ask me the same question: aside from my obvious elation at the ending GPA, how did my individual classes turn out during 2L Fall?

I’ve been meaning to post an entry explaining exactly that… but then realized I never gave y’all a final update on 1L Spring, or any update at all on 1L Summer :beatup:

So to properly bolster my reputation of being totally open about my law school grades, I’ve copy/pasted my previous Spring grades entry and revised it with the exam info :D The textual updates are [bracketed], bolded, and preceded by “Update:” for readability.

I’ll post a separate entry on summer school grades some time this week, and then 2L Fall grades after that — I thought about rolling all that info into this one entry, but considering I haven’t managed to string 3 consecutive entries together for awhile now I wanted to make sure I’ve got easily-editable stuff in the queue ;)

Without further ado…

********************
1L SPRING REVISITED
********************

[Everything below is a copy/paste from this entry except for the updates and the final exam grades. You’ve been forewarned, so any resulting confusion is your own fault! :P ]

====================
CIVIL PROCEDURE II
====================

MDG switched things up from the usual final, giving us a set of multiples but then providing documents from a mock court case to review for the essay. Our objective was to review the documents and craft a letter to the client discussing the numerous FRCP-related concerns that existed.

It was during that portion of the exam that I stopped watching the clock and had time called before I got anywhere near finishing it :beatup:

CivPro II Final Exam Grades

The multiples were a challenge, with MDG describing them as “nuanced” and mentioning that even a fellow CivPro instructor missed a couple. The highest correct was 15 out of 20 multiples (75%) with the class average at 12 (60%) — high enough to pass the Bar, which is definitely a good thing given the difficulty.

The chart to the right shows how the final exam grades broke down. There was a +19-point curve.

My final grade for the course turned out slightly higher than anticipated, so my guess is I did well on the multiples. But I’m kicking myself for choosing a UNC Board of Governors meeting over an extra credit assignment we were given shortly after midterms though — the extra 5 points would have bumped the final grade to a B, bumping my 1L GPA above a 2.7 (eligible for some NCCU Law merit scholarships).

Lesson learned :headdesk:

[Update: I found out from MDG that I tied for top score on the multiple choice, which let me know I completely bombed the essay — so I didn’t bother picking it up :beatup: ]

Midterm exam grade: A-
Final exam grade: C
Expected final grade for class: C+
Actual final grade for class: B-

Synopsis: Worse performance than last semester, but given how gratuitously I choked on the essay I’m satisfied with how it turned out. And now I know to do all available extra credit in the future :beatup:

====================
CONTRACTS II
====================

Not a whole lot to say here: Contracts clearly isn’t my thing.

The downside is that I now have to explain to future employers how I barely passed a core class two semesters in a row.

The upside? I never have to take Contracts again until the bar exam ;)

[Update: This was the first (and thus far only) exam where I’ve underperformed on the multiples compared to the essay. According to Prof Ks, I got 33 of 50 possible essay points and was comfortably above the class median. But I somehow had the 3rd lowest score on the multiple choice :crack:  Still glad the class is over…]

Midterm exam grade: C-
Final exam grade: C
Expected final grade for class: C-
Actual final grade for class: C

Synopsis: I passed :surprised:

====================
CRIMINAL LAW
====================

If my perpetual flailing in Ks killed any briefly-nurtured dreams I had of going the intellectual property route, CrimLaw coupled with 1L Trial Team have convinced me to follow my heart and go the criminal prosecution route professionally. It’s something I had wanted to do for years, but never seriously considered since public employees don’t make much salary-wise.

But based on my grades it seems like the only thing I’ll be qualified to do :beatup:

The really crazy part? This was my best grade all year, and it was in the one class where I didn’t study for the final exam because I had a UNCASG meeting that weekend :crack:

Professor CrimLaw sent me an email making sure I knew that (i) I earned the grade I got but (ii) I shouldn’t make any professional decisions based on one course. He’s got a valid point but I don’t feel like I’m doing that here — I really, truly, and deeply hate Contracts too so technically it’s based on three courses :spin:

[Update: I missed a trio of the multiple choice, and had a few points taken off on the essay. For an ever-so-brief period of time I thought about arguing with Prof CrimLaw over some of the missed points — including a section where he wrote that I misread the fact pattern, even though myself and every other classmate I spoke to “misread” the same thing — but I was sufficiently happy/stunned to have at least 1 A-range grade that I didn’t bother contesting it.]

Midterm exam grade: A-
Final exam grade: A-
Expected final grade for class: A-
Actual final grade for class: A-

Synopsis: I’m 90% sure Professor CrimLaw isn’t a TDot fan, but I still enjoyed the course. And I’m glad I finally have something other than B’s and C’s populating my transcript ;)

====================
LEGAL RESEARCH & PERSUASION
====================

Along with not watching the clock in the CivPro final, this was my other instance of taking a strong starting grade and pissing it away through truly stunning incompetence.

Note to the pre-Ls: read directions!

Then when you’re done: re-read directions!

Then after that: re-re-read directions!

Trust me :beatup:

[Update: The professor said my final memo was excellent and would have earned me an A- had it not been days late. Le sigh. #kanyeshrug]

Cumulative grade after midterm: A-
Final memo grade: C-
Expected final grade for class: C
Actual final grade for class: C

Synopsis: It could have been worse I guess. At least the research skills we learned actually turned out to be useful. ::headdesk::

====================
PROPERTY II
====================

This was the only final exam where I didn’t have a gut feeling one way or the other on how it turned out. I’m not sure if it was from the stress of the looming Contracts final two days later or what.

My performance was worse than the midterm, but high enough that I ended up with the exact same grade I got in the Fall.

And I don’t remember any of it already :beatup:

[Update: The final for Property II was “meh” all around. Lost a few points on the multiples. Lost a few points on the fill-in-the-blanks covering future interests. Lost a few points on the essay. If anyone has any particularly compelling insights to glean from that performance, let me know :) ]

Midterm exam grade: A- (and in Top 3)
Final exam grade: B
Expected final grade for class: B+
Actual final grade for class: B+

Synopsis: At least I’m consistent :beatup:

====================
TORTS II
====================

Professor Torts is currently in Costa Rica with our Study Abroad folks, so I won’t know how the final exam turned out for a long while.

But I know enough to know I blew it :(

Back on the midterms I ended up with the #1 score out of the class on the multiples-only exam, so to end up with a final grade below even last semester’s I must have quite thoroughly FUBAR’d the final. And I feel fairly certain I did well on the essay, meaning I can only assume I botched the multiples.

Meh. Was never a fan of this class either…

[Update: Didn’t do as well on the essay as I thought, completing missing 1 of the issues and losing a point or two on a pair of others. Also didn’t do as bad as I thought on the multiples… but someone nailed everything so there was no boost at all in the typical curving of grades :surprised: ]

Midterm exam grade: A (and in Top 3)
Final exam grade: C+
Expected final grade for class: A-
Actual final grade for class: B-

Synopsis: This was the only bona fide disappointment for the semester, but at least it’s over. I will most definitely not be taking Advanced Torts ;)

====================
FINAL SCORE: SPRING 2010 FINALS
====================

Expected End-of-Semester GPA: 2.756
Actual End-of-Semester GPA: 2.733

Actual End-of-1L GPA: 2.678 (Law school median: 2.000)

*****

So that’s the final word on 1L Spring.  Info on 1L Summer coming soon (really! ;) )

Have a great night! :D

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

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

 
1

Haunted by… CivPro

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 12, 2010 in The 2L Life

It’s been a couple months since the last time I had any crazy law-related nightmares. Even though the first one seemed to be like a bad episode of Law & Order, the latter ended up being about exams… with a CivPro flavor.

That trend continued this morning :crack:

Despite going to bed around midnight, I randomly woke up at 3:10am. In my dreams I was in the NCCU Law building and had just picked up my CivPro final exam. After pulling the exam from the envelope, I notice the whole thing is a lot thicker than I remember when I turned it in. I flip past the multiples to the essay, where for some reason each individual paragraph ended up on a separate page… which I guess irritated MDG, because I lost a point per page from the excess white space :mad:

There was also a disproportionate amount of red ink relative to the black text and white emptiness. After looking closer I notice my essay has a ton of spelling errors at -1 point apiece. It was really basic stuff too — one of the party names in the dream hypo was “Mr. Goodall” which I kept misspelling as two words “Good All”. Then I notice a bunch of basic possessive errors ([foo]s’ vs [foo]s’s) at -1 point each, and even a few homophone mixups (to vs two vs too and such) also at -1 point each.

And this is all on top of the fact that I never actually finished the essay :beatup:

Right before I woke up, I flipped back to the front page and saw I got a D+ on the final, then calculated in my mind that I’d end up with a C for the final grade. So I don’t know if I can really consider it a nightmare since I passed the class. But I certainly wouldn’t describe it as an enjoyable experience.

And this law thing is something I want to do for a living? Someone pass the Ambien…

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
4

It’s official: I’m going nuts

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 4, 2010 in The 1L Life

Went to bed at ~11:30pm last night, fully expecting to get a solid 6 hours of sleep, wake up, eat breakfast, and have an otherwise relaxed morning en route to my 9am CivPro exam.

Instead I woke up at 2:25am from a nightmare about… midterms :beatup:

I dreamed I had gotten my Property midterm back. Only 14 of 30 points on the multiples and 52 of 70 points on the essay, so a D.

As I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong, several classmates who wrote their essays start arguing about the results and want to file a lawsuit against the Professor for negligently giving the typing students 10 extra minutes to finish.

A few others complained that some of the multiples had typos. An argument ensued over whether they could do a Rule 18 joinder of claims.

Then one guy in the back started talking about interpleading everyone under Rule 22 because he got a 100 and didn’t want to face multiple liabilities if they prevailed.

Then the Professor came in and wanted to implead the proctor under Rule 14, as a student in another section materialized out of nowhere to insist the Code of Student Conduct gave them a Rule 24 right to intervene.

Somewhere around that point I woke up.  w… t… f… :crack:

Tags: , , ,

 
-

Digesting the FRCP

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 21, 2010 in The 1L Life

To the current attorneys that happen to swing by law:/dev/null every now and again: how do they test the various Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the bar exam? Do you get a cheat sheet or anything listing each rule? Are only a few of the main ones tested? Or do you have to remember the essence of every single one?

Trying to keep up with the new material in CivPro this semester is like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and getting a horrible case of indigestion afterwards… :beatup:

Tags: ,

 
-

The Law as a Time Capsule

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 15, 2010 in The 1L Life

Every now and then when I’m reading these casebooks, it really throws me for a loop to realize how incredibly old so many of our rules of law have gotten.

The obvious reference for a 1L is Property, where items like BlackAcre were first referenced nearly 4 centuries ago and most of the estate terminology was created around the same time.

But even in Civil Procedure many of the rules are orders of magnitude older than the current students of them. Consider, for example, that counterclaims were first codified in New York in 1852 (1.5 centuries ago). Or that the comparably “new” Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are closer to the 1-century mark than the 0-century one (created in 1938 / 0.7 centuries ago).

For all the talk of law evolving — which we know it undoubtedly has just looking at the opinions we study — it’s still interesting to see how many vestiges of it remain relatively untouched decade after decade after decade.

Just thought I’d share my bemusement :) Back to more CivPro before bed. Hope all of you are having a great start to the week! :D

Tags: , ,

 
5

How much of a lawyer are you after 1 semester?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 4, 2010 in The 1L Life

My 2L and 3L friends are collectively rolling their eyes at the post title, but I promise it’s a serious (or at least seriously-intended) question :angel:

Just how much of a lawyer is a law student after their 1st semester?

Some background behind the question is in order, so you don’t think I’m totally batshit crazy for even asking. Everyone talks about the big life adjustment that is law school — teaching you to “think like a lawyer” and all that jazz.

But my (admittedly unproven) hypothesis is that 90%+ of any such adjusting is going to take place in your first semester, since presumably if it hadn’t you would have already failed out of law school.  Unless of course you go somewhere with a B+ median.1 ;)

So assuming, arguendo, that my hypothesis is right, the next 2.5 years will be spent not on training you to be a lawyer so much as forcing you to have at least a passing knowledge of the current state of the law in various subject areas.

Not sure if that’s worded well enough to convey my point, so let me try a computer comparison:  basically in the first semester you’re taught all the logical constructs of programming (conditionals / loops / etc) and then for the next 2.5 years you get taught logically-identical variants of programming languages (Java / C++ / etc).

Or maybe a movie comparison works?  It’s like the first Matrix movie, where the first semester is for explaining wheretf you are and rebuilding your atrophied muscles from scratch, then the next 2.5 semesters get spent uploading various martial arts like kung-fu straight into your brain.2

Hopefully at least one of those three made sense :beatup:

So going back to the question, let’s say you finished all of your required credit hours in Contracts, Legal Research, and Civil Procedure. At this point would you be competent enough to litigate a Contracts dispute pro se? Or will some other course over the next 2.5 years add still more training that you’d need to be effective?

Not sure why that particular question crossed my mind tonight, but I figured I’d throw it out there if any of my 2L/3L/post-L readers have insights they wouldn’t mind sharing :)

Back to reading for Contracts, just in case I need to represent myself any time soon ;) Have a great night everybody!! :D

  1. JUST KIDDING AGAIN! I promise I still :heart: y’all Tarheel ppl (you know who you are)  and it won’t become a habit :* []
  2. And if you haven’t actually seen any of the Matrix movies, you need to get out more. Seriously. :P []

Tags: , , , ,

 
2

Home, Sweet Home :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 31, 2010 in Randomness

The drive home from the tre-fo was a little crazy, but I’m finally back in the Bull City :D

It was a little strange driving down the interstate unable to see lane lines or the curb or anything else but the solid snow+ice on the road around you. The interesting thing is how courteous and cooperative folks become when they’re in an equally precarious situation alongside you.

I’m wondering if there’s a comparison to be made there with law school…

Fortunately the DOT did a lot of road-clearing work on I-40 from Greensboro to Durham, so after escaping Forsyth County it was a relatively smooth ride. Now hoping MDG will cancel CivPro tomorrow :beatup:

But reading anyway just in case. Have Why Do Fools Fall In Love playing in the background — I forgot how thoroughly ridiculous / amusing this movie is…

[Update @ 8:30pm — All classes canceled until noon… meaning no class at all for me :D ]

Tags: , , ,

 
2

Fall ’09 Grades: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugh-ly

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 26, 2010 in NotFail

An anthropomorphic analysis of 1L Fall

::headdesk::

If I had to pick 1 word to describe my 1L Fall semester, that’d be the one :beatup:

Even though NCCU Law takes pride in sticking with its strict-C curve, I figured things couldn’t get that bad.  Between midterms going well and studying my socks off for finals, surely the 3.0 GPA I want wasn’t unrealistic, right?

::headdesk::

So with several of my law school colleagues last week posting their own tales of joy, not-quite-joy, and not-quite-anything-yet, here’s my own report card for the 1L fall semester.

====================
LEGAL REASONING & ANALYSIS
====================

My grades were erratic, my distaste emphatic, and my mood post-completion? Ecstatic.

The only positive thing I can say about this class is that it’s over.

Grade at midterm: C+
Expected grade pre-memo: C
Actual grade post-memo: C

Synopsis: No surprises here. I hated this class and thought the material we were taught was completely useless… a point publicly echoed by at least one of the other professors. Hopefully Legal Research & Persuasion will be better.

====================
CIVIL PROCEDURE I
====================

This was hands-down my best class of the semester, and the grade still hurt.

After thinking I nearly failed the final, the curve boosted my exam grade by 22 points. Combining that with the midterm grade I ended up with a B+ overall… an unfortunate (and painful) 0.5 points away from an A- :mad:

I jokingly emailed MDG asking if I could successfully argue for that half-point. His 2-word response: “LOL. no.”

Midterm exam: A
Final exam: B
Expected grade pre-final: A
Actual grade post-final: B+ (0.5 points away from an A- :beatup: )

Synopsis: Still kicking myself a month later for being so close and blowing it. This is still my favorite class, and I’m determined to do better this semester.

====================
CONTRACTS I
====================

Ever heard the phrase “like an albatross around your neck”? Instead of thinking about the Mariner and an actual albatross, think more like my GPA and good ol’ Contracts :beatup:

I got the grade for this class a few days before the final exams were returned, and even though I figured I got thoroughly mauled minutes after finishing… I didn’t think it would turn out as bad as it did. I went to talk with the Professor about the exam, and the conversation went something like this:

TDot: Professor Ks, I was wondering if I could talk with you about my exam.
Prof. Ks: Sure TDot. What’s your exam number?
TDot: [####]
Prof. Ks: ::flipping through Scantron report:: Hmmm. You did better than the class average on the multiples, so that must mean your essay…
TDot: (in unison) …must have been really bad…
Prof. Ks: (in unison) …must have been really bad.

At this point Prof. Ks starts flipping through a stack of essays.

He goes through the 70s… and keeps going.

Goes through 60s… and keeps going.

Goes through 50s… and keeps going.

Finally he pulls one from a stack of 40s, flips through it, pulls up his Excel gradesheet, and goes “Ohhhhh yeah I remember this one”… not a good sign

Prof. Ks: So this spreadsheet is my rubric where I break everything down, so we’re going to go through it section by section and hopefully you’ll see what you missed.
TDot: OK.
Prof. Ks: ::points at essay:: You mention here that you’re going to talk about promissory estoppel. Show me where you actually talked about promissory estoppel.
TDot: ::flips pages::   ::blank stare::
Prof. Ks: Exactly. OK so here ::points:: you mention that you’re going to talk about fraud in the inducement of the contract. Show me where you actually talked about fraud in the inducement.
TDot: ::flips pages::  ::blank stare::
Prof. Ks: Yep. And then ::points:: here you mention needing to analyze which meaning of [term in contract] should apply. Show me where…
TDot: [expletive]

The conversation shifted to ways I could improve this upcoming semester, but basically I totally FUBAR’d the essay by not re-reading my material closer before turning it in. Maybe it’s time I start overanalyzing after all…

Midterm exam: B
Final exam: D+
Expected grade pre-final: B
Actual grade post-final: C-

Synopsis: ::headdesk::

====================
TORTS I
====================

Nothing much to say here. I came in needing a strong final exam to counteract a disastrous midterm and I got it.

Torts Final Exam Scores

Just like the Contracts final though, there were some really obvious blunders that I should have noticed — for example, detailing the differences between the local, same-or-similar, and national standards of care without ever discussing which standard would apply in the jurisdiction contained in the hypo :beatup:

But after coming off that C+ on the midterm, I’m more than happy with what I got.

On an unrelated note, one of the cool things about Professor Torts is that she provides statistics for her exam scores. Her essays are “auto-curved” (she picks the best one and grades all the others against that top essay) but the multiples are raw, so graphing the final scores you can tell by the trendline that folks really stepped up their studying between midterms and finals — compare the chart at the right to the graph from midterms.

Midterm exam: C+
Final exam: B+
Expected grade pre-final: B
Actual grade post-final: B

Synopsis: Recovered nicely from the midterm, now getting ready to (hopefully) breeze through Round 2.

====================
PROPERTY I
====================

Basically the same thing that happened with Civil Procedure happened with Property.

Same issues on the essay too, e.g. detailing the factors affecting a Statute of Limitations calculation without actually analyzing what the SOL would ultimately be for that particular segment of the hypo.

So after nailing the midterm, I ended up with a mid-range B on the final — and keeping the A’s out of reach as a final grade.

Midterm exam: A (and in Top 3)
Final exam: B
Expected grade pre-final: A-
Actual grade post-final: B+

Synopsis: This one hurt, though not as bad as CivPro. I’m already lost in Property II with all the concurrent estates discussion but hopefully I’ll be back on track by midterms.

====================
FINAL SCORE: FALL 2009
====================
Expected Fall GPA: 3.071
Actual Fall GPA: 2.619
T1-inflation-adjusted Fall GPA1: 3.833

—===—

So that’s the rundown :beatup:

I know it could be much worse and I’m not in a position to complain — after all, I already know at least 1 classmate who’s dropped out as a result of their midterm grades, and another 3 who are on their way out at the end of the year without a miraculous turnaround.

But even with my good fortune, it’s frustrating having to explain to Nan that even though my undergraduate and professional GPAs are only a few hundredths of a point apart, the former meant I was in the bottom third of my class while the latter means I’m safely in the top third.

And it’s almost equally difficult to accept that I can’t really freak out about my grades and overhaul my study habits, because I objectively learned+recalled the material. Yet at the same time I can’t not freak out about them, because had I done comparably sloppy work in actual practice I’d likely be facing a malpractice claim and a grievance filed with my former employer.

Sooooo… yeah.

::headdesk::

Here’s hoping 1L Spring brings some improvement… along with warmer weather ;)

Off to bed so I can be up for Ks on time in the morning. Have a great night folks! :D

  1. JUST KIDDING! I don’t seriously inflation-adjust my grades, and I know the academic environment is different, “the students here are better” (allegedly), blah blah blah — I just put this in to antagonize my friends at UNCCH Law :* []

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

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