“Let me tell you a story…” (Part 8 of 9)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 10, 2014 in Background

Many years ago, back during the days-you-couldn’t-pay-me-to-relive when I was a 1L, I wrote this entry on LRA mentioning how my computer science background helped me with studying law (and also how I hated LRA :mad: ).

That was the main topic in the penultimate snippet from my interview with the NCSU Libraries as part of their Student Leadership Initiative — not just how computer science prepared me for law school, but how my NC State education in general factored in.

Before we get to that though, you get to witness me being stumped by a question because the thing I thought was the highlight of my career in Student Senate was dead by the time I had the interview :beatup:

Questions in this Clip:

00:00 – What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a student leader at NC State?

02:11 – Do you think your time at NC State has prepared you so far for law school?

06:07 – Could you talk a little bit about how your time at State has influenced your life more broadly?

Only one more video left, then I’ll get back to law-related stuff :) Good night y’all!


From the law:/dev/null Student Leadership Initiative-related archives:

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The whole 2L “new car smell” wears off quick…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 17, 2010 in The 2L Life

…when your first class on every Tuesday morning is (i) required to graduate, (ii) not particularly interesting, and (iii) 2 hours long :beatup:

Legal Letters is the 3rd in a series of writing-intensive required courses at NCCU Law (the first two were LRA and LRP for 1Ls). I’m hoping it will be easier than the others since I’ve written all sorts of documents back when I was a paralegal. But 2 hours is just too flipping long to sit still!

Luckily it’s only once a week. We’ll see if my opinion changes :)

Have a great night y’all! :D

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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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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::


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.


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.

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.


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 :* []

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A Quantitative Look at 1L Fall

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 22, 2009 in The 1L Life

I shamelessly borrowed the concept for today’s post from this entry by Miss Julie Anne Ines (aka the Blawgirl), so if you haven’t checked out her segment of the intarwebs yet, please do so now because it’s Good Stuff™ :)

As my fellow Legal Eagles and I enjoy the agonizing wait for our grades — one section got their Contracts grades back; that section was not mine :mad: — it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve gone down the road to lawyerhood (attorneydom? JDness?).

So to illustrate the point, here’s a quantitative look at the semester :D


Number of pages read in Civil Procedure with MDG:


Number of pages read in Torts with Professor Torts:


Number of pages read in Contracts with Professor Ks:


Number of pages read in Property with the Traveling Professor:


Number of useless writing assignments in Legal Reasoning & Analysis:


Number of supplements consulted:
4 (an Emanuel’s for each class)


Number of visits to the law library since orientation:
-0- (see next item)


Number of searches on Lexis-Nexis:


Number of Lexis-Nexis Points earned:


Number of times overheard swearing in class at WestLaw/TWEN’s poor website coding:


Number of days waiting for grades:
12, and counting…


Imagine where we’ll be 5 more semesters from now :)

Have a great night folks!! :D

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Law school: 6.82% finished!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 2, 2009 in The 1L Life

The Property I final exam is in the bag :D

I left the law school feeling like I did yesterday — not sure how to feel about it. There were about a dozen questions (out of 60) that I highlighted to re-review since I wasn’t certain on the answers. Then the essay question was on adverse possession… of chattel. Also known as the one @#$%ing topic I didn’t study thoroughly because I figured (foolishly) there was no conceivable way The Traveling Professor1 could find enough issues to raise to justify picking that particular topic for an essay worth 40% of the final exam, especially when we covered adverse possession (of property) on the midterm.2

And of course after the exam everyone started chattering about the questions and the essay while we’re all waiting for the ExamSoft printouts, which made me question my answers even more, which made me do a mini-freakout in my mind since this was likely my easiest exam :beatup:

For the record, I agree with Mariel on Fight Club :P

The upside is that TTP follows the “self-curving exam” model mentioned at Fearfully Optimistic, and I knew enough of the easy and average questions that I already know I passed with at least a C. Add that in with the midterm performance and I’m looking at a minimum B- for the course — which is far better than my undergraduate GPA and, therefore, good enough for me ;)

Between Property I now being done and Legal Reasoning & Analysis behind me, that means 6 of 88 credit hours are knocked out… so I’m officially 6.82% done with law school :D

Celebrating tonight by catching up on Facebook activity and watching Law & Order reruns (Jack McCoy is my hero), then starting the Civil Procedure cramming process tomorrow.

Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. TTP for short. The nickname comes from the fact she lives in California, so she flies in Monday morning for MTW classes, then flies out Wednesday afternoon for the weekend. She’s an amazing professor but one of those folks where their soft-spoken nature makes them intimidating. If that makes sense. []
  2. Madame Prosecutor, by contrast, insisted adverse possession of chattel was going to be the essay topic. It agitates the @#$% out of me when she’s right… :mad: []

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Tweet-sized Tuesdays #13

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 24, 2009 in Tweet-sized Tuesdays

LRA == done. That is all.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Almost there…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 12, 2009 in The 1L Life

No real time to write anything tonight — working on my law memo for Legal Reasoning & Analysis, which is our last assignment for the course!

::cue celebratory music::

I hate this class so much…

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Tweet-sized Tuesdays #9

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 27, 2009 in Tweet-sized Tuesdays

PT went well today but another bad grade in LRA killed my buzz. Did well in Ks midterm — should have done better. Exam postmortem tomorrow.

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Thank you blawgers!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 15, 2009 in Randomness

My Legal Reasoning & Analysis class makes me want to gouge my eyes out sometimes. The professors are nice, but what they’re teaching us seems completely and totally pointless (in my admittedly naïve opinion).

So I just wanted to post a big THANK YOU to my fellow blawgers out there — your well-written and routinely updated content has enabled me to procrastinate for about 2 hours now ;)

But alas the break is over, and I’m off to head back to this pointless (and ungraded!) LRA assignment I have to turn in at 8am… :beatup:

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Overanalyzing overanalysis

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 1, 2009 in Drama

I really hate being wrong.

Down in the comments of this entry from a few days ago, I mentioned to idwsj that the law school drama (at least involving me) had pretty much died off.  Evidently I neglected to knock on wood or something because one of my classmates was working hard to rope me in today.

It started shortly after Contracts.  Class itself had me rolling, as we went over cases like Wright v. Newman (266 Ga 519) — affectionately referred to as the Baby Mama Drama case.  I suspect few things can prompt more humorous class discussion among 1Ls :)

Once class was over I headed downstairs to my locker to grab a few books and head home, same routine I’ve followed for weeks now.  A fellow Legal Eagle I’ll just refer to as the Unnamed Gunner1 comes up to me and asks if I’m planning on being at the law building on Saturday since we have midterms next Thursday and Friday.  I tell him I’m not, that I’ll be heading to the Aggie-Eagle Classic2 in Greensboro.

Then comes the crazy:  “Yeah whatever man.  I saw you being the first one to turn in your LRA quiz on Tuesday and then the first one to finish in Torts yesterday.  Do you think you’re better than us or something?”

::cue scratching record sound effect::

I’m not sure if it was the comment itself or the look of “wtf?” that came across my face, but a young lady walking by us promptly choked on her coffee.

Let’s hit the obvious point first — why the hell are you keeping track of when I turn in my assignments? Insecurity? Envy? Inherent stalker tendencies?  You might get better grades if you pay attention to your own work instead of figuring out when I’m done with mine.  Just saying.

Second:  how does someone in law school make the logical leap from finishing an assignment first to feeling superior as a result? Last time I checked, none of us got bonus points for how many seconds were left on the clock when we turned something in.

I’m usually one of the first people done because I refuse to overanalyze the problems.  I’ll read the facts, re-read them again to make sure I understand them, pick an answer and move on.  It’s a strategy that served me well on the SAT in high school, all throughout college, and on the LSAT before coming to law school.  If I sit there and think about the question even more, I’m that much more likely to change my mind and go from having a maybe-correct answer to choosing a definitely-wrong one.

For an example, compare Madame Prosecutor and myself.  Madame Prosecutor is the archetypal “good student” — she has two degrees already, is heavily active in a bunch of stuff, studies hard, and makes good grades.  She’s also 1 of only 2 people I’ve met so far in my life who can successfully make me feel like I haven’t accomplished much in my almost-three decades on God’s earth.3

Madame Prosecutor takes a lot longer to finish her assignments than I do.  So do I feel superior to her because I finish sooner?  Of course not, because (among other reasons) she gets better grades.  But I’m also not going to do any better compared to her by mimicking her.  Would spending more time on a question help me do better?  Not likely.  It would, however, substantially increase my chances of doing worse.

That’s not me thinking I’m superior, it’s me doing what I know works for me academically.  I’d suggest you do the same… preferably without stalking me in the process ;)

Hope all of you had a great Thursday, and enjoy your night! :D

  1. Apparently a friend of the fine upstanding gentleman I was conversing with here []
  2. The rivalry football game between the Aggies of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the Eagles of North Carolina Central University.  Among HBCUs it qualifies as A Big Deal™ :) []
  3. The other being QuietStorm, an intensely competitive young lady I couldn’t beat at anything… so instead of trying to win I just convinced her to date me for 7ish years. []

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