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TDot’s Mailbag v8.0: Post-Bar Exam Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 11, 2012 in Mail

Good evening y’all :)

We’re just shy of the 3-week mark since I took the North Carolina bar exam, and one of the things on my disturbingly long to-do list1 has been re-engaging with all the social media outlets I let wither over the past couple months. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and of course law:/dev/null updates have finally been getting some long-overdue attention.

As I started easing back into the blogging routine, I also realized I haven’t done a TDot’s Mailbag entry in over a year :crack:

So I figured it’s a good time to knock out some of the questions I’ve gotten asked since the bar exam a couple weeks back…

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Q: Olivia2 asks:

When preparing for the bar did you actually use materials from school? I think I’ve managed to keep every paper from every class thinking that I will need to look at it again one day. Now I’m running out of room and I’m trying to throw things out but I’m afraid lol. What were the things you needed? Any advice would be great!

A: Don’t hate me for saying this, but… I didn’t consult a single paper from law school in prepping for the bar exam :surprised:

In terms of what you’ll need, whatever bar prep company you choose will send you oodles of stuff to get you through the exam. You’ll likely get around a dozen textbooks, access to an online database with thousands (!) of sample multiple choice questions, and a string of video lectures re-teaching you the core snippets of law in all the subjects that can be tested.

Many law schools also have supplemental programs of their own, such as NCCU Law‘s Invest in Success program that focuses on the essay portion of the exam.

And honestly, you’ll probably also be surprised / a little weirded out at how much law you’ve remembered over the years. Even though I won’t know if I actually passed the bar exam for another couple weeks, I never had writer’s block while taking it like I worried I would — I read the prompt, realized the area of law getting tested, and could spit out at least something vaguely resembling a coherent rule without much second-guessing.

Now even though your papers might not be any use to you, I’m one of the (apparently few) folks who have kept all my textbooks and found myself referring to several of them during different internships: specifically my Contracts book (bluelining), my CrimLaw and Evidence books (larceny and hearsay respectively), my Employment Discrimination book (Title VII), and my ConLaw book (time/place/manner restrictions on speech).

You could probably find all of the same info in a Google search, but having read through the material in class once already I have a mental image in my mind of where what I’m looking for can be found. Your mileage may vary on that one, but I hope it helps :)

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Q: Savannah asks (after I blew up her Twitter timeline participating in the recent #1LTools tweet-up hosted by the Law School Toolbox):

So is twitter the new gig? I’ve been scouring your blog for info about your 2L classes and profs!

A: Yyyeeeaaahhh that’s not Twitter’s fault, I just did a bad job with blog updates most of 2L/3L year :beatup:

There are a few entries on here under our 2L tag, and for the list of classes I took you can check out this entry on Fall 2010 and this one on Spring 2011.3 Beyond that feel free to send me an email or message over Twitter/Facebook with questions until I get more material posted!

***

Q: Tim asks:

Now that you’re no longer a law student (and hopefully an attorney soon), what’s your plan for the blog? Are you going to keep it? Change the title? Change the focus?

A: We’ll see / Yes / No / Maybe.

I’m definitely planning to keep law:/dev/null live and updated, if for no other reason than it gives me an opportunity to help spread the word about my law school. I know at least a dozen people who applied to NCCU Law because of what they’ve read here — the “Why NCCU Law?” page is still one of the most-visited on the blog — and even though a dozen is a drop in the bucket of what they get each year, every little bit of publicity helps.

Plus it’s kinda cool being on the first page of Google results when people search for the school ;)

The name will also probably stay as it is; even though I’ll hopefully be licensed by the end of the month, we don’t stop being students of the law just because we’ve graduated from law school right?4

As for the plan and focus of the blog, we’ll see what happens. I’ve still got a lengthy backlog of law school-related topics to go through — not just the May and June entries that are half-written, but posts I never got around to writing in the first place (like my 2L/3L grades) — and will probably continue offering my $.02 on law school-related developments in the news. Then there’s the whole wide world of law-outside-of-law-school to comment on, with the occasional update on my dog Samson5 and NC SPICE and various other projects thrown in.

The key, of course, will be whether I find the time to actually keep things up to date :beatup:  But stay tuned!

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Q: Patrick asks:

Where do things stand with SPICE?

A: NC SPICE is still in its start-up phase, so we’re doing a bunch of things simultaneously as we work to get off the ground.

Our first Board of Directors meeting was the Friday before the bar exam where we adopted our bylaws, mission, product matrix, and related items. I’ve fired off grant requests to a couple foundations with more in progress. The NC SPICE Facebook page got fleshed out a bit, I’ve started working on the NC SPICE Twitter account,6 I added a LinkedIn company page, and at some point this coming week I’ll get to work on the main website itself.

One question mark looming over the group is what relationship (if any) we’ll have with NCCU Law. Our new Dean talked about building a traditional incubator “in house” during her search committee interview — which was my original idea for NC SPICE before the Chief told me there was no money to make it happen — so if the administration sees us as competitors it’ll be difficult to build a collaborative partnership. I’m still holding out hope for a consortium-style approach modeled after the Center for Child and Family Health, where you have an independent entity that multiple schools help support. We’ll see what happens on that end in the months ahead.

But until then, I’m still going full steam ahead! :D  Once we’ve got funding we’ll get our first SPICE Center open, and once the website is operational we’ll get the SPICE Rack in place.7

If you or someone you know might be interested in the services that NC SPICE offers, feel free to send an email to info [at] ncspice.org! :)

***

Q: Vanessa asks:

So how does it feel being DONE??

A: Weird. :beatup:

The first few days after the exam, I still kept waking up at the crack of dawn and falling asleep early like I had in the week leading up to the test. Then during the day I spent a lot of time reading the news, Facebook-stalking people, cleaning and re-cleaning the apartment, working out, basically anything that didn’t involve thinking in any capacity. There were a couple times where I almost felt inclined to do some practice multiples just so I’d have something intellectually stimulating. Most of my classmates had left town to relax, my 2L-turned-3L friends typically had summer internships or summer school, and folks from undergrad were like “Oh, you’re finally done? Welcome to the real world I entered 3 years ago”  :roll:

The only real structure to my days are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and taking the dog out at various times in between. The rest of the time gets spent working on NC SPICE, surfing the web, and trying not to think about the bar exam. It’s a very useless feeling that I’ll look forward to ending one way or the other in a couple weeks.

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Q: Alex asks:

T. Greg, you didn’t seem stressed at all during bar prep, and you certainly don’t seem stressed now. What’s your secret?

A: Faking it well ;)  (Kidding!)

A year and a half ago Kaplan asked me to write a piece for their Beyond Hearsay blog, and my first entry was on my experience as a college dropout and subsequently learning that fearing failure stalls success. It’s a personal mantra I force myself to remember whenever I get stressed out.

Now I still had occasional moments where I felt sick from nervousness, especially after some of my initial essay grades during NCCU Law‘s Invest in Success program. And I still made sure to put in the work needed to pass, including sitting through every single mind-numbingly slow lecture and running through well over 1,000+ practice questions.

But if you know you’ve put in the time and effort, what more can you do? Worrying about it just throws you off your game right at the very moment when you need to be focused the most.

That was all pre-exam. Post-exam, there’s really no point in stressing out because you can’t go back and change the test results! Pass or fail, my outcome was predetermined the minute I turned in my papers and there’s nothing else I can do about it. So I’ve turned my attention to doing something useful with my life — which is a great stress reliever in itself :)

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Q: Natalie asks:

You knew I was going to ask this lol: do you have any bar exam study materials?

A: Yes ma’am — I’ll upload them at some point in the next few weeks and we’ll post them alongside the 1L and 2L/3L Outline files  :P

***

That’s it for this entry y’all :) Thanks again to all of you for your continued support of law:/dev/null, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send an email to tdot [at] lawdevnull.com! :D

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From the Mailbag archives:

  • TDot’s Mailbag v8.0: Post-Bar Exam Edition [this post] –
    • What materials did you use for bar prep?
    • Are you bailing on law:/dev/null for Twitter?
    • What are your plans for law:/dev/null post-graduation?
    • Where do things stand with NC SPICE?
    • How does it feel being done with everything?
    • What’s your secret to not being stressed about the bar exam?
    • Do you have any bar exam study materials?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v7.0: Legal Eagle Grading Edition –
    • You made Dean’s List… but grades don’t matter?
    • Why is NCCU Law’s curve so low?
    • What is the rationale for NCCU Law’s dismissal policy?
    • How does the dismissal policy work?
    • What are NCCU Law’s GPA cutoffs for Dean’s List and academic honors?
    • Do you get notified if you made Dean’s List?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v6.0: 1L Questions Edition –
    • Do we really need to study 60 hours a week?
    • My study partners study all day; am I missing something?
    • How time-consuming is being an SBA Representative?
    • Should I use “canned” briefs or create my own?
    • Is law school really just a big head game?
    • What’s the biggest difference between 1L year and 2L year?
    • What made you pursue law after having done computer science?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v5.0: What Law School’s Really Like –
    • Admissions?
    • Bar Exam?
    • The Work?
    • Professors?
    • Electives?
    • Extracurriculars?
    • What would you do differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v4.0 –
    • What really made you dislike BigLaw?
    • Why were 2 of the top 4 teams in the K-S competition from T4s?
    • What happened to Tweet-sized Tuesdays and the Friday Drive-by?
    • How did your CivPro I final exam turn out?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v3.0 –
    • What’s your email address?
    • Do you really send/receive thousands of text messages in a month?
    • How are you adjusting to a historically black university?
    • Are you really a Republican?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v2.0 –
    • Did you have a bunch of study materials for the LSAT?
    • How well did you do on the LSAT?
    • How did you do in your election for 1L SBA Rep?
    • Who is in the Gang of Eight?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v1.0 –
    • What does law:/dev/null mean?
    • Did your entry about That Guy really happen?
    • Did you really count the lights from your apartment to school?
  1. Trying to figure out how to make a living is a lot more involved than studying for law school! :beatup: []
  2. As a FYI for any new folks who’ve found us over the past year, I keep the names on these submissions anonymous (picked at random from the Social Security Administration’s Popular Names database) so feel free to send me an email if you’ve got a question but don’t want to risk having your name in print :) []
  3. The only changes from that class list: I dropped App Ad and re-enrolled 3L Fall, and I ended up with Judge TP as my Trial Practice professor. []
  4. Yes, I realize that’s probably a cheesy explanation. For an alternative reason, I’m just stubborn and don’t want to change the title :P []
  5. I got him a year ago as of this week! :eek: []
  6. Though I fumbled by committing a classic error: following a couple hundred people all at once. To most folks NC SPICE now looks like a spam account, with a disproportionate following:follower ratio and a low tweet count :beatup: []
  7. SPICE Centers are what we’re calling our physical offices in each county, and the SPICE Rack will be an online clearinghouse for attorneys with unused office space for lease/sale — giving new graduates instant access to counties across North Carolina until we’re able to expand out to those areas! :D []

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Shifting gears

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

Hey y’all! :)

This is the first Saturday I’ve been home since January 28th and, aside from Samson seeming confused about why I’m still around, it’s actually felt great being able to sit around the apartment and catch up on the mundane parts of life like laundry and homework and such1 :beatup:

It has also let me shift gears into “soon to be graduated” mode — just 70 days until graduation day! :D — and start wrapping up the last few projects I’ve got left before I have to venture back into the real world.

For better or worse, that includes winding down one of the most successful SBA terms in law school history.  Our elections interest meetings happened on Thursday and filing for office is open now, but before the new folks take over we’ve still got a second Speed Networking event coming up at the end of the month, a completely new format for our annual Law Week Banquet, the last two meetings of the Presidents’ Roundtable group we created back in August, and of course prepping for the actual transition itself.2

Jillian Mack '12 and Travis Ellis '13 with NCCU Law's 2nd consecutive Bronze Key Award

Speaking of SBA, one thing I wanted to mention a couple weeks ago but didn’t have a chance:  apparently NCCU Law has the most ABA members of any law school in the ABA-LSD’s Fourth Circuit :surprised:

Yes, you read that correctly. Not the “biggest percent increase in membership” like we got last year in Williamsburg3 but the largest number of members overall.

Now under normal circumstances I probably wouldn’t make a big deal about it…

…but we’re one of the smaller law schools in the Fourth Circuit. :crack:

Consider as an example:  Charlotte Law, home of the ABA-LSD’s Fourth Circuit Governor, has a 1L class that alone is bigger than all of NCCU Law. And yet somehow we have more people in the ABA than they do.

It blows my mind. For srs.

This is also now the third time EIC has been recognized for her work as our ABA Representative! She was first highlighted as one of the ABA’s Top 9 reps nationwide back in August, and then recognized indirectly in the December 2011 issue of Student Lawyer magazine for the awesome Speed Networking event she envisioned and spearheaded.

Snippet from Student Lawyer magazine on NCCU Law's EIC-created Speed Networking event

Now she’s racked up another honor just two months later. With colleagues like that, no one should wonder why I love my job ;)

I also have to recognize our 2L SBA rep (who I don’t have a nickname for yet) for his willingness to drive to Charlotte for the meeting while EIC and I were both tied up with TYLA obligations. I remember what it was like heading to the Williamsburg meeting last year, and being willing to give up a weekend for this stuff is a much-appreciated sacrifice.

It’s also the first time in NCCU Law history that we’ve had people at every single ABA meeting for an entire year:  the Fourth Circuit meeting in Williamsburg under last year’s SBA, the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, the ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” meeting down in Charleston, the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, and now this year’s Fourth Circuit meeting in Charlotte.

And keep in mind all of this year’s successes — not just the Bronze Key, but the Speed Networking event, the standing-room-only Access to Justice / Civil Gideon panel,4 the packed judicial clerkship forum, the record-setting mentor/mentee program our Vice President reorganized, the list goes on and on — all of it has been done despite a -40% cut to the SBA budget back at the very start of the fiscal year.

To get all this stuff done in a year is groundbreaking in its own right, but to do it on a shoestring budget where we had the least amount of SBA funding since George H.W. Bush was President?

There’s a reason I consider us the best SBA in the country. B-)

Anyhow, enough of me crowing about my colleagues and all the successes they’ve achieved on behalf of the law school :)  I’m working on the second edition of this S.P.I.C.E. proposal and heading to bed soon thereafter.

Thanks for enduring this entry, and have a great night! :D

  1. Including randomly reviewing law:/dev/null stats — turns out Sunday’s entry from Washington DC was our 500th post! []
  2. All while The Chief is getting ready to step down, a search for his successor is ongoing, and the state’s education-gutting General Assembly is coming back to town… []
  3. Something I had planned to write about until my Gmail got nuked:beatup: []
  4. Another EIC production! []

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The Chief announces his retirement

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 8, 2011 in Randomness

After spending the past 7 years at the helm of the North Carolina Central University School of Law, the Chief is stepping down when his 5-year contract expires at the end of this academic year.

From today’s article in the Durham Herald-Sun:

Pierce to leave NCCU law school
By Neil Offen
noffen@heraldsun.com; 419-6646

December 8, 2011

DURHAM — Raymond Pierce, who has lead the N.C. Central University School of Law to increased funding and national prominence, is leaving his post as dean to take a position with a Raleigh law firm.

Pierce, who has been dean at NCCU since 2005, will join Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as a partner at the end of the academic year.

“It has been a great honor and pleasure to have worked with so many outstanding people at NCCU,” said Pierce. “Although I will greatly miss being at the university, I look forward to being at Nelson Mullins and returning to the practice of law.”

Before becoming dean, Pierce was a partner at the firm of Baker Hostetler where he represented clients in the steel, energy, banking and private equity business.

During Pierce’s tenure, the law school has seen increased applications, enrollment and alumni giving. The school twice has been rated No. 1 for best value Law School and has been included in a top 10 list of most popular law schools.

In 2008, Pierce led a successful effort to equalize state funding between the law school at UNC Chapel Hill and NCCU, the state’s only two public law schools. Pierce also has elevated the prominence of the law school by securing visits from dignitaries such as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Lots more info in the Durham Herald-Sun article, so make sure to check it out when you have time.

Many of us have known this was coming since at least August when the Chief all-but-announced the news at the first SBA Presidents’ Roundtable meeting. Even so, it makes me incredibly nervous for the next few years at NCCU Law.

Any time you’ve got a transition of leadership at a public institution it creates a window for slashing budgets and making other changes that established leaders had previously blocked. See, e.g., what’s happened to the consolidated University of North Carolina the instant former University President Erskine Bowles stepped down, with billions (with a ‘B’) slashed from the University budget and multiple 4-figure tuition increases at constituent institutions across the state slated to take effect next academic year.

It’s also commonplace for educational institutions to alternate between more “business”-oriented leaders and more “academic”-oriented leaders. The UNC system is a good example with academic Bill Friday followed by businessman Dick Spangler followed by academic Molly Broad followed by businessman Erskine Bowles followed now by former Davidson College President Tom Ross.

If NCCU Law follows that pattern, we’re likely to get someone academically oriented as our next Dean… and I’m uncertain (at this point at least) if that’ll be a wise decision in a period of budget austerity. Students want someone friendly toward them who will focus on polishing the academic credentials of the school, but money is what helps make all that happen. We need someone who can twist arms at the General Assembly, convince alumni to open their wallets, and make sure tuition stays low so NCCU Law can continue honoring its historical mission to reach out to underserved communities and dominating the cost-conscious sector of legal education in North Carolina.

But that’s just my $.02, and I could be wrong.1 :beatup:

Congratulations to the Chief on his new job! And let’s hope whoever determines his successor doesn’t screw up ;)

Have a great night y’all!

  1. On a completely and totally unrelated side note, this continues the weird pattern of my time in Student Government coinciding with people leaving their jobs :crack:  NC State‘s Chancellor Jim Oblinger stepped down at the end of my time as Student Senate President, UNC-system President Erskine Bowles stepped down at the end of my tenure as UNCASG President, and now the Dean will be stepping down at the end of my tenure as SBA President. Not sure if that’s good or bad timing on my part… []

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Where are the HBCU advocates?

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

Today was Day 2 of the ABA’s 2011 Annual Meeting in Toronto Canada, and in the ABA Law Student Division that meant an opportunity to hear from candidates for a handful of LSD offices about their plans for the future and their responses to questions from us.1

One of the things I teach organizations as part of my T.I.D.E.S. leadership development presentations is that questions are usually the most potent weapon in any leader’s arsenal. So I came prepared with a pair of my own: (1) asking what, specifically, these folks will do to address the embarrassingly low volume of students seeking ABA leadership positions;2 and (2) with the ABA again considering an increase in the minimum bar-passage rates required for reaccreditation of law schools, how would they ensure those reforms don’t disproportionately harm the country’s 6 HBCU-based institutions?3

A couple things stuck out to me in asking that second question: apparently I was the only one interested in bringing it up,4 and almost no one knew anything at all about it.  :surprised:

If you’re not familiar with what the ABA is considering, take a look at this story on Law.com. Here’s a snippet:

ABA Faces Diversity Dilemma With Proposed Change to Law School Standards
The ABA is trying to reconcile the legal profession’s need for greater diversity with its desire to push law schools to better prepare students to pass the bar. For the second time in four years, it is considering raising the minimum bar-passage-rate requirement for law school accreditation.

By Karen Sloan (07-22-2011)

Nearly 70 percent of the entering class at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law was black in 1998. A decade later, that figure hovered at around 30 percent — the lowest percentage among the country’s six historically black law schools.

The catalyst for that shift was a 1999 letter from the American Bar Association urging the school to examine its admissions standards and low first-time bar-passage rates. The school responded by accepting students with higher credentials, but the percentage of black students began to decline as the average Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores rose.

That experience highlights the dilemma now confronting the ABA. The organization is trying to reconcile the legal profession’s need for greater diversity with its desire to push law schools to better prepare students to pass the bar. For the second time in four years, it is considering raising the minimum bar-passage-rate requirement as part of a comprehensive review of law school accreditation standards.

Definitely take some time to read the full article, there’s a lot more in there.

Three initial points I want to make on this:

  • I totally agree with some form of a “bright line” cutoff with bar passage rates and accreditation. While many of those advocating for the cutoff seem to hope it will lead to fewer accredited law schools and (theoretically) fewer new attorneys as a result,5 I’m of the more-economics-oriented belief that the simple existence of the cutoff will incentivize law schools to better serve their students. People respond to incentives, it’s as simple as that.
  • I also agree with The Chief’s quote in that article about other schools having a harder time complying with a heightened cutoff before HBCUs. NCCU Law in particular has enjoyed passage rates well above the state average for most of the past decade, even while joining FAMU Law and SULC in taking in the broadest array of students in the nation. The schools facing the biggest challenge will be those whose business model is based on being a diploma-mill, bringing in thousands of students a year just to get as much federal student aid $$$ as possible.6
  • But, while it’s true other non-HBCU law schools will have a steeper hill to climb, HBCUs will still face an acute challenge because of the timing of this proposal. It comes at a time that could be considered a “perfect” storm” for them: industry complaints of all law schools churning out too many incompetent students with JDs, prompting industry-wide reforms, while the economy has basically imploded with no hope of an immediate recovery. The publicly-funded HBCUs are facing substantial budget cuts7 and an inability to raise tuition at whim, while both public and private HBCUs face a steep drop in the alumni and corporate donations that enable institutions to improve things like their academic support services. Couple that with fewer paying jobs available for their students to raise $$ for bar prep courses while in school — prep courses apparently being the primary method for learning bar material at high-performing law schools — and you’ve got all the ingredients for a cow pie of a proposal.

I’ve gotta head to bed so I can get up for an SBA “Roundtable and Idea-Raiser” in the morning, but wanted to put that issue on the radar for my HBCU-attending colleagues who didn’t know what was coming down the pike.

Have a great night y’all! :D

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From the law:/dev/null ABA Annual Meeting-related archives:

  1. I also took an opportunity to check out a “Hot Topics in Internet Law” CLE class with Ian Ballon and some other panelists, which was amazing and reminded me of my Privacy Technology, Policy & Law class in my last semester at N.C. State. I also got to meet two folks I’ve been talking with on Twitter: Monica Goyal of My Legal Briefcase, and Vanderbilt Law student Amy Sanders (who I serendipitously sat in front of without even realizing it) :D []
  2. Several of the ABA LSD Circuit Governors were either unopposed or chosen after floor nominations because no one filed for office. And the first candidate who responded to my question gave such a non-specific, mealy-mouthed response I couldn’t help but think of offering this in response. :roll: []
  3. For those who haven’t seen the acronym, “HBCU” stands for “Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” The overwhelming bulk of these long-lived institutions are in the Southeast, created as the only means for black students to receive a legal education during the de jure segregation era. See footnote 5 in this entry for some federal case law relating to the UNC system. []
  4. If you think a middle-aged white Republican being SBA President of a HBCU law school is odd enough, imagine that same middle-aged white Republican being the only person to proactively bring up an issue that could affect it and others — despite representatives of other HBCU law schools being in the same room :beatup: []
  5. Not to disparage any of these undoubtedly-kind folks, but I consider that analysis not only too self-interested to be a valid decision-making criterion, but also utterly Pollyanna-ish in assuming the remaining schools wouldn’t simply expand their own enrollments. []
  6. Here’s looking at you, Cooley Law. ;) []
  7. 14% at NCCU for the upcoming 2011-12 academic year, basically meaning $1 of every $7 has now disappeared. :crack: []

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NCCU Law 1Ls: What to Expect at Orientation

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 8, 2010 in The 2L Life

Over the weekend I got an email from one of the long-time readers here at law:/dev/null — and a quick THANK YOU to all of you :* — reminding me that I still haven’t posted the Site Stats for July.

So I was going through the search terms to put that together, and saw “what to expect at nccu law orientation” among them. I figured that needs a bit more than the 1-line treatment I typically give the search queries each month :)

Before giving you my $.02, I need to stress that this is strictly 100% my own recollections and opinions taken from my three entries on Orientation last year. They are not in any way endorsed / vetted / reviewed / affirmed / or any other relevant verb’d by NCCU Law, the Student Bar Association, or anyone else. Your experience will likely be different — and hopefully less embarrassing than mine — so take all of this with the requisite grains of salt ;)

Also, since I’m in the NCCU Law day program these recollections are day program-specific. If you’re in the evening program you’ll go through the same stuff, it’ll just be structured differently.

We’ll start with some preliminaries:

====================
PREREQUISITES
====================

Attire: Last year I came to the first day of Orientation in a suit… and was one of at most a half dozen others to do the same :beatup: This will be the first impression you’ll make on your teachers and future colleagues so you don’t want to dress like a bum, but if you don’t want to do full business attire you can stick with your Sunday best.

Dennis Jansen (a 3L @ UMN Law) has this excellent post on Orientation fashion advice. And if you happen to be a lady, Huma Rashid (a 3L @ John Marshall Law) has an entire category of outfits just for you. Read them both. Trust me ;)

Parking: Not sure if things will be different this year, but last year we had the same places to park during Orientation as we did during the school year: (i) on the strip alongside the law school, (ii) in the Education Building parking lot, (iii) in the parking lot in front of the gym, (iv) the newly-paved lot across from the Criminal Justice building, and (v) a handful of other places you’ll only need if you end up getting to class really really late. Go to the NCCU Campus Map for directions. Plan to arrive early and you’ll be fine parking-wise :)

Sections: You can figure out what section you’re in already by looking at your schedule in Banner, but if you haven’t accessed that yet you’ll know for certain when you check in at Orientation. You’ll be split into your sections for most of the sessions all week.1

Technology: If you have a laptop and you’re planning on using it during the year, bring it with you on the first day. NCCU Law has a laptop loaner program where every 1L has the option to borrow an IBM ThinkPad from the school, but many of us prefer to use our own. Bringing it on Day One will give you a chance to get everything configured for use on the law school’s wifi network.

Timeline: Orientation is pretty much an all-day (or all-evening) thing each day. Plan to show up at 8-9am and plan to stay there until 5pm or later (more on the “or later” part for Day Two below).

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DAY ONE: WELCOME TO NCCU
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The first day of Orientation last year was the really basic nuts and bolts to life at NC Central University.

You’ll check in, hang out in the Fishbowl for a bit (and eat some of the breakfast items sponsored by your Student Bar Association ;) ), then go to the classroom where you’ll spend your 1L year for the rest of the day’s activities.

The day is broken up into 30-45 minute segments on various issues. You’ll get introduced to the Chief (the Dean of the law school) as well as the high-level law school staff. You’ll hear from the Registrar about basic class registration and related items. There will be a Q&A session on financial aid, student loans, and other money-related issues. There will be a segment on your respective learning styles from Dr. Psych. And you’ll hear from the IT folks about how to navigate the various law school facilities available to you.

The really fun stuff happens at the end, when you’ll get your login/passwords for both LexisNexis and WestLaw, putting oodles and oodles of cases at your fingertips for whenever you’re bored. And you’ll be given a tour of the law school — which will hopefully include a trip down to the SBA office to say hi to me :D

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DAY TWO: WELCOME TO LAW SCHOOL
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If Day One were designed to introduce you to NCCU, Day Two introduces you to the NCCU School of Law… and the long hours law school can consume :beatup:

In the morning your CivPro professor will give you an introduction to the legal system. After that you’ll hear a bit more detail about the various law school departments and how they can help you (career services, academic support, and so on).

At some point that day you’ll also get to hear from a panel of students about the rich legacy of NCCU Law, and then have a second law-related session where your Contracts professor will introduce you to briefing cases — and even assigning homework :surprised:

Once that’s done, you basically have a break to knock out the essential stuff you need to do. The Bookstore will have a “mobile store” set up in one of the courtrooms on the ground floor. You’ll be able to buy your parking permit on the 2nd floor. You’ll get your picture taken in the Fishbowl for the law school’s annual student profile thing. Etc etc etc.

Then that night there will be a reception in the Great Hall with NCCU Law alumni, followed by a session on professionalism with those alums and folks from the N.C. Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. The reception and professionalism session combine both the day and evening programs, so it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know your fellow 1Ls from all over the school :)

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DAY THREE: NOW GET TO WORK
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I actually had to skip the last part of Orientation last year because of a conflict with a UNC Board of Governors meeting I had to attend as UNCASG President — so even though I remember what was supposed to take place, this section of the post is also part speculation.

In the morning you’ll have some group discussions on To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the books you were assigned to read over the summer. You’ll also have another session on briefing cases as well — and you still have to turn in that homework even if you skip like I did :beatup:

You’ll also go over the Student Handbook and the Code of Conduct, as well as a session on avoiding plagiarism. And at some point you’ll be given a writing exercise.

The last event for the day will be a second panel with different students on it, that will basically be a Q&A for you to ask any lingering questions that didn’t get addressed during the rest of Orientation.  I’m on that second panel, so if you want to try and stump me feel free to start thinking of your questions now ;)

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TDOT’S ADVICE
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If I had a chance to do Orientation all over again, the only thing I’d change is that I’d be more relaxed.

Before law school several friends used to call me “the oldest and the coldest” in tribute to my unflappable personality (and balding scalp :beatup: ). But for some reason I was ridiculously nervous during Orientation, and I didn’t enjoy myself nearly as much as I should have.

You’re getting ready to start an amazing experience at a truly unique law school, and you’re going to meet people who will be colleagues and friends for years to come. Go in with the mindset to soak in as much information as you can, to meet as many folks as you can, and to enjoy yourself as much as you can — do that and you’ll be in good shape :)

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That’s it from me — if you have any questions between now and Orientation feel free to send me an email! Looking forward to meeting y’all this week! :D

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Orientation-related items from the law:/dev/null archives:

  1. No matter what anyone else tells you, §103 is the best :angel: []

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4

Week 0 Retrospective Part II (or, “Good morning”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 17, 2009 in The 1L Life

First day of real class was today; I’m saving a summary of the experience for later on though, otherwise I’ll never get through this look back on Week 1 :) I did have the ignominious honor of being the first student’s name to leave the lips of my Civil Procedure I professor this morning (thankfully for not adding the TWEN course section in a timely fashion instead of having to brief the main case I didn’t read).

Oh and I successfully got a parking ticket.  Which undoubtedly amuses those of you who knew my less-than-stellar parking habits at NC State.

Before I continue yesterday’s entry, let me know if you find any decent and quick intros to WordPress.  I dived into the whole blogging thing before bothering to learn the software, so I haven’t gotten around to things like tweaking up the CSS for this template or editing the blogroll.  And I’m borderline afraid to touch the “Plugins” section…

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But back to orientation.

I’m sitting in the back of the student lounge, feeling slightly obnoxious being dressed to the nines, and thumbing through the documents I was given at registration.  I glance over the orientation schedule.  Look at a pamphlet from the American Bar Association.  Read up on some of the historical sites in Durham.  And notice one of the first letters in the orientation folder is from a Dr. Psyche, the law school’s psychiatrist.

Not the university’s psychiatrist, the law school‘s psychiatrist…

Dr. Psyche works full time just for the law school, offering a whole array of counseling services (with friend- and spouse-related options jumping out, along with a reference to suicide prevention).  Compounded with the agitating but not exactly law school-specific annoyances I had already dealt with that morning, it was at that point I started to wonder what exactly I was getting myself into.  I guess God sensed my nervousness and mild amusement that suicide prevention is necessary in law school, because mere moments later I’d be lucky enough to experience a faux pas that made me want to shoot myself.

I notice folks are leaving the lounge, and we all headed upstairs to our respective classrooms for the day’s schedule; I had Room 102, where I’ll be for the rest of the semester.  NC Central has a pretty impressive array of technology services in their new law school, courtesy of a multi-million dollar cash infusion by the North Carolina General Assembly after the ABA raised concerns about facilities during its reaccreditation review (and also coinciding with Rep. Mickey Michaux, a NCCU graduate, becoming a co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee).  So my room had a large screen in front, and projected onto it was a live video feed from Room 202 upstairs where everyone would be speaking for the day.

Let me preface this whole experience by noting I have a long history in Student Government and “real world” politics.  One of the favorite rhetorical devices of almost every politician, student or otherwise, is to greet his audience with “Good morning,” receive a tepid response, then say something to the effect of “Let me try that again: good morning!,” at which point people laugh and more of them say “Good morning” in response even louder than before.  It’s such a widely (ab)used tactic that student leaders and political operatives instinctually respond “Good morning” the first time, in the hopes the second time won’t be necessary.

You can probably guess where this is going.

The Chief (Dean of the law school), a charismatic guy who clearly enjoys his position “getting to walk around and ‘be dean-ly'” as he later put it, stands next to the podium in Room 202, looks to the audience of 1Ls before him, and starts:  “Good morning.”  And on instinct, the past 11 years of politics and SG experience goes on full display with an automatic “Good morning” from me in response… even though the Chief’s upstairs, and there’s no microphone turned on in Room 102 for him to hear me.  And I happened to be the only one out of the group of 40 or so 1Ls in my room to say anything.

No sooner do the words leave my lips than I notice the lapse in judgment, right as about 10 of those 40 heads turn back toward me wondering who the ignoramus was trying to talk to the video projection.  A bullet to the brain would have been the only cure for the embarrassment at that moment.  Not sure if I successfully played it off by staring intently at the screen as though no one had said a word; I could feel my cheeks burning, but folks turned back around pretty quick so hopefully they never figured it out.

I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the day.

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That’s it for now, have a few cases to brief for Contracts I and Property I tomorrow.  I’ll pick up with the look back after class.  Have a great night everybody! :)

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