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

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 11, 2014 in Background

I’ve learned after writing this blog for almost 5 years now that I have -0- clue what the future is going to hold.

See, e.g., me thinking I might make it to Marine Corps OCS (nope), or me thinking I might become a prosecutor (negative), or my in-retrospect-absurdly-ambitious plans for NC SPICE (LOL).

So I made sure to eschew making any predictions when I got asked the inevitable question of what I looked forward to in my undergraduate alma mater’s future.1 :beatup:

Here’s the last snippet from the interview, followed by some stuff on my history with traffic tickets:2

Questions in this Clip:

00:00 – What do you look forward to for the future at NC State?

01:46 – Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

03:03 – Outtake: Traffic Tickets

And that’s it! Hopefully over these past 9 entries you’ve got a slightly more detailed view of the man-behind-the-blog.3 :)

Back to law-related stuff in the weeks ahead :D Hope all of you have had a great weekend, and enjoy the upcoming week!

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

  1. Though I did make one small quip about our football team around the 1:31 mark… :angel: []
  2. Mentioned after inadvertently learning the camera hadn’t been cut off yet :beatup: []
  3. Also, I’ve now officially knocked out a third of my New Year’s resolutions ;) []

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TDot’s Tips: Bootstrapping your first law office

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 10, 2012 in TDot's Tips

I meant to post this entry back on Saturday night, but I got side-tracked by watching one of the 3 most-amazing NC State football games I can remember1 — as my alma mater came back from a 0-16 halftime deficit to beat the #3 Florida State Seminoles 17-16, scoring the game-winning touchdown with a mere 0:16 left on the clock (the first time we had the lead all game!) :spin:

Then of course life and the whole “needing to pay rent” thing got in the way, so you’re getting this entry 4 days later :beatup:

Since we’re now more than a full week into the new fiscal quarter, I wanted to share a few equipment-gathering tips for the entrepreneurial crowd in solo and small practice. If you’re like me just starting out — or a 3L heading that way soon — you’ve probably realized the practice of law is awfully damn expensive. And unfortunately you need to make certain expenses now so you don’t risk derailing your practice from the beginning.2

Luckily there are a few things you can do to create a functioning law office without breaking the bank in your first year. Here are four suggestions that can help:

  • Get a high-end laptop as a 3L: It’s not a widely advertised program, but the US Department of Education permits students to get an increase in financial aid once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate/professional student solely for the purchase of a computer and related accessories. If you’re still a 3L reading this, your financial aid office will have the details; to see how my N.C. State does it, check out the bottom of this Scholarships & Financial Aid webpage.3 Use your last year of law school to get something on the high end that will last you through your first few years of practice. Now realistically this means you’ll end up taking out more student loans, and I fully realize no rational person normally takes out a loan on a depreciating asset, but (i) when you start your practice preserving cash will be vital (landlords don’t like credit cards), and (ii) the terms of a student loan are almost always going to be better than the terms of financing the laptop on a credit card or some other form of credit.
  • Use a scanner + laser printer as your copy machine: The costs of a copy machine lease vary depending on where you are in the country, but dropping around $200-$250 per month is a typical expense — around $3,000 a year. The problem is that, in the start of your practice when you have comparatively fewer clients, you’re essentially paying for the machine to go unused.  A less expensive combination is to combine a solid laser printer with a standalone scanner, ideally one with an automatic document feeder (ADF) attachment. It will be a slower option than the copy machine but the cost savings are worth it early on until you’re making a lot of copies. Consider this: a Brother 2270DW (wireless+duplex) costs around $99, an Epson v500 scanner is currently $150, and the ADF costs another $200. That all comes out to $449 — one-sixth the cost of the copy machine lease, with no contracts or other hidden expenses after that initial purchase aside from toner and paper.
  • Government surplus == cheap furniture: I guarantee every single person reading this is within a 30-mile radius of a municipal, state, or federal government agency of some kind. Governments routinely upgrade equipment and furniture with each budget cycle (universities especially), and when the old stuff has to go it typically ends up at a government surplus department somewhere. Find the ones in your state and go do some shopping. Most of the items getting replaced aren’t in mint condition, but they’re still more than adequate. For example, I bought an ugly-but-comfortable office chair that had a broken left arm. Price from government surplus due to the defect? $3. Once I got it home all I had to do was break out my drill and screw it into a slightly different place on the frame to make it as good as new.4 In addition to chairs the surplus folks will also have fleets of desks, file cabinets, and just about anything else you’ll need for an office.
  • Negotiate for free office space: With the economy still in the doldrums, many landlords are sitting on space that hasn’t been leased in a very very long time. Take advantage of that opportunity by pushing the landlord to consider giving you 3-6 months rent-free while you get your practice off the ground. In exchange, you can even offer to help them out with any legal needs they might have. You’re not going to end up with the penthouse suite, but you’d be amazed the quality of office space you can get for pennies with just a little negotiation — and politely reminding them that unoccupied space doesn’t make anyone any money.

Hope those suggestions are useful to at least one of you out there! :) More to come later this week, including another entry in my “I’m a magnet for government incompetence” series ;)

Have a great night y’all! :D

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Past TDot’s Tips entries:

  1. The others being the miraculous 27-point comeback over the University of Maryland last season, and the highlight-reel-worthy plays to beat the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven the year before :D []
  2. CLEs are a key example: if you passed the bar in July, you have until Dec. 31, 2013 to log your hours — but some of the law practice management stuff is essential for new solos. []
  3. I couldn’t find comparable information online for North Carolina Central University, but I used the program myself just by talking to the financial aid folks in person and then providing them a receipt for the purchase. []
  4. I still haven’t actually done that of course, but that’s mostly because I grew accustomed to armless office chairs doing computer science work in undergrad :beatup: []

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I’ve been meme’d! O_o

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trapped

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

“I must be, like, a malfunction magnet.

Because your sh*t keeps malfuntioning around me.”

Some of you might recognize the quote.1 I got to live it earlier today :beatup:

After NC State‘s 3-point loss to Kansas on Friday night and some sleep + work + exploration yesterday, 雅雅 and I did some final roaming around of St. Louis before I headed home to Durham (I’m currently writing this from the massive Hartfield-Jackson Airport in ATL waiting for my connecting flight). I like checking out national monuments so I wanted to visit the Gateway Arch. And when I found out you can go inside to the top, naturally I wanted to do that too.

The experience got old after the first 2 hours… :mad:

If you’ve never visited the Arch, basically there are tiny orb-shaped trams that travel to the top every 10 minutes. You buy a ticket, climb down some stairs, enter the tram and take a roughly 4-minute ride to the top. You then get out, climb up some stairs, and walk into the archway itself where there are small angular windows you can peer out of to get a view of the neighboring area.

Panorama view from the west-facing side of the Gateway Arch

The view is cool — I took plenty of pictures for future panorama-making :D — but it’s also brief (and cramped). Most of the folks who take a tram up take the next tram down 10 minutes later, after jostling and pushing past each other for the length of the archway. Check out this blog entry from Quirky Travel Guy for a run-down of the experience.

And that jostle+push+ride-down-10-minutes-later was our plan. We made our way to the other side, “signed in” for the next tram ride down, directed to go down the stairs to our specific pod number, and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited some more.

After well over an hour went by, an announcement was made that the ground control folks downstairs had decided they wouldn’t be running any trams on either side of the Arch with no explanation as to why :crack:

We were all told to come back up the stairs to what was now an even more-crowded Archway with about 120 people stuffed into it. Then instructed by the Park Ranger to go to the other side of the Arch for the next tram on that side (which would have made us last in line and heading down 2-3 trams later). As we start jostling in that direction and people are clearly getting irate, we’re then told to turn around and go back to the side we were originally on. And told to “sign in” again. And sent back down the stairs for the next tram.

Two hours in the Arch, but another state crossed off the list!

Where we waited for another 45 minutes :beatup:

Luckily I’m not claustrophobic, but standing awkwardly in a cramped stairwell for over two hours isn’t exactly what I envision doing when I think about visiting national monuments. Eventually a tram finally showed up, 雅雅 and I got back onto solid ground, and I decided I won’t be re-visiting the Gateway Arch any time soon ;)

But at least I got to check off another state on my “Have to Visit All 50 Before I Die” list? :spin:

That’s it for tonight, about to board the flight for Durham.2 Have a great night y’all!

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From the law:/dev/null “Excellence in Government” archives:

  1. From one of my Top 10 Favoritest Movies Evah. Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd — you should have noticed that from the title of the blog… ;) []
  2. Where I’ll turn 31 years old at some point mid-flight… :) []

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Greetings from St. Louis!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 24, 2012 in The 3L Life

I miss blogging regularly y’all :beatup:

Sorry I’ve been gone for another half a month, there’s just been SO MUCH going on. Talking with folks at Sallie Mae and working out a solution to the situation I mentioned a few weeks ago. My last Spring Break (ever!) that was almost entirely devoted to creating a business plan for NC SPICE. My alma mater making it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, then advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for only the 2nd time since 1986.1

The list goes on, and it’s long. And I’m somehow still somewhat afloat academically! :crack:

The view from the cheap seats at the Sweet Sixteen

With things going reasonably well — and not knowing for sure if/when NC State will advance in the NCAA Tournament again — I cashed in every single reward point I had on my American Express and booked a flight out to Missouri for the Sweet Sixteen. I got here on Friday just before heading to the game with 雅雅 (which we lost :beatup: ) and then spent today (1) catching up on sleep, (2) grading moot court briefs for the 2Ls trying out for next year’s team, and (3) exploring parts of St. Louis starting with the City Museum.2

Tomorrow I’m planning to head over to the Gateway Arch, and might swing by a casino if time permits just to say I saw one :)

That’s it for tonight’s entry because it’s already late and I’ve still got more work to do. Just wanted to say I miss y’all and I miss following the blawgosphere, talking on Twitter, and all that intellectual stuff — hoping to pick up again some time soon!

Have a great rest of the weekend! :D

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

  1. I was 5 back then. For reference, I turn 31 on Monday… []
  2. AWESOME place! Though mostly designed for kids, it’s a serious workout for adults too. []

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4

Hi! I’m alive, thanks for checking

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 29, 2012 in The 3L Life

Yes, I’m still here :D

When I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was sequestered in my own personalized version of 3L Hell, I wasn’t joking. For most of January my schedule’s followed a pattern: Wake up at 6am, feed/walk dog, bathe, get dressed, go to class then work then trial team practice, come home around 10pm, feed/walk dog, do homework until midnight-ish and go to bed. For a time I had briefly hit the point where I was downing five 20oz bottles of Diet Mt Dew a day and living off Pop-Tarts, animal crackers, multivitamins, and anything else I could eat in the car  :sick:

Which of course didn’t leave much room for updating law:/dev/null :beatup:

I don’t have *too* much time to write tonight, but I miss talking with y’all so here’s a quick bullet list on some of what’s happened since mid-December:

  • Fall semester continued in perpetuity; finally done. With the different extracurricular activities I was engaged in, plus a job on the side, the Fall semester didn’t actually end until a couple weeks ago. I had papers due in Employment Discrimination and another for Constitutional Law II, so I had flashbacks of undergrad and never really got a substantive break during the winter. It was basically a mini-mester trying to clean up what didn’t get finished and spending more hours than I care to admit in the law building.1
  • Wolfpack won the Belk Bowl. But I did take a few hours from the ongoing academic tedium to go with 雅雅 to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, where the NC State Wolfpack dismantled the Louisville Cardinals :D  Didn’t have the time or money to stay overnight like we did for the Champs Bowl last year, but I needed the break and the game was only a few hours away. Watching another win in person was worth the freezing temps and packed stadium :)
  • Most un-Christmas-y Christmas evah. Christmas is my 3rd favorite holiday of the year, following Independence Day at #1 and Thanksgiving at #2… but this year there basically was no Christmas at all :beatup:  With the academic stuff due I couldn’t take the time to go visit anyone (and didn’t have the money for it anyway), but then on top of it I couldn’t even put up my own tree because Samson tried eating the ornaments — the stuffed ones apparently looked like toys worth chewing apart, and the ceramic ones evidently looked like dog treats. So it was easily the most un-Christmas-y Christmas I’d ever “celebrated.” Not sure what the plan will be for next year, but I need to figure something out to stop the dog from destroying things.
  • Samson nearly died before New Year’s. Speaking of Samson, he nearly died right before New Year’s :cry:  He was given one of those big raw pork bones as a Christmas gift, because they’re allegedly great for dogs, but somehow the snippets of bones he managed to chew off clogged up his insides. He wasn’t able to poop and howled in pain when he tried, then woke me up at 4am to go outside and puke. So I freaked out and rushed him to the vet; they took an x-ray and discovered he had backed up fecal matter running nearly the length of his body. They put him in the pet hospital, gave him an enema and an IV and some special food, and a few hundred dollars later he was miserable but alive. Though you can’t tell he nearly died from the way he acts now, as he still tries to eat every damn thing in sight… :mad:
  • Got myself a Christmas present: fixed TV. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in a past entry, but what seems like an eternity ago the bulb in my bought-cheap-on-CraigsList projector television finally burned out so I’ve been working for the past couple months either (i) in dead silence or (ii) with video-less music on in the background. So while Christmas itself wasn’t particularly festive, in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve I decided to give myself a Christmas present and finally fix the burned-out projector in the name of being more productive.2 With bulb costs being what they are for a projector that was/is 5 years old, it was actually cheaper to get a brand new projector with better specs. Money I couldn’t really afford to spend given the mortgage payments I still owe BarBri, but I wasn’t going to be able to make it all the way through to August without a TV :beatup:
  • Finally completed NC Bar application! On January 3rd I finally got my monster-of-a-bar-app mailed off. The North Carolina Board of Law Examiners likes knowing every single thing you’ve ever done in your life since you’ve turned 18 — and, in the case of my last name changing when I was adopted at 3-years-old, the stuff before 18 :crack: — to the point where starting the app back in September wasn’t even early enough for me to get all of it done before the last possible moment. I had to request documents from the Social Security Administration to make sure I listed every single place I’ve ever worked, go rummaging through my Bucket-o’-Files to find residential records from the period right after I dropped out of college,3 go to the Clerk’s Office to find out all the cases I testified in back when I worked as the Clerk’s Office ombudsman down in Wake County, come up with 12 different character references, make three copies of everything, and on and on and on. Then include the $700.00 fee to apply, and set aside another +$125.00 to use my computer on the bar exam.4 But fortunately — it’s all done. So yay. And to anyone even older than me: START NOW or you’ll regret it!
  • 1Ls won Kilpatrick-Townsend competition. I’ve already talked about this one at length so nothing much more to say. I’m just glad it validated my philosophy that people produce a better work product when they’re forced to develop it themselves :) Very proud of these folks!
  • Any guesses on which team is mine?

    Submitted brief for Howard moot court competition. A couple months ago I mentioned making the moot court team, the end result of an ill-conceived experiment to see if I had been avoiding it out of fear the past two years or if I really had the skill to do it if I wanted. I was slated for the Howard Moot Court Competition taking place in Washington D.C. at the end of February. Making the team and getting the Howard brief done both came at a high cost — days spent brief writing and editing, that probably should have been spent on classwork instead — but I’m proud of the end result. Feel free to review the briefs if you get bored and guess which one is ours ;)

  • Got a position with the Durham DA’s office… I also somehow convinced the Durham County District Attorney’s Office to bring me in as an intern :surprised:  First day was about 3ish weeks ago. The sheer volume of work — and the… mmm… unique folks who come through the courthouse (especially in traffic court) — have made it a pretty awesome experience so far. I could definitely see myself working there after graduation.
  • …and won my first case! I’m also officially 1-0 on my “real world” trial record! :D I’m slated to work on Tuesday afternoons, and typically there’s absolutely nothing going on in District Court so I end up working on subpoenas and other administrative stuff. So last Tuesday I decided to be a good little intern and show up to work 15 minutes early, get sent down to misdemeanor criminal court… and get handed two shucks and told “Go interview your officer, you’ve got this next case” :eek:  I had no expectation of trying a case, so I didn’t have any notes, my North Carolina Crimes book, nada. I was so absolutely terrified I quite literally forgot what it was I was supposed to prove in a criminal trial; as I’m out in the hallway going through the shucks trying to ascertain what’s going on, I grab an ADA who helped us with trial team last year and plead for a smidge of guidance. She replies “Well what are your elements for the offense?” and suddenly “DING!” my inner lightbulb finally clicks on. I find the officer, read his police report, get asked by him what he can expect on cross, and somehow came up with a quasi-intelligent and spot-on answer. I don’t think I’m allowed to go into too much detail, but it involved two Defendants (and their respective attorneys) charged with minor-but-serious firearms offenses.5 I went through my direct a bit fast due to the nervousness, but the more opposing counsel objected to a response — or asked something ridiculous on cross-examination6 — the more I got into my zone. Neither Defendant took the stand, and a few closing arguments later they were found guilty and sentenced to active time, a fine, probation, and a prohibition from owning firearms. Not bad for my first go-round :)
  • Rewarded myself with a new laptop. In exchange for getting the DA gig, I “rewarded” myself by finally upgrading my trusty 5-year-old MacBook Pro. The Department of Education enables students to get a one-time financial aid boost once in undergrad and once in graduate/professional school for a computer purchase, and it was hitting the point where I’d need something I could use for the first couple years when I start practicing. So I’ve now gone from an original Core Duo with a self-upgraded 250GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM to a new quad-core i77 with a 750GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM :eek:  Seeing how much the hardware has advanced in the past half decade is crazy. I don’t like some of the changes (e.g. there are new function keys to play/pause/rewind/fast forward, so I have to press the Function key to use Dashboard and such) but overall it’s nice being back on the leading edge of technology for another couple months.
  • Fall grades were a disaster. While everything else was going smoothly, my grades turned out better than anticipated but worse than I wanted (if that makes sense). I’ve now fallen back below a 3.0 for the first time in a year and will have to pull off a miracle to graduate with honors. And in all likelihood I won’t be able to finish the Civil Rights & Constitutional Law concentration I’ve been working on for the past 2.5 years. We’ll see what happens.
  • Debating giving up internship to focus on grades and SPICE. The grade situation has prompted me to reassess what I’m doing this semester, and I’m giving serious consideration to dropping the DA internship and some other activities to free up time to focus on grades and the SPICE proposal. It’s not an ideal situation, especially with the economy, but doing the jack-of-all-trades thing clearly isn’t working. I’ll keep you posted.

That’s it for tonight y’all, thanks for still reading :) Hopefully more posts in the days ahead. Good night!

  1. Including 2 separate occasions where I got thrown out by Public Safety because the building was supposedly closed :beatup: []
  2. I am, for reasons unknown to me, more productive when I have Law & Order reruns on in the background… []
  3. Note to the Board of Law Examiners: homeless people generally don’t have files or records of their homelessness. Nowhere to put our file cabinets and all… ::smh:: []
  4. As a point of comparison, the Marine Corps only wanted 10 years of documents back during my 1L year to make sure I passed the security check, and didn’t charge me for the application. Completing those docs was a cakewalk compared to this. []
  5. City code violations (hence the “minor”), but just about anything involving the discharge of an assault rifle qualifies as serious when it comes to prosecuting people. Especially in Durham. []
  6. “Didn’t my client tell you it was his mother’s assault rifle?” No bullsh*t on that one, that was the actual question! :crack: []
  7. Meaning 8 total virtual processors :surprised: []

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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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Law school: putting the labor in Labor Day

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

I’ve officially concluded that the course load I signed up for this semester was, in fact, insane :crack:

Scarcely two weeks in to my 3L Fall semester at NCCU Law and I’ve already burned an extended weekend getting caught up on reading for classes. I took some time on Saturday to clean up the apartment1 and enjoy some Wolfpack football, but otherwise have been steadily immersed in my Tax and Sales books.

And the sad part is I’m technically not even caught up yet: I wasn’t able to get my Employment Discrimination textbook until this weekend, I’ve saved ConLaw II reading for tomorrow in between classes, and I’ve got Sales practice problems to knock out somewhere along the way.2 :beatup:

But on the upside (and on a totally unrelated note), either today or tomorrow law:/dev/null should hit its 1,000,000th pageview! So I’ll have another Site Stats entry to queue up later in the week :D

That’s it from me, I’m heading to bed so I can get up for the 8:30am Tax class — have a good night y’all! :)

  1. In what has quickly gone from a bi/tri-weekly ritual to a weekly one, solely to keep the results of Samson’s shedding from growing out of control :beatup: []
  2. And that’s not even getting into the fact I’m behind on SBA work, which in light of my recent and not-so-recent history is almost more annoying than being behind academically… []

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Best. Vacation. Evah.

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

Back in July, I took my first bona fide vacation in ages when 雅雅 and I went to visit Nan and Pops for Independence Day and took a roadtrip through the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the way back.

This past week was so much better! :D

First, my employer1 closed down the office on both Thursday and Friday for Christmas. I don’t get paid time off or anything when they’re closed, but it did let me leave out of here on Wednesday night and spend more time with family.

Speaking of family, those of you who were readers back during Father’s Day or who are friends with me on Facebook might recall that it had been an incredibly long time since I last saw Son of TDot.2 Well at some point recently he asked his mom about who I was and if he could see me, so she arranged for the three of us to have lunch on Thursday :surprised:

We met up at the food court of a local mall for what was probably one of the most nervous moments I’ve had ever in my life. It was amusing as I walked up because his mom was standing with her back to the direction I was coming from with Son of TDot facing my way. He saw me from about 75ish feet away and gave a look like “This guy looks oddly familiar”… and I basically gave him the same look, because I thought it was him but hadn’t seen him in so long I wasn’t sure :beatup:

It’s not surprising to share similarities with your own offspring, but some of it still took me by surprise. His hair was cut short like mine3 and he looks a lot like I did when I was 12. We ended up independently ordering the same thing for lunch: a 10-piece chicken nugget meal from McDonald’s with a Sprite for the drink. His favorite subjects in school were the same as mine (science and history). He loves playing with Legos (I’ve still got a box of mine in the closet). He also loves RPGs, specifically Kingdom Hearts — a spinoff of the Final Fantasy series I play myself, so a good chunk of lunch was spent with the two of us talking video games :D

He also has allergies in the winter like I do, to the point where he keeps tissues in his jacket pocket. The look on his face was priceless when I pulled out my own batch of tissues from my coat pocket too :lol:

I know he was nervous and I suspect his mom was nervous (and Lord knows I was nervous too), but all in all it was pretty awesome and I’m hopeful that it was the first meeting of many more in the future :)

The snow that was predicted (top) and what fell (bottom)

The next day was Christmas Eve, which is when the family gathers at Nan and Pops’ house to exchange presents with each other. If you count the various denominations of currency/gift cards as one gift, 50% of my Christmas presents were toothbrushes (an electric one and a travel one). It’s almost like my family was trying to tell me something…

Everyone got along this year, which is a switch from years past when there’s usually a bunch of arguing.4 And I enjoyed being able to finally afford presents for everyone in the family — even if it meant they all got NCCU Law paraphernalia :angel:

Then of course there was Christmas, my 3rd favorite holiday of the year after Independence Day and Thanksgiving :) Dinner was tasty and it was fun getting to hang out with the family.

Y’all already read about Snowmageddon 2010, my road trip back to Durham. The photo on the right shows the difference between what was forecast when I left for Virginia Beach and what had I actually fallen by the time I was driving home.  The red dots respectively show Nan and Pops’ house in Virginia Beach and my apartment here in Durham.

It was a bit of a white-knuckle experience but in hindsight it was pretty cool :D

Our view from the hotel room

雅雅 and I then headed down to Orlando the next morning for the Champs Sports Bowl, where we got totally spoiled by Nan using her frequent traveler points to reserve a hotel room for us at the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando.5 We were automatically upgraded to the “concierge level” on the top floor because of it, which included among other perks a VIP lounge with its own bar just steps from our door B-)

The photo shows part of what I woke up to on Tuesday morning :eek:

In a fitting dose of irony, however, our trip to Orlando happened to be accompanied by near-record low temperatures for Florida :beatup: We had to bundle up as we were exploring downtown, and had to double-bundle up before heading to the stadium.

But I think one of the coolest aspects of the trip (aside from the weather) was being able to connect with dozens of friends from undergrad, all of us in a different city of a different state, traveling from across the country to reunite in support of our alma mater. It was a fun realization :)

Then of course there was the game itself, my very first bowl game that I attended in person :D

My new red NC State hat!

I upgraded my black N.C. State hat that I’ve had since 2000 with a new red edition to help add to the red shading of the arena — which complemented the shading of the post-game crowd after the Wolfpack followed up with a huge 23-7 win! :spin:

It was definitely a lot of driving over the past week, but it was well worth it! It’s been an amazing year, and I’m incredibly blessed to have an opportunity to end it the way I have.

Now I’m recharged and ready for the Spring semester to get underway :)

Hope all of you had equally amazing vacations, and have a fun and festive New Year’s Eve! :D

  1. Do you call them employers for internships? []
  2. 8 years, 5 months, 7 days to be precise. []
  3. Voluntarily in his case, disguising the fact I’m going bald in mine :beatup: []
  4. My family puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” ;) []
  5. She said it was repayment for me winning a trip for 2 to Atlantic City NJ during an elementary school fundraiser when I was in the 5th grade :surprised: []

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2

Home! ::happydance::

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

After a trip up that went a lot faster than the ride down, I’m finally back home in Durham :spin:

Lots to write about tomorrow and over the next few days, including a quick rundown of what has become the most stellar vacation week ever in the history of my life, along with my $.02 on last week’s net “neutrality” vote by the FCC, my New Year’s resolutions, a (finally) updated Site Stats entry, and a bunch of other stuff I’ve got partially drafted but never seem to actually get around to finishing in a timely-enough fashion for y’all to read it :beatup:

Until then, I want y’all to read this entry from Jack Whittington over at World Wide Whit. It’s one of his older pieces but highlights a philosophy he shares along with myself and Keith Lee at An Associate’s Mind — and you’ll be seeing it again and again over the year(s) ahead :)

And then take a non-law-related detour to check out this great highlights video from N.C. State’s 23-7 stomping of WVU in the Champs Bowl yesterday ;) :D

More tomorrow! Good night y’all!

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