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. []

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4

That was remarkably unpleasant

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 5, 2011 in The 3L Life

Let me preface this entry by saying it really has been an excellent day — my NC State Wolfpack dominated (and shut out) the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven on the gridiron today to extend our win streak to 5 consecutive years,1 I got to enjoy a dinner celebrating the 30th anniversary of NCCU Law’s Evening Program, and had an opportunity to catch up with friends before and after.2

Everything you read after this paragraph is not indicative of how everything else turned out.

But d*mn the MPRE was rough! :crack:

I couldn’t come up with a humorous metaphor to throw out as a comparison, though I imagine a swift kick to the shins would be only marginally more painful.

The first mistake I made was not studying more sooner. There’s been so much going on at the law school academically3 and otherwise4 that I just never had time to study much of anything. I watched the 4-hour BarBri lecture video and filled out the corresponding outline, but that ended up being it. No review of the Model Rules. No reading of the review book I got. No multiple choice questions. Nada.

My figuring was that I’ve got a fairly well-developed sense of right and wrong and the rules would be common sense, so I could just wing it and still be OK…

…then I got to the first question on the test and was like “omgwut?” :beatup:

Now there are a few questions that I know 110% for certain I got right.  For example, I paid enough attention in ConLaw to know a state’s attempts to restrict law licenses to its residents only violates the Privileges & Immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. There were others that truly did seem like common sense and I feel comfortable with my answers.

But things like the imputation of conflicts5 and the whole privileged-vs-merely-confidential stuff left me scratching my increasingly bald head.

I was sufficiently clueless that it only took me about an hour and 10 minutes to get through the thing, feeling totally awkward as I ended up being the very first person in the room to turn in the test and leave.

There’s a slim-but-nonzero possibility I won’t have to retake the test in March, but until then all I can do is cross my fingers and pray that I somehow managed to pass.

To any 1Ls/2Ls who happen to read this: don’t repeat my mistakes ;)

Have a good night y’all! :D

  1. I heard through the grapevine they’re going to rename the UNCCH mascot to “Tar Heellllls” — yep, with 5 consecutive L’s :P []
  2. Though I probably should have been studying instead :beatup: []
  3. Four papers to work on now… []
  4. Made Moot Court Board last week! :D []
  5. Can law firm represent Party A in a contract dispute with Party B, when long-since-departed Attorney of law firm negotiated the contract on behalf of Party B, didn’t speak with anyone else at the firm before / during / after, and took all the files with him when he left? I still don’t know for certain :crack: []

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8

First impressions of 3L Fall

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 29, 2011 in The 3L Life

The old saying was “1L year they scare you to death, 2L year they work you to death, 3L year they bore you to death.”

Evidently I’ve become so skilled at procrastination that I’m just now getting to the “work you to death” part, because this semester is going to be crazy :beatup:

Yes, that's nearly 2 feet of textbook for just one semester -- and doesn't even include Employment Discrimination!

With the first week of 3L Fall behind me (NCCU Law started a week later this calendar year) and 1.5′ of books to read, here are some initial thoughts on my classes this semester:

===============
PREFACE
===============

After graduating high school with few accolades — and graduating from N.C. State with none at all — I decided I was going to be one of the most-decorated people to cross NCCU Law’s stage for graduation on May 12, 2012.

So I’m currently signed up for the maximum number of hours you can take in a semester (16 hours / 6 classes) and will be taking a full load next semester too. And I don’t have the option of dropping any of them if I stick with my plan to be blinged out in May.

Just wanted to throw that preface out there so y’all don’t think I’m insane ;)

 

===============
APPELLATE ADVOCACY I
===============

Those of you who are long-time readers of law:/dev/null1 might notice that I had signed up for this class last year… and promptly dropped it when things got too busy.

The problem is that AppAd is a prerequisite for trying out for our Moot Court Board, which I’ve developed an ever-so-tiny urge to attempt even if I stick with the TYLA trial team this coming year.

Prof AppAd is the same professor I’ve got for Criminal Prosecution Clinic I. Seems to be a good guy, passionate about the subject and has a good sense of humor to keep things entertaining. He also appears to be very very very detail-oriented — which makes me feel better since I won’t be the only one raising an eyebrow when I see a sample appeal in two different fonts :beatup:

 

===============
FUNDAMENTALS OF INCOME TAXATION
===============

This class… yyyeeeaaaahhh…

Remember how I said I appreciated Prof Ks because he was upbeat about the subject?

And remember how I still hated Contracts because it was (i) so @#$%ing early in the morning, (ii) required, and (iii) the subject matter was more dense than a brick wrapped in a neutron star at the center of black hole?

And remember how I ended up with a C- in Contracts I and a C in Contracts II?

The first two items on that list accurately describe Tax so far: passionate teacher, required course with dense subject matter at 8:30am.

I’m praying I don’t end up with the third item on the list too…

 

===============
EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
===============

MDG teaches this one, which is the only reason I signed up for the class — I might not have loved CivPro, but at least I knew the material when we finished! :)

Class has been challenging so far because the bookstore still doesn’t have the casebook so I only partially know what’s going on.2 The upside is that MDG has focused on teaching the concepts with hypos drawn from real cases, so the debates have been interesting and the class has been pretty engaged.

Not that we have much choice since there are only 9 of us in there, but still…

This also goes toward the elective requirements for me to complete NCCU Law’s Civil Rights & Constitutional Law concentration that I’ll have wrapped up this semester (assuming I pass :beatup: )

 

===============
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II: FIRST AMENDMENT
===============

I’m not sure what to think about this one.

On the one hand, (1) I love constitutional law in general and (2) this is one of the required courses for the Civil Rights concentration.

On the other, I don’t think the professor likes me…

It could just be me imagining things of course, but the first time we met in-person was upon her request to come to her office (I had emailed her to see if she would approve me being added to the course even though it was at the enrollment cap). When I got there, she asked me to sit tight because she had to walk across the hall and talk to MDG about something.

3 hours later and I was still sitting there before finally deciding I had been punk’d :beatup:

That aside, so far the classes have been fun hashing out some of the nettlesome challenges facing the courts in dealing with the First Amendment. I’m assuming it only gets better from here…

 

===============
SALES & SECURED TRANSACTIONS
===============

Contracts IV basically.3  :cry:

Prof Sales sort of reminds me of the mad scientists you see on TV: very passionate, very animated, trying to convince the masses to take an interest in their respective crafts. He’s funny too.

But, again, this is essentially Contracts IV we’re talking about here. I’m trying not to go in with a too-negative mindset, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the semester in this class…

 

===============
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION CLINIC I
===============

Not sure what to expect here — this class only meets once a week, and I had to sheepishly ask Prof AppAd if I could leave about an hour in for a required meeting I had with the law school administration :beatup:

Essentially this class will be teaching us how to handle ourselves in the courtroom when we’re trying actual cases under the Third Year Practice Rule next semester when we do the field portion of this class. Since this is what I want to do for a living (assuming I can make enough to pay the bills) I’m looking forward to the experience :D

***

So that’s the synopsis so far :) It’s going to be a long semester, but I hope / pray / expect it will be worth it in the end!

Have a great night y’all! :D

–===–

From the law:/dev/null First Impressions archive:

  1. *THANK YOU* :heart: []
  2. Apparently the folks at Follett (the vendor NCCU contracts with to run the store) noticed that the 7th edition was no longer in print, but never took it upon themselves to discover that the 8th edition was out. So we have 8th Edition statutory supplements at the store, but no 8th edition casebook. Needless to say that’s been on my list of complaints our SBA is dealing with… []
  3. I consider Business Associations to be Contracts III… []

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1

Halfway done!

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

Another month, another one of my sporadic weeklong disappearances :beatup:

This has been a crazy week — spanning both final exams and a new job — but things are finally starting to get back into a rhythm so I can start focusing on the important things in life.

Including, but not limited to, the fact I’M NOW HALFWAY DONE WITH LAW SCHOOL! :spin: :spin: :spin:

::happy dance::

My last exam was in Evidence last Wednesday and with it my 2L Fall semester officially came to a close. Professors at NCCU Law have until January 12th to turn in grades so it’ll be awhile until I find out how I did, but here’s my expectations on how things will turn out:

  • Constitutional Law I: Unlike the midterm that I knew I knocked out of the park, I thought the final was pretty @#$%ing difficult :surprised:  30 multiple choice questions and then 3 essays spanning a whole range of issues. There were a few multiples I genuinely had no clue how to answer, and I was typing on the essays right down to the very last minute. After talking with classmates after the exam I’m fairly certain I missed a good chunk of stuff on the essays so at this point I’ll just be happy if my grade doesn’t have a negative impact on my GPA. Hoping for: B+.
  • Domestic Violence: History, Law & Practice: I drew a bead on this class early, determined to deal with the difficult subject matter and ace the course. I tried to avoid skipping class (difficult for an 8:30am time slot), intentionally went overboard perfecting my motion in limine, thought I was fairly well-prepared for oral arguments, and just generally worked my @$$ off to excel at everything. This is the only class where I’ll be legitimately irked if I don’t get the grade I want :beatup:  Hoping for: A.
  • Legal Letters: This was another paper-based course along with DVLaw, and I got near-perfect grades on all the assignments… except for the research memo I postponed in favor of studying for ConLaw. That dropped me to the bottom of the pile grade-wise, so the only hope I have for a decent grade is that (1) other classmates turned stuff in late too, and (2) my grades on the other assignments were marginally high enough compared to everyone else that I can edge past a few folks into the middle of the pack.  Hoping for: C+ or better.
  • Evidence: This one burns. 10 true/false question, 30 multiple choice, 1 essay. I know I completely and totally demolished the essay, in no small part due to knowledge I cemented in my brain doing research for DVLaw and from watching all 7 hours of BarBri’s online lectures (something I highly recommend for future exams). But the answer options on the multiple choice weren’t as precisely worded as I expected, and I often found myself feeling like I was playing a game of “pick the least wrong answer”… which means I probably didn’t know wtf I was doing :(  Fingers are crossed but this one falls into the ConLaw pile of “I’ll be glad as long as it doesn’t drop my GPA.” Hoping for: B+.
  • ZombieLaw (Decedents Estates I): My feelings toward this one have changed a bit since the post I wrote just after the exam. Initially I likened it to Contracts and my 1L Spring final, where spending a ton of time on questions just to work my way to an “either of these could be right” coin flip meant I did pretty bad. But in this case, although it took me 2.5 hours to grind through the 30 multiple choice questions, I eventually found an answer for each one that made sense to me — there was no coin-flipping at all. So my hope of hopes is that it means I got all the multiple choice right ::fingers crossed:: Hoping for: A-.
  • Expected 2L Fall GPA: 3.400 | Probability Factor: 18.2%

Why the added “Probability Factor” on this particular grade rundown? Well, if all these grades turn out like I hope, that means I’d make the Dean’s List… a feat I haven’t accomplished since Fall 2005, my first semester back at N.C. State :beatup:

Back in undergrad I had an incentive to perform well, since I had a pre-existing agreement with the Dean’s office set up in 2000 where they’d retroactively wipe away my sophomore Spring semester1 once I finished a summer session with “satisfactory academic progress” to prove I wasn’t totally incompetent. Of course I dropped out that June because I couldn’t afford tuition, so that semester of solid grades never took place until I came back 5 years later.

But here in law school, the only incentive I’ve got to perform well in class is just the self-satisfaction of knowing I can do it… and truth be told that’s just not a terribly strong motivator to a guy who already has an outlandishly oversized ego ;) So I figure the odds of me actually making Dean’s List this semester are about 2-in-11.

If any of you get the urge to cross your fingers, say a prayer, or bribe a professor on my behalf2 please feel free to do so. Until then, y’all have a great night — and best of luck to anyone still dealing with final exams! :D

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

  1. They took pity on the fact I was a moron who was working 4o hours a week thinking I could make enough $$$ for tuition and still perform well academically :beatup: []
  2. Just kidding about the bribe part. Maybe. :angel: []

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2

Showtime

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

Lots to talk about y’all, but not tonight — 1st exam of Fall 2010 is at 9am tomorrow :surprised:  A 4-hour beast in Constitutional Law I to be precise.

I know basic ConLaw almost instinctively after studying it since at least high school, but I don’t feel confident at all about my recollection of the minutiae on stuff we’ve gone over these past 2-3 weeks — when I was focusing on assignments for other classes :beatup:

If you’ve got any spare prayers available, feel free to send them my way ;)

Thanks guys, and have a great night!

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-

The final lap (of Fall 2010 at least)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 29, 2010 in The 2L Life

The Fall 2010 semester at NCCU Law is now officially over! :D

9 days and 3 final exams — in ConLaw, ZombieLaw, and Evidence — are all that stand between yours truly and a solid month of not having to read casebooks every day…

…at least until the Spring semester starts :beatup:

On an unrelated side note, I also found out that I will officially be tutoring the §103 1Ls in CrimLaw next semester B-)  And on top of it should have a 2nd telephone interview with these folks on Wednesday.

If it goes well, I will firmly be in the “embarrassment of riches” category as far as jobs go — they won’t be paying much, but anything is greater than $0 ;)

End of the semester. One job in hand. Another (hopefully) en route. All in all not a bad day.

Off to go straighten up the living room in anticipation of studying for finals. *GOOD LUCK* to all of you with exams! :)

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-

2 down, 3 to go…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 28, 2010 in The 2L Life

Finally put the finishing touches on my brief for DV Law and set to turn it in tomorrow morning. With my last day of Legal Letters happening earlier this week, that means I’m now officially done with 2 of my 5 classes this semester :spin:

If any of you get bored and want to read through the brief I wrote for the class, you can download a PDF copy here.

Spending the rest of the night catching up on reading for ConLaw. Have a great night y’all! :D

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-

Fall ’10 Status Update

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 7, 2010 in The 2L Life

Hey everybody :)

One of my friends at a law school on the other end of the country sent me a FB message pointing out I haven’t posted a mid-semester update for my 2L Fall semester at NCCU Law like I had done back in 1L.

The reason is that 2L year grade-wise is markedly different from 1L — where first year grades were 20% based on a midterm and 80% based on a final exam, only two 2L classes have midterms (ConLaw and Business Associations, which I’ll be taking in the Spring). The rest either make the final exam 100% of the grade or require various papers throughout the semester.

That lack of information makes grade entries like this one a lot less interesting ;)

But given how totally riveting my recent commentary on daylight savings time and Verizon’s mobile phone selection has been, I’ll go ahead and bow to the peer pressure :beatup:

====================
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I
====================

There’s not much for me to say on this one that I didn’t already say after the exam. Constitutional Law is my favorite course and one of my favorite topics in general — even outside of the law school context — and it showed on the midterm. I ended up getting 35 out of 40 questions correct on the midterm, tying for 2nd place in the class (high was 36 of 40).

Haven’t had a chance to meet with Prof ConLaw yet to figure out what I missed, but maxing out the total points I can get on the midterm puts me in a good position heading into the final.

Expected Midterm Grade: A
Actual Midterm Grade: B+ (raw) / A (curved)

Synopsis: Just need to keep studying and make sure I can knock out the essays on the (4-hour) final exam. Given my track record last year, I doubt I’ll pull an A in this class — but I’m still going for it ;)

====================
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: HISTORY, LAW & PRACTICE
====================

The subject matter in DV Law has been a challenge since the beginning, but as the semester has gone on it’s gotten slightly less agitating. There was even one class where we joined a section of Advanced Torts for a joint lecture on defamation vis-à-vis allegations of domestic violence, and I was comfortable enough to hold my own against the lecturing professor playing the other side.

On the grade front, this is one of those classes with numerous assignments for fractional parts of the final grade. The good news: I’ve gotten the max points so far for the community observation, class participation, and the annotated bibliography for my motion in limine. The bad news: the preliminary research memo for the motion was turned in late, so the A grade I had on that was dropped to a B+. And the “::shrug::” news: the remaining 75%ish of the course grade is still to come, based on the first draft of the motion last week, the oral argument on it next week, and the final motion due the week after that.

Expected Grades To-Date: A
Actual Grades To-Date: A-

Synopsis: Now that the preliminary draft of the motion in limine is done, the final should be easy to knock out. Not sure what’s going to happen with the oral arguments though. Hoping to finish strong.

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LEGAL LETTERS
====================

The grading for this class is unique. We have 4 papers due — a client letter, a research memo, an opinion letter, and a settlement proposal — with each one worth a total of 100 points. At the end of the semester, whoever has the most points gets the A and it scales down from there. So even though I got a 95/100 on my first letter, I have no clue how that breaks down compared to the rest of the class; I’ve seen both higher and lower in roughly equal proportions, and it makes me slightly nervous.

As for the memo and opinion letter that were both turned in awhile ago? No clue, because we haven’t gotten them back yet :beatup: We also haven’t gotten the required background info (medical expenses and such) for the settlement proposal, so this class is basically on hold for now.

Expected Grades To-Date: A
Actual Grades To-Date: ????

Synopsis: I’ll be glad when this class is over. The professor is interesting and I enjoy talking to her (she’s an adjunct who works as a public defender full-time), but this is one of those classes no one likes and we’re all required to take just because the ABA says so.

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EVIDENCE
====================

I’m totally lost in this class. It’s straight lecture-style with no assignments, no Socratic method, no midterm, nothing — basically the exact opposite of my learning style. I’m terrified about the final, and more importantly I’m terrified about how I’m going to perform in Trial Practice next semester when I feel like I’ve got only a minimal grasp on the Federal Rules of Evidence.

If anyone has any suggestions on an effective way to learn this material on my own, I’d appreciate it!

Expected Grades To-Date: N/A
Actual Grades To-Date: N/A

Synopsis: I have three weeks to figure out wtf I’m doing. Prayers are welcomed. :beatup:

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ZOMBIELAW (DECEDENTS ESTATES I)
====================

This class is just like Evidence, except in addition to being a lecture-style course with no assignments or any real class participation, it’s also BORING AS @#$%. Prof ZombieLaw is hilarious and tries to keep it as interesting as possible, but I seriously find nothing interesting about divvying up property after you’re dead. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a poor family that doesn’t have much to divvy, but it’s (1) boring, (2) tedious, and (3) depressing.

I’m basically doing the bare minimum to keep track of where we are in class, then will be using our pre-final review time to learn enough substantive material to eke out a C in the class. As long as I don’t have to take it again, I’ll be happy.

Expected Grades To-Date: N/A
Actual Grades To-Date: N/A

Synopsis: Caffeine can’t even keep me awake in here anymore. At least I know I won’t be a probate attorney after law school? :lol:

***

That’s where things stand with me y’all.  My first final exam is ConLaw on December 3rd, only three weeks and my second-favorite holiday away :eek:

Hope all of you are having an excellent semester, and that you’re in better shape going into finals than I am! ;)

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From the grade-related archives:

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4

Twitch

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 15, 2010 in Randomness

I’ve been blessed with good eyesight since I was a kid, and when I visited 雅雅 in Memphis the future-optometrist even determined I’m part of a relatively small number of people in the country who would be classified as a “true emmetrope.”1

After successfully making it through years of computer science and 1L year of law school without any problems, I guess I’ve been taking things for granted: between a research memo for DVLaw, a research memo for Legal Letters, and a midterm for ConLaw, this week I’ve developed this insanely annoying twitch at the outer edge of my left eye :cry:

Not sure if it’s plain ol’ eye fatigue or something serious, but I’m officially not a fan…

  1. Basically means both of my eyes are normal-shaped, compared to folks who have one or both eyes that are slightly misshapen but still see 20/20 due to the brain compensating for vision problems. []

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-

TDot: 1, ConLaw: 0

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 14, 2010 in NotFail

Despite going to bed early, I never made it to the 8am ConLaw review :beatup:

My BlackBerry doubles as my alarm clock, and I’ve got this habit of taking it after it goes off and then resetting the alarm for 10-15 minutes later.1 The problem Wednesday morning was that I apparently grabbed the phone, opened the app, started to change the time…

… and fell asleep with the phone in my hand before I actually finished setting the alarm :(

I rolled over and noticed the time at 7:45am, faced with the dilemma of either (i) jumping out of bed, skipping breakfast and a shower, throwing on sweats and racing to a review session I would sit through while half-asleep, or (ii) getting up at my leisure, enjoying a hot shower followed by a hot breakfast, dressing like something other than a ragamuffin, and just make up the missed review by studying my butt off for the ensuing 24ish hours.

So I picked Option #2 ;)

The tradeoff for frenetically studying yesterday and today is that my already-late research memo for Legal Letters will be getting turned in even further after deadline, giving me a -0- on that assignment and all but ensuring the best I can do in that class is now a C+. But given how thoroughly I (hopefully) dominated this midterm, I figure doing well in 4-credit ConLaw is slightly more important than 2-credit Legal Letters.

The 80-minute exam was comprised of 40 multiple choice questions, basically covering the first 3 chapters of Chemerinsky’s Constitutional Law textbook. Questions ranged from gimmes2 to real puzzlers,3 along with a few esoteric ones that folks either studied or didn’t.4

After the extensive study marathon, I blazed through the exam in about 30 minutes — earning a raised eyebrow from Madame Prosecutor and at least one 1L-worthy glare from another. But I knew what I knew and knew what I didn’t, so there wasn’t much point in overanalyzing :beatup:

We’ll see how it shakes out, and hope I can keep it up through finals :)

Hoping for: A

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From the grade-related archives:

  1. Since if I just press the snooze button, I’m inclined to do so repeatedly for over an hour :beatup: []
  2. “How many amendments were in effect when the Constitution was enacted?” (Zero) []
  3. Four similar hypothetical lawsuits and figuring out which one wasn’t deficient with respect to SCOTUS standing requirements. []
  4. “What was Justice Black’s opinion on the Executive’s inherent authority in the [7-opinion] Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer decision?” (There is none.) []

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