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Quick update on the past week

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 20, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening y’all :)

Sorry for the abrupt disappearance this past week, but the end of the semester brought a flurry of activity that I’m still slogging through. Here’s a quick bulleted update on life:

  • I don’t remember what happened last Monday during the day, but I distinctly recall waking up from my first bona fide law school-related nightmare in awhile :crack: It was next semester and I was at my first CrimLaw tutorial… except I didn’t have my Keynote slides.1 So I decided that, to preoccupy the 1Ls, we’d go around introducing ourselves… except apparently several of the students had issues with each other, so when one girl introduced herself another called her a b*tch, shouting back and forth ensued, and not a single soul was listening as I tried to get them to shut up and pay attention. Then I decided to distract people with index cards, having them write down names and other tidbits about themselves instead of talking… except I couldn’t find any blank index cards. :beatup:  Every time I’d find a pile of them, they were already filled out. Even a mostly-fresh pile of index cards had an occasional filled-out card included, so I was trying to gather enough fresh cards while the room re-descended into chaos. It was a strange, odd, unpleasant dream. That thankfully has a 0% chance of happening next semester or I’ll physically beat someone :angel:
  • Last Tuesday was the first meeting of the NCCU Law 1L trial teams, letting them know roughly what to expect in the now-Kilpatrick-Townsend competition that will take place in January. This is now the 3rd generation of teams to compete so I’m hoping it will be a more-comfortable experience for these 1Ls now that they have both 2Ls and 3Ls available to share their experiences.
  • Right after the team meeting at 1pm was the release date for my Criminal Prosecution Clinic exam, which I spent the next 48 hours grinding through. Not difficult per se, but lengthy and detailed. Impressed that police and prosecutors are able to remember all of these various statutes…
  • Speaking of academics, I’m still not done.2 :beatup:  I’ve still got 2 briefs for Employment Discrimination to finish, and a paper for ConLaw II that hasn’t even substantively been started aside from my prep work for the radio show on my topic. I had long ago accepted the probability of failing both classes given all the other stuff I foolishly piled on my plate. Tack on the fact they’re both electives that I don’t need to graduate, and you have a dangerous recipe of grade-A Motivation Killer™ to at least turn in some kind of work product.
  • Not sure I’ll have time to get around to my usual guesswork “Here’s what I’m hoping to get grade-wise” posts for 3L Fall, so I’m tucking it in here: B+ in Sales, B- in Tax, A in Criminal Prosecution Clinic, D- in both Employment Discrimination and ConLaw II, for a 2.333 semester GPA. Fingers crossed for that or better. Will elaborate if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Part of why I’m not finished academically is because I’ve very successfully sidetracked myself on this going solo idea and exploring the creation of a small practice incubator at the law school. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and researching, put together a proposal complete with financial projections, and have started farming it around among faculty at the school. I even came up with a snazzy acronym for it: the Small Practice Incubator & Collaboration Environment… because a little seasoning makes everything better! ;)
  • I had also already stacked my calendar high with stuff scheduled for last week because I’m habitual about planning ahead, so when the papers didn’t get done on time they’ve got pushed even farther back then they would be otherwise as my focus shifted elsewhere. In addition to the Crim Prosecution exam, spent Wednesday afternoon catching up with a good friend over lunch who I hadn’t seen in ages. Thursday was spent finishing up the exam, turning it in, then skipping the first TYLA trial team meeting to immediately drive down to Raleigh to help with another good friend’s bachelor party.3 Friday was a smidge of work on the papers followed by the wedding rehearsal dinner, Saturday was the wedding, then Sunday was returning the tux to Men’s Wearhouse and finally catching up on life basics like laundry / dishes / vacuuming the disaster that had become my apartment.
  • Yesterday I got a smidge bit more work done, though not before inadvertently crossing paths with MDG in the hallway at school (my Emp Disc professor). I greatly appreciate that he hasn’t reamed me out for my slacker-ness… but it was still awkward exchanging pleasantries knowing I still owed the man two papers.4
  • And voila here we are at today. Behind on academics. Behind schedule on the moot court problem I’m working on.5  Behind schedule on the TYLA problem I’ll also be litigating in February. But otherwise alive, breathing, and determined to make it through the vacation in one piece ;)

That’s it for tonight’s entry. Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the break yourselves! More to come once I get caught up :beatup:

Good night! :D

  1. Which was weird, because I put a lot of time and effort into producing high-quality visuals to go with my rapturous voice… []
  2. No one who knew me at NC State is surprised by that comment, after I somehow spent nearly all of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Christmas breaks working on homework… []
  3. He’s one of my former Student Senators and UNCASG colleagues, marrying another one of my former Student Senators. Having known both of them back when they were freshmen, and now not only being part of their wedding but knowing they’re graduating in May, reminds me (1) how old I am and (2) how blessed I’ve been to cross paths with the people I’ve crossed paths with :spin:   []
  4. A point he gently raised with a side-eye and a “Are you going to have something for me soon?” :beatup: []
  5. Haven’t had time to mention that I made Moot Court beyond a footnote in a previous MPRE entry, but I’ll be participating in Howard Law‘s William Bryant-Luke Charles Moore Invitational in February :)  Briefs due early January so it’ll be a busy break. []

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2 down, 4 to go!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 3, 2011 in NotFail

I made it! :beatup:

For the first time all semester, I got a Tax assignment turned in ahead of deadline with my final uploaded just before 4am this morning.1 Then headed to bed, slept ’til 8am, got up and promptly started studying for my 2pm Sales & Secured Transactions final.

To any 1Ls/2Ls who happen to read this: paying attention in Sales throughout the semester is certifiably A Good Idea™ ;)

Prof. Sales’s exam is intense, reflecting the fact it’s a 4-credit course. 10 questions on classifying collateral, 20 “short” multiple choice questions, 40 “long” multiple choice questions, and 2 essays on Article 2 and Article 9 respectively. By the time you’re done it’s like having an anvil lifted off your chest; it was, hands-down, my hardest exam of my law school career.2

And even though I’ve got no clue how my grade will turn out, I think I actually might have done alright :surprised:

The pre-Halloween weekend I spent catching up on Article 2 was time very well spent, and my Article 9 (mis-)reading helped me not be totally clueless on PMSIs, the Professor’s SCAPP analysis framework, and so on.

Though I did have a brief CivPro II flashback as I made it to the 2 essays with only 30 minutes left, put in 20 minutes on what had to be the quickest almost-thorough analysis I’ve ever done and then barely managed to outline a response on Article 9 :beatup:

No clue how much that’s going to hurt my grade, but I’m hoping I followed my historical pattern and banged out the multiples. Fingers crossed :D

Grabbed dinner and a drink with some fellow 3Ls afterwards, came home to knock out an extra credit assignment for Tax…3 and now I’m off to catch up on sleep ;)

Have a great night y’all!

  1. I didn’t have time to work on the optional draft we were allowed to submit last week so I have no clue if my analysis was right, but my sense of the class is that Tax is not “difficult” per se, just tedious as hell. We’ll see if I’m right when grades come out. []
  2. Though I will say, the material was conveyed in an eminently logical fashion that seemed to “click” with me finally. I stand by my earlier contention that Prof Sales looks like a mad scientist, but to feel even slightly comfortable after only studying for about 4 hours is a testament to the quality of his teaching. Or, if the grade turns out bad, my tendencies to commit academic suicide :beatup: []
  3. 9 out of 10 multiple choice questions right, in 9 minutes and 4 seconds. Kicking myself that the one I missed was because I was too lazy to open my code book… ::facepalm:: []

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Those days when you should have just gone back to bed…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 2, 2011 in Fail

LDOC1 and SBA’s last Presidents’ Roundtable meeting were Wednesday, NCCU Law‘s class-free “Reading Day” was yesterday, and as of today our Fall final exam period has officially started.

So my dishwasher decided to commemorate the event by exploding.2  :crack:

I’ve got a Tax final due tomorrow at 8am that I really needed to finish this afternoon, so I could study for the Sales & Secured Transactions final happening at 2pm. Instead I got to spend time cleaning up nasty water, airing out the apartment, and trying to convince the dog we weren’t getting bombed by fighter jets.

No clue what prompted the breakdown either because I’m not missing any dishes. Reverse serendipity maybe? :beatup:

  1. Last Day of Class for those not familiar with the acronym :) []
  2. It wasn’t a bona fide “boom” explosion so much as the sound you get when you throw a piece of metal into a running high-power motor, complete with fine shards of metal flying all over the place… []

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“I survived Prof Sales, and all I got was this lousy blawg post”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 10, 2011 in The 3L Life

Part of my rationale for spending Halloween weekend trying to un-confuse myself in Sales was in recognition that I’d soon be on deck for questions. Prof Sales uses a straight-forward method for his Socratic selections, snaking row-by-row and plucking two 3Ls at a time for the questions. Tonight was my night.

And clearly I’m still alive :)

I wanted to knock things out of the ballpark tonight, because I’d heard through the grapevine that Prof Sales and MDG discussed my sub-standard academic performance between themselves and (rightfully) expected better from me. So as soon as ConLaw II was over I hunkered down in a cubicle and started steadily reading the UCC…

…only to realize about 5 minutes before class began that I had somehow managed to study the wrong material and nearly gave myself a heart attack. I had read everything before where we started, and read the stuff after where we started, but the stuff actually at where we started either didn’t get read or got forgotten (or a combination of the two) :beatup:

I frantically started speed-reading while my co-counsel for the class was fielding her set of questions, and after bumbling an initial answer or two (or three) once Prof Sales turned to me, I finally hit  a stride and think I got everything else right for the rest of the class.

Now I have to switch gears again and put Sales back on the backburner so I can try to catch up in Tax and Employment Discrimination… :crack:

Is it May 12th yet?

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“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 31, 2011 in The 3L Life

Ugh.

Happy Halloween folks. I decided to dress up as an overextended 3L for the holiday.1 :beatup:

Just kidding — I stuck with my Guy Fawkes mask, but had to forgo the cape this year due to academic obligations; here’s a pic :D

I prefer the cape to the suit, but law school calls...

In all seriousness, I’m drowning in assignments and apologize for not blogging more often. I’ve taken a week’s worth of draft entries and stripped them down to another one of my really-need-to-be-trademarked bulleted lists so the folks who want to know what I’m up to (or an excuse to take a break from work) have something to read ;)

  • On the technical side of law:/dev/null, we’ve added in a new widget that lets users subscribe to the comments of any particular post. Now if you write a comment you can be notified by email if someone replies so you don’t have to go digging through old entries to check.2
  • I’ve also received some suggestions/requests to improve the pagination on old entries. It’s been added to the to-do list, but the CSS for that one will take more effort so it won’t be getting done any time soon (don’t expect the subscription widget to look pretty either :P )
  • At no point since I started writing this blawg two-and-a-quarter years ago have I ever even contemplated saying “f*ck it, I quit”… but today the thought crossed my mind for a couple femtoseconds. The class schedule I arranged was mind-bogglingly stupid in retrospect; my day is spent reading for classes, and my off-days are spent… reading for classes. Taking a quartet of paper-oriented courses (with their attendant components and drafts and etc all due at overlapping times) was equally ill-conceived in light of the reading volume. I’ve missed enough deadlines at this point that it’s almost impossible to keep my GPA above 3.0. Insanely frustrating.
  • Case in point: in Employment Discrimination we were given a fact pattern from which we were to craft a complaint and a client letter. I knew MDG’s late policy only allowed items up to 2 hours late, and I also knew there was -0- chance I was going to be able to comply with the policy. Sure enough I got an F… but only after MDG noted that I otherwise would have had a perfect score3 :mad:
  • There’s also no real outlet for me just to vent, because I inevitably get advice that I’ve either already done (dramatically scaling back SBA involvement), advice I’m simply not willing to entertain (dropping Samson, close friends, or courses), or advice that does nothing at all to actually solve the problem (limiting involvement in trial team… which doesn’t start until January). PSA: If you have a classmate who looks stressed out and needs to b*tch, just let them carry on for a bit. After ranting and raving for a bit we’re usually in much better mental shape. :)
  • Speaking of people with mental issues, last Tuesday a friend of mine posted pictures from NC State‘s GLBTA Center — where someone had spray-painted “Fags burn” and “DIe” [sic] across the door. This type of stuff is (thankfully) a relatively rare occurrence at NCSU, but I have to confess a certain degree of amazement that (1) anyone would feel so morally secure to declare divine judgment upon people they don’t like, and (2) they think destroying property and attempting to intimidate others is an acceptable form of self-expression. Reprehensible, disappointing, and wrong.
  • It’s a historical anomaly that the attack was discovered five years to the day after myself and a pair of other Senators pushed a (successfully adopted) resolution calling for the GLBT Center’s creation through the Student Senate. I remember the floor debate back then focusing on whether or not something like this was needed, or worth students’ fee money. I’d argue the Center being targeted in the manner it was speaks to the majority’s wisdom back then.
  • On a happier note, NCCU Law‘s first-ever “Speed Networking” event was held last Wednesday and was a HUGE success! :spin:  The brainchild of EIC based on an idea she got from the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto back in August, basically SBA / Career Services / Alumni Relations teamed up to bring in 45+ alums for a rapid-fire series of one-on-one meetings with 2Ls and 3Ls.  It was the first time we’ve done anything like it at NCCU and it was awesome. :D
  • Also on the extracurricular front, last week I submitted a brief to our Moot Court Board for their Fall tryouts :beatup:  After ignoring the appellate stuff for the past 2 years to focus on trial advocacy, I decided to at least give it a try just to see if I’ve got the technical competence for it. Oral arguments will be this Wednesday if anyone wants to come learn about the Eleventh Amendment.
  • Recognizing the huge hole I’ve dug myself academically, I spent my entire weekend trying to catch up on Sales & Secured Transactions. Prof Sales gave us old copies of the 2009 and 2010 exams without the answers; we’ve got until tonight to send in our guesses for feedback. Realistically I won’t be anywhere near done by deadline (which, like MDG, is a bright line cutoff) but at least I don’t feel totally lost anymore.
  • I also penned a letter to the alumni asking them to give back to the law school :)  With the North Carolina General Assembly gutting the University-system budget, and the law school losing $2M in the process ($1 of every $7), we need private support now more than at any time since when the law school was still legally segregated. I’ve announced what’s tentatively being dubbed “The SBA Challenge” where we’ll raise $1 for every alum who contributes. Fingers are crossed for a big response.
  • Oh and did I mention I registered for class for the very last time evah? :D More on that later this week.

There’s been a lot more going on but I’ve gotta snip it here so I can get back to work. Have a great night y’all! :)

  1. Only because Mariel‘s idea of dressing up as a milk carton (“I am the 1%!”) was too much work… :beatup: []
  2. Don’t get me wrong, I love the added traffic — but I’d rather you actually enjoy the time you spend here ;) []
  3. I just realized I still haven’t posted my 2L grades, but basically the same thing happened to me in Scientific Evidence last Spring… []

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[F]ixed [O]r [R]epaired [D]aily

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 11, 2011 in Fail

“The best laid schemes of mice and men,” Robert Burns wrote a couple centuries ago, “go often askew[.]”

That pretty much sums up today :beatup:

One thing I left out of yesterday’s update on life was that I missed AppAd last Monday to get repairs made to my car, a paid-off-but-aging-rapidly Ford Focus that I’ve driven across the State of North Carolina several times over.1 My cursed tire was flat again for reasons unknown so I headed in to the repair shop, got the tire fixed (gratis), and decided to get the usual pre-winter maintenance done as well: oil change, tire rotation and alignment, coolant flush, and so on.

Sure it came out to a few hundred dollars, but I thought to msyelf “At least this car won’t need any more maintenance until Spring semester.”

Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.

:(

So today’s Election Day in the Bull City, I leave the apartment a little earlier than usual with the plan to go vote before class… and notice the car feels funny. When you’ve been driving the same vehicle for nearly a decade, you can just tell when something’s wrong. And sure enough when I get to the next stoplight the battery warning light comes on to tell me something’s awry with the electrical system.

Rather than turning right to go to the polls, I turn left to go to the repair shop again. A few minutes after turning my key over to them I learn that the refurb’d alternator I had installed back in 2008 picked today to stop working :mad:

And unlike my old 1987 Mazda pickup truck (the first vehicle I had), today’s cars are manufactured by machines that cram parts so @#$%ing tight that it’s damn near impossible to service yourself and takes repair shops a few hours to fix things too. My Focus is actually intentionally designed so the only way you can really replace the alternator is by machine-lowering the entire engine block a few inches :roll:   So I’m at the mercy of the repair folks, shell out more $$$, and head on my way 3 hours later.

In time to completely miss both Tax and Employment Discrimination, less than 24 hours after promising Prof Tax I’d be in class on-time and caught-up…

Over the past just-over-a-month I’ve now spent in excess of $1500 on auto repairs:  getting the cursed tire fixed 3x, replacing some part that holds some other belt in place,2 last Monday’s maintenance, and then this stuff today. That not only totally wipes out my savings account that barely endured what is already my most expensive semester of all time, it also erases the $700 I had set aside for my NC bar application due January 1st :(

And just to add insult to injury? I was late getting out of Sales & Secured Transactions tonight so I couldn’t even make it to the polls before they closed, making this the first election I’ve missed since I started voting 12 years ago :beatup:

Needless to say your friendly neighborhood blawger’s in a bitter @#$%ing mood. Heading to bed with the knowledge tomorrow will inevitably be a better day — have a good night y’all! :)

  1. Literally — I’ve driven it to every campus in the 17-institution UNC system at least 2-3 times apiece. :D []
  2. Which just completely fell off while I was driving one day, destroying the belt in the process :mad: []

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Overwhelmed… but I like it (really!)

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

So the whole “look for a whole bunch of posts around mid-week” thing didn’t quite pan out as planned (surprise! :beatup: )

To be totally candid with y’all, I’ve waaaaaayyy overextended myself this semester — even moreso than my senior year at N.C. State1 — and trying to convert my thoughts into words (and proofread them) just takes a big chunk of time that I haven’t been able to set aside like I hoped.

That’s not a complaint; I actually like the insane pace and crushing workload because it prevents me getting bored. I just wanted to make sure you don’t feel like I’ve abandoned you ;)

There’s been a lot going on over the past couple weeks that I can’t really elaborate on at length, so here’s a bulleted list with some quick thoughts:

  • The class schedule I created is unquestionably the single dumbest decision I’ve made in a very, very long time :beatup:  Stacking up nearly all my classes on T/H means I get almost nothing done on those days, then I also fall for the illusory appearance of an empty M/W/F by scheduling meetings and other events when I should be reading for class instead. And there is -0- redeeming value to having Sales at 6pm-7:15pm beyond Prof Sales being highly recommended by the students who came before me.
  • I was reminded by a friend from undergrad that I actually tried a similar T/H-stacked schedule setup my freshman year at N.C. State, with disastrous results…
  • Class performance is all over the map. I’m more-or-less on track in AppAd and ConLaw II, on track but confused in Tax, behind but not confused in Employment Discrimination, not sure where I’m at in Criminal Prosecution Clinic, and completely and totally lost in Sales & Secured Transactions. We don’t get Fall Break this year so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to turn everything around, but I’m hoping now that we’re through appropriations season in SBA I’ll be able to catch up.
  • I feel particularly sheepish about Sales, because Prof Sales has stopped me on at least 3 separate occasions and warned me not to let my extracurricular activities interfere with my academic work… and that’s exactly what’s happened despite my assurances to him that it wouldn’t :oops:
  • Speaking of SBA appropriations, we went from 2pm-midnight last Friday — 5 hours for presentations, 5 for deliberations — and barely finished voting on 9 of 21 groups. Then spent another 7 hours last Sunday before getting through the rest. I’m not sure what other changes SBAs can make to expedite this in the future, but one thing that needs to be done is mirroring NCSU where group presentations happen in the week before the vote instead of a marathon Friday+Sunday session. This year’s challenge was a -40% cut in the funds available for appropriations, from $115,039.83 down to $68,976.22, and unfortunately SBA isn’t likely to get that money back any time soon.
  • On a related note just to vent a bit, just one time I’d really like to preside over a group that has its budget go up while I’m in office. The Student Senate’s first funding increase in a decade kicked in the year after my graduation, my tenure as UNCASG President coincided with the economic meltdown and an ensuing freeze on spending by state agencies, last year as Treasurer we discovered SBA was missing nearly $17K compared to what our predecessors said we had (just before main campus gutted the budget further in January), and my back-of-a-napkin estimate this past weekend suggests I’m currently presiding over the lowest amount of funding the SBA has had since George H.W. Bush was President… and most of our students were too young for elementary school :crack:
  • ♫ One of these things is not like the others... ♫

    While we’re talking about SBA, apparently I’m the oddball of the group :surprised:  As some background, I’m a huge fan of personality assessments to help people learn more about themselves and offer clues on how they can better interact with their colleagues; self-awareness is one of the most-versatile weapons a person will ever have in their arsenal as they go through life. So I took some personal time and went through a trio of them myself2 then asked the SBA to try one we were given during my senior design project in undergrad. I’ve posted the results on the top of the picture at the right (the bottom part contains my 5 “Themes” from StrengthsQuest).  I can’t help but feel like I’m on Sesame Street

  • Oddball status notwithstanding, we make a good team. The dynamic is vastly different from last year but generally we all play to each other’s strengths. Earlier this week I was actually called “the Lil’ Jon of SBA” in light of my hype-man role… which actually suits me just fine ;)
  • Did I mention that last Friday was the first day of near-winter weather we’ve had this season?  And, in true North Carolina fashion, rather than give us any semblance of Fall the temperature simply dropped from lower-80s to upper-50s overnight :mad:
  • And I hate Fall and Winter btw…
  • On the other hand, I absolutely adore my dog! :D  He’s still incredibly well-behaved, hasn’t soiled the apartment at all, deals with me being in class from 8:30am to 7:15pm three nights a week, and is generally just all around awesome. He has his dog quirks — scent hounds don’t particularly care if the temperature’s dropped from lower-80s to upper-50s overnight — but I’ll happily deal with it in exchange for having a happy and loving dog greet me every time I walk into the apartment :spin:
  • Switching gears over to the “real world” for a bit, way back in the halcyon days of 2004 I got myself fired from the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office after writing and signing this letter that got published in the Raleigh News & Observer (on the first day of the NCGOP’s state convention to boot). So imagine my (non-)surprise when the now-Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly approved a referendum seeking to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage, an utterly bizarre proposal that was generating unintended consequences before it was even adopted. Even though I’ve mentioned my own reservations about gay marriage, there’s simply nothing conservative at all about this Amendment One business and the government effectively decreeing to churches what will and will not constitute a valid marriage between consenting adults. It’s particularly galling given its timing alongside the repeal of DADT: the self-proclaimed “most military-friendly state in America” is essentially saying it’s perfectly acceptable for homosexuals to die abroad defending our freedoms, just make sure you don’t bother coming back and trying to claim the same government-bestowed privileges conferred upon the other folks who are married… :crack:
  • The most-irksome aspect of Amendment One, from this ConLaw-loving law student’s standpoint, is the timing of the vote: you’re essentially taking a duly ratified constitution adopted by an overwhelming majority of voters in a general election, and which includes among its provisions guarantees of religious freedom3 and equal protection,4 and seeking to have those clauses invalidated through an amendment in a primary election when the politicians know turnout is always less. Never in the history of this country has a primary for a presidential election year had higher turnout than the ensuing general election. The politicians not only knew that when debating when to schedule Amendment One, they intentionally planned it that way. Absolutely outrageous. This facet alone has prompted me to join NCCU Law‘s chapter of OutLaw and start encouraging friends and colleagues to vote “NO” next May.
  • On the Student Government side of things, UNCASG has returned to its habit of epic fail-ness less than 2 years after my term as President ended. It’s not really my place to opine on that failure since I’ve already had my time in the spotlight and put my successors in as good a position as any successors have ever been in the group’s 39-year history. But if any of the delegates still happen to read law:/dev/null I’ll tell you this: screwing around with the organization’s structure isn’t going to fix anything if you don’t have the cajones to hold the leadership accountable. The N.C. State Technician was kind enough to publish a forum letter I wrote to them on the point. I just hope someone actually listens.
  • We’ll see if the Technician’s counterparts at the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel follow suit, as their oft-ridiculed Editorial Board continued its habit of plucking fabricated figures from the ether to attack UNCASG. One of their latest editorials inexplicably claims UNCASG spent $50,000 for our NC in DC advocacy trip back in 2009, even though the actual figure was an order-of-magnitude less: $4,750, spent for a bus so that the four-dozen participants (who paid 100% of the remaining costs out-of-pocket) didn’t have to take a dozen or more cars and the attendant gas and parking reimbursements that would have had to go with them. I truly have no earthly clue how the DTH Edit Board picked this random total when I sent them a spreadsheet at the end of FY09 listing out every single expense UNCASG made, down to the penny. It’s one thing to embrace nixing UNCASG’s ability to advocate federally during an election year — something I’d wholeheartedly embrace on pragmatic grounds alone — but simply inventing whatever data you want to support your arguments reeks of journalistic impropriety.
  • Over in the blawgosphere, I’ve gone through our entire blogroll surveying the law school blog landscape and it’s not pretty: more than two-dozen blawgs shut down permanently or otherwise moved to triple-tilde status (see my Blawgpocalypse 1.0 entry on how I handle categorizing blawgs), roughly a dozen more moved to double-tilde status, and only a collective handful of new and/or newly updated blawgs to replace them. Of the 183 blawgs on the law:/dev/null blogroll, 72 are defunct — that’s ~39%, compared to ~15% at this point just under a year ago.
  • But on the bright side, law:/dev/null finally hit the 1,000,000-pageview milestone way back on September 6th :D  I know it’s a small thing, and it’s a testament to how crazy life has been that I haven’t even been able to put together a Site Stats entry to analyze it yet, but in light of blawgs wilting like roses in a heat wave I’m incredibly privileged to still have y’all dropping in to see what’s going on in my law school life :) Thank you! :*

If you couldn’t tell from the length of this list, there’s been a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to write about! But I’m gonna wrap it up here so I’ve hopefully got some spare thoughts to pen in the near-term future ;)

Have a great night and an amazing weekend y’all! :D

  1. When I was President of the UNCASG, President of the NCSU Student Senate, policy analyst for a state legislator, and graduating senior in Computer Science… all at the same time :crack: []
  2. My Myers-Briggs/Keirsey test has me back to ENFP (“The Champion”), the first time I’ve turned out the same as something I’ve gotten before. []
  3. N.C. Const. art. I, sec. 13: “All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.” (emphases added) []
  4. N.C. Const. art. I, sec. 19: “No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws[.]” (emphasis added) []

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3

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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2

Reason #17 why I don’t work in IT

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 1, 2011 in Fail

Alternate title: how I almost created a really expensive paperweight :beatup:

After 5 years of dependable service, the Airport card in my original edition MacBook Pro finally started to die a couple weeks ago. It was making life difficult between my networked laptop backups getting corrupted from the sporadically dropping signal1 and having absolutely no internet access at all during classes.2 :(

Determined to make this laptop last until after I’m licensed next year, I took it into Apple for an official diagnosis that the card was dying (it was) and an estimated on repairs (~$100). The cost wasn’t particularly exorbitant but it would have required me to part with my laptop for 3-5 business days — which simply wasn’t going to happen.

Since my laptop has long been out of warranty — and I’ve already hand-upgraded the RAM, hard drive, and CD drive myself — I bought a replacement on eBay and planned to do the upgrade myself.

I’m at NCCU Law about 45 minutes before Sales starts, which should be plenty of time to get the top case removed, the antennas unhooked, the card swapped out, the circuit board tape replaced, and everything back to together again. Leaning over a table with an ice cube tray beside me for sorting the removed screws, I’ve got everything apart and the card out in 15 minutes and the new card put in.

I go to replace the screw in the retaining bracket that holds the wireless card in place…

…and my fat fingers knock the @#$%ing thing off the screwdriver :cry:

I shake the circuit board and don’t see anything fall out. I check the table I’m working on and don’t see it. I crawl around on the floor and can’t find it. I get a broom and sweep the entire region, poring over flecks of dirt bigger than the missing screw, all without success.

And did I mention this particular screw for this particular retaining bracket is required to hold the wifi card in place and re-secure the top case? :mad:

After successfully burning 30 minutes on an unsuccessful screw-hunting expedition and my “laptop” looking like nothing but a circuit board with a monitor attached, I ask EIC to go tell Prof Sales that I’ll be missing class for the 2nd day in a row.3

I then go to the law school’s IT folks and get a magnet-tipped screwdriver4 and also ask if they’ve got a screw of a comparable size and width. After spending another 30 minutes testing various screws from a bad Lenovo ThinkPad, nothing works and what little hair I have left on my head is falling out from the sheer terror that I’ve just torpedoed my efforts at keeping this laptop through law school.

Finally, in near-total desperation, I take the recommendation of a nearby 2LE who suggests using one of the screws elsewhere on the logic board instead. I promptly unfasten one of the screws holding the CD drive in place (since I use that once every 2-3 months at best) and fasten the wireless card, get the keyboard reattached and the top case back on, press the power button — and everything works :surprised:

By the time I’m done, it’s roughly 2 minutes before Sales class ends… whereupon I had to tuck my tail between my legs and go explain to Prof Sales that I had no intention of missing his class.5

The upside is that I’m now able to write this entry from the comfort of my bedroom without losing signal for the first time in weeks — but after nearly having a heart attack over a screw comparable in size to a blood clot, I think I’ll stick with law instead of IT ;)

Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. Not having multiple redundant backups of my files makes me paranoid after seeing what happened to one of my Legal Eagle colleagues and my own personal drama with Gmail here, here, and here… []
  2. Yes, I listed “no wifi in class” as an unmitigated negative — as counterintuitive as it sounds, I actually pay more attention to the material when I know I have the option to not pay attention to the material :crack:  When I’m trapped in a room and forced to listen, I pull out my iPhone and start playing Angry Birds. []
  3. On Tuesday I participated in an interest meeting for SBA elections — clearly my priorities have not improved since undergrad :beatup: []
  4. I know, I know — something I probably should have done in the first place… []
  5. Even though we’re paying to be here, and we’re all adults and professionals, and etc etc etc… every time I have to initiate one of those types of conversations with one of my law school professors I still feel like I’m back in elementary school being called to the principal’s office. []

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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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