1

Old habits die hard…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 21, 2014 in The After-3L Life

To the extent not doing something can be considered habit-forming, I slipped back into my old habit of not updating law:/dev/null on a regular basis — I wrote a “stub” for a handful of entries, never actually finished them, and now they’re just not nearly as interesting as I thought they were at the time. :beatup:

So rather than an in-depth entry this go-round, I’m gonna go with one of those bullet-point updates I use in situations where I’ve been gone awhile:1

  • A couple weeks ago I agreed to join a classmate at the veterinarian for moral support as she had one of her dogs put to sleep. :( This particular pooch was in horrible shape — cataracts, tumors, seizures, unable to eat, tremendous weight loss — so euthanasia “made sense.” But it still ranks among the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever experienced in my life. Ever. Over the past 33 years I’ve lost pets, I’ve lost friends, I’ve been to funerals; the pain from those losses is real, but totally unrivaled compared to being inches away watching as a living thing takes its last breath. In her case I was horrible as moral support because I’m pretty sure I cried more than she did (and it wasn’t even my dog). Not an experience I want to repeat.
  • That same afternoon I came back to the TGD Law headquarters to resume work, and met my first bona fide batsh*t crazy prospective client. He was referred to me by another lawyer,2 said he had an issue that fell squarely within my realm of expertise, and had $5,000.00 in-hand ready to pay me — until I started asking him questions, his responses threw up red flags, I asked more questions, and got more nonsense. Essentially what he wanted me to do was get myself disbarred trying to use the legal system to pursue a foreclosure-related scam, with nearly a dozen different justifications already debunked in North Carolina appellate law that he heard at some seminar he paid to attend in Florida. It was a horribly awkward consultation, and he was mystified when I told him I couldn’t take his money and then sent him on his way.3 After nearly 2 years in practice I hadn’t met anyone with a truly outlandish claim; he is now officially at the top of the list.
  • Speaking of TGD Law: I convinced two of my NCCU Law classmates to come work for the firm starting this past Monday :eek: Shutterbug is now on board helping with the business law side of the practice, as well as the Class of 2013 President Miss ርእሰብሔር helping with the higher education / criminal defense side.4 It’s slightly nerve-wracking knowing I’ve now got a team of people to look after. We’ve all got complementary strengths, though, so I’m hoping it will lead to greater success for all of us :)
  • That same day, I was walking back to my car after lunch with one of my good friends from my UNCASG days (the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel reporter assigned to cover ASG at the time). As we get near the parking deck we happen to pass two uniformed officers with the Durham Police Department. I say hello as we pass, one of the officers mentions he likes the NCCU Law baseball cap I’m wearing,5 and after a few more paces I hear the same officer shout “Doucette, right?” For an ever-so-brief instant, my mind raced to figure out what I could possibly have done to merit me getting arrested.6 :beatup: Turns out he’s a third-year student in the law school’s evening program who had visited law:/dev/null on occasion and wanted to let me know. Felt pretty cool after the fact but I was definitely nervous beforehand!
  • Even though I’m in my mid-30s, in my mind I’m still somewhere in my mid-20s. Then Q.T. sent me a text earlier tonight to let me know she’s the new Student Government advisor at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics and wants me to do my training program for them in the Fall. And I realized: Son of TDot is now the same age as most NCSSMers :crack: I’ll be training kids who are quite literally young enough to be my own children…
  • I also spent the afternoon helping conduct the character and fitness interviews for the 14th Judicial District Bar :) I don’t think I ever finished the post I meant to write way back in 2012 about my own experience, but it was marginally terrifying at the time — so I thought I’d volunteer in the hopes of making it not terrifying for this year’s batch of applicants. It was a fun experience, plus I got to serve with another lawyer I met for the first time who handles an area of law I will never touch if I can help it (ZombieLaw). I’m looking forward to doing it again next year if they need me.
  • I’ve also got an incredibly important brief due Monday that I haven’t started yet :beatup: So time to close this entry out so I can get to bed and start tomorrow!

That’s the extent of what’s been new and exciting in my life. I hope all of you are doing well, and enjoy the rest of your weekend! :D

  1. Though I’ll note for the record that “gone awhile” this time around was only 2 weeks, which is much better than my average absence last year ;) []
  2. Who I already called an *sshole for sending him to me… []
  3. I’ll admit, my bank account was mystified too :beatup: []
  4. There’s a better-than-half chance I’ve butchered this as a nickname. She’s an Ethiopian-American — even writes a blog on her experiences — so I tried to find the Amharic word for “president” and use that. Hopefully I got it right, but if not someone can correct me :) []
  5. The only downside to summertime for me: potential sunburn on my bald scalp requiring the near-constant wearing of a hat… no matter the temperature. []
  6. My Facebook page tends to have quite a few anti-government posts on it, which inevitably includes a string of anti-police posts as well. []

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8

NC Bar Exam 2012 Postmortem

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 25, 2012 in The After-3L Life

[CORRECTION (07/28/12): Madame Prosecutor informed me that the +$125 extra that computer users get charged is actually the ExamSoft licensing fee, and not extra cash going to the NCBLE as I surmised near the end of the Day 1 rundown. I’ve left the original blog entry as-is for posterity but wanted to ensure the wrong info was corrected. :) ]

***

And that’s a wrap: after 3 years of law school — including extra summer sessions both summers, plus bar prep every day since graduation — I’m officially done with the 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination! :D

It was also apparently an unprecedented clusterf*ck :beatup:

 

DAY 1: “Electricity? You mean, that’s important?”
Things started out pretty well on Tuesday morning. I had taken Samson down to a pet-sitter in Raleigh on Monday night, checked in to a hotel a few minutes away from the test site, and took the evening to relax.1 As I left my room the next morning2 I saw a guy all the way down at the opposite end of the hall getting ready to leave as well.  I hate waiting for the elevator myself, so I decided to hold the elevator for him. He got on, asked if I had any exciting plans for the day, and when I told him I was taking the bar exam he goes “Just remember, there is no failure. The only failure is not doing it.”

It was a random encounter, but good vibes heading over to the test site. :D

When I got to the NC State Fairgrounds around 7:15am there were already hundreds of other test-takers already lined up at various entrances to the Jim Graham Building, sorted by starting letter of everyone’s last name. I wandered around until I saw some NCCU Law classmates and we waited in line for an hour or so as folks eventually got checked in. Most of our professors were there talking with Legal Eagles in the different lines, including The Chief and our new Dean,3 encouraging all of us not to stress out and to do well. :)

After checking in — and getting fussed at because I had inadvertently kept my NCCU Alumni hat on4 — I found my seat near the back side of the Jim Graham Building and waited through nearly an hour of instructions on the documents we were being given, what needed to get filled in where, and all the other oodles of stuff the NCBLE is required to announce to ensure everything is done fairly (even though most of it was in printed material sent to us before we showed up). Then we got to open our essay packets and get to typing.

The essays were split into four parts, with two parts per session (AM and PM). For the morning session we were tested on:5

  • Civil Procedure:  π files a wrongful death suit against a company on the day the SOL expires, then later amends to add that he’s suing as representative of the estate and names two additional ∆s; lawyer for ∆ company opposes arguing they’re futile due to SOL lapse. Which, if any, of the 3 amendments should be allowed?
  • Contracts:  Underage ∆ (claiming he’s 19) enters into referral agreement with temp employment agency π, who gets ∆ a job as a photographer for a child porn syndicate. Can π recover the referral fee ∆ was due to pay?
  • Evidence (2-part):  ∆ charged with second-degree murder following accident while intoxicated says during interrogation “I’m not drunk”; ∆’s lawyer tries to get the statement in during cross-examination of the police officer, and prosecutor follows up by trying to introduce ∆’s prior DWI to prove malice. Which, if either, of these two items should be excluded?
  • Family Law (3-part):  ∆ and wife separate; wife has 1 child not adopted by ∆ from prior marriage, 2 more children with ∆, and doesn’t work because she and ∆ agreed at time 3rd child was born that she’d be a housewife until child starts kindergarten.  Does ∆ owe support for unadopted child, can he force wife to go back to work to support kids, and what of ∆’s various items of income will be used by the court in determining child support?
  • Professional Responsibility (2-part):  Prosecutor loses bond hearing against defense counsel; within minutes he finds a state statute (partially quoted) after returning to his office, then approaches judge ex parte to ask for new hearing under the statute, and gets original bond reinstated. Did he violate the RPC in asking for the new hearing and/or getting the bond reinstated?
  • Property: Easement on parcel of land recorded 75 years ago; BFP acquired parcel with no mention of easement in deed. Can successors in interest of owner of the dominant tenement enforce the easement?

I finished the first set of essays about 45 minutes ahead of time, then we had a break for lunch until 1:45pm. The law school had a particularly tasty selection of deli sandwiches, sweets, fruits, drinks, and so on. It was unexpectedly good, and filling — I’d been expecting something low-budget in light of the state’s budget cuts but was pleasantly surprised. :spin:

After lunch we all filed back into the warehouse for the afternoon session. In that one we were tested on:

  • Criminal Procedure: DV victim consents to search of apartment for abuser boyfriend; officer discovers marijuana in cigar box under the bed and charges DV victim with possession. Should the cigar box contents be suppressed?
  • Torts: π loses medical malpractice case against doctor. What does he need to prove to succeed in a legal malpractice claim against ∆ lawyer?
  • Constitutional Law: Kelo v. City of New London question; city condemns π’s property under eminent domain as part of economic development project getting turned over to private developer. What are π’s odds of successfully enjoining the condemnation?
  • Agency: President of ∆ corporation enters into contract to buy expensive equipment from π, even though bylaws prevented her from doing so, π knew of bylaws restriction, and Board voted to defer all equipment purchases until next year. Is the contract enforceable?
  • ZombieLaw: Pastor owns rental properties as tenants by the entireties with mentally incompetent wife, joint checking account with right of survivorship with one son, life insurance policy naming both sons as beneficiaries, and modest home; son holding durable power of attorney changes life insurance policy to name himself as sole beneficiary; pastor’s will splits estate between both sons; pastor dies with mountains of debt. Who gets what?
  • Secured Transactions: Creditor 1 finances ∆ company in exchange for security interest in all of ∆’s after-acquired personal property; Creditor 2 finances piece of equipment in exchange for Purchase-Money Security Interest, but doesn’t file a UCC-1 until months later; ∆ defaults on both loans. Who has priority over the piece of equipment?

It was in the middle of this second session when things went to hell in a handbasket testing-wise.

You see, this part of North Carolina has a long-standing history of late afternoon summer thunderstorms — even confirmed scientifically by my alma mater NC State and the State Climate Office back in 2001.6 The day starts out great, then around 4pm the clouds form, you have 20 minutes of the worst rain, wind, and lightning that you’ve ever seen, and then the sun’s out again.

Well in the middle of my ZombieLaw essay the power went out the first time. It lasted for about 7 minutes before things came back on, and the proctor announced that everyone would get an extra 7 minutes of time. I’d ensured my MacBook Pro battery was fully charged the night before the exam so I wasn’t phased by the outage and just kept on working.

Then, as I’m a paragraph away from finishing my Secured Transactions essay around 3:30pm, the power goes out again. And stayed off this time :beatup:

I finished my essay and turned in my forms about 5 minutes later, but found out that night that power stayed out for nearly an hour and folks were given an extra 45 minutes to finish; the essay portion that was supposed to end at 5:11pm stretched out until just before 6 o’clock. Bear in mind no electricity also meant no air conditioning — on a summer day, in 90º+ heat, housed in what is essentially the livestock barn for the State Fair each year. :crack:

Maybe it’s just because I was a computer scientist before I was a law student… but contingency plans for a loss of electricity seems like something you’d have for an event like this. I can only imagine the number of threatened lawsuits that are going to crop up when results are released and people who failed the test argue it was/is because of the stressful testing environment.

Did I mention that the NCBLE makes us pay an extra +$125 to use our laptops? Multiplied by the number of laptop users, that’s well over $100K going to the NCBLE just from laptop users alone. Surely they could drop $5K (or more) on a durable industrial generator. :roll:

After leaving the building I continued my non-diet indulgences by getting Zaxby’s for the first time in ages, went back to the hotel and swam for a bit, then did a hundred practice MBE questions while watching television.

 

DAY 2: “What the hell is that sound? And did that rat just piss on your foot?”
Wednesday was the Multistate Bar Exam multiple choice questions, covering ConLaw, CrimLaw/CrimPro, Evidence, Ks, Property, and Torts in two 100-question chunks. Things started around 8:15am and it was as dull and mundane as 100 multiple-choice questions sounds.

I’d been averaging around a minute per question practicing all summer, and did about the same on the exam wrapping up a couple minutes after 10am. The lunch break was absolutely dreadful the second time around because it was so… @#$%ing… long. It was already slated to last two hours, and me finishing an hour early added to it. Most of the time I was debating whether or not I should do more practice multiples, and didn’t eat lunch until the tail end of the break because I was still full from breakfast.

Oh and I forgot to point out there was a rat running around a quadrant of the testing area in the morning session, that staff captured on the lunch break by throwing a trash can over it :beatup: One of my classmates had the misfortune of it running across (and peeing on) her foot.

Things got back under way just after 2pm for the next batch of questions. Throughout most of the afternoon I kept hearing a loud noise outside, wondering if there was another thunderstorm going on — and turns out there was a wood chipper running full blast for hours. :surprised:

I tuned out the noise and kept grinding on the questions, finished about 3:55pm, then picked up the dog and headed home.7

 

So how did it go?
I have no clue :(

On the essays, I thought they were a lot “easier” than I expected. That word’s in quotes because I have -0- clue if I actually got the answers right; it just wasn’t nearly as difficult coming up with words to put on the paper as it had been during bar prep. I know for sure that I railed the Agency, ConLaw, and CrimPro questions, had only a partial clue on the CivPro and Prof Resp questions, and was somewhere in the middle on all the rest. NCCU Law has a supplemental bar prep program called “Invest in Success” that exclusively focuses on the essay portion of the exam and I’m thinking that was instrumental in getting me prepared.

The MBE, on the other hand, was inordinately difficult across the board.

My practice scores jumped, but the MBE was still far more difficult

My scores had improved dramatically on the practice multiples I’d been taking from BarBri so I went into Wednesday expecting it to be a piece of cake. But wow. I could narrow most questions down to two choices fairly quickly but would have no idea which of the two was correct.

Taking everything overall, and the 60-40 split NC uses on the essays-vs-MBE, if I were a gambling man I’d put my odds of passing somewhere around the mid-60% range. I feel OK but not comfortable. And now I have to find a way to put the test out of my mind for five weeks until we get the results…

That’s it from me for tonight y’all! Now that I don’t have class or studying I’m going to try to get law:/dev/null up-to-date (seriously!) and work on getting NC SPICE off the ground. Thanks to all of you for your support the past couple months, and have a great night! :D

  1. Dropped my diet for a 72-hour window by eating McDonalds, then sitting in the bathtub for an hour reading through some essays and collecting my thoughts, then sleeping. []
  2. After indulging on a delicious breakfast from room service :spin: []
  3. I’ll come up with an adequate nickname for her at some time down the road :) []
  4. Trying to make sure my bald scalp didn’t get sunburned! :beatup: []
  5. I’m using the delta symbol and pi symbol for defendant and plaintiff respectively; these should show up regardless of your browser and operating system, but if they don’t let me know and I’ll revert to D and P. []
  6. They suspect it’s because of the geological makeup of the region. []
  7. Didn’t get to celebrate being done though, because Samson puked shortly after dinner which prompted me to take him to the 24-hour emergency vet. :cry: Instead I got home just after 11pm, ate Bojangle’s for dinner, and working on this blog entry. []

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2

TDot’s Tips: “A penny for your [outlines]?”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 15, 2011 in TDot's Tips

In addition to law school Orientation — if you’re a NCCU Law 1L, make sure to  read yesterday’s Orientation entry — this is the time of year where the 2Ls and 3Ls start hitting up everyone they can to accumulate outlines for the upcoming year :beatup:

Starting last year I’ve tried to compile as many of those as I can and bundle them into a ZIP file hosted here on law:/dev/null. If you’re looking for outlines, follow these steps:1

  1. In your browser’s address bar, type in the base URL for this blog; if you came to this specific entry’s page and don’t know the base URL, just click this link to go to the law:/dev/null main page ;)
  2. After the “.com/”, if you’re a 1L you’re going to type in “docs/1LStuff.zip” (without the quotation marks), or “docs/2Land3LStuff.zip” (also without the quotes) if you’re a 2L or 3L.

If you have any trouble with that, send me an email (address at the bottom of our About page) or contact me on Twitter.

Now for some obligatory caveats and 1 contractual obligation on your part:

  • On the contractual obligation side:  in exchange for downloading this file, you’re agreeing to help spread the word to your colleagues at the law school about its existence; I want everyone to have access to the outlines, even if they don’t necessarily take advantage of the opportunity to download them.
  • These files are large, and they come from a lot of different sources so there are some duplicates. If you’re on a Mac, the easiest way to find what you need is to use Spotlight; if you’re on a PC… well… I don’t know how to help you on that one :beatup:
  • Many of these outlines will need updating. The 1L classes introduce new cases, and many of the 2L and 3L classes have either new cases (CrimPro) or new statutes (ZombieLaw) or both.
  • These outlines are for NCCU Law classes, so if you’re one of my non-Legal Eagle readers and download them you probably won’t get much utility from them.
  • Most importantly:  the benefit to briefs and outlines is in creating/editing them, not in getting them from someone else. You’ll still need to read for class, and you’ll still need to study. Don’t come back to me in December crying because you have all these outlines, did no work on your own, and then failed your classes. :*

Hope that helps! I’m heading to bed so I can go help with the first day of 1L Orientation for the Day Program in the morning. Have a great night y’all! :D

—===—

Past TDot’s Tips entries:

  1. Sorry for being so tedious about it, but spambots like to link to file URLs so I’ll end up with folks in Russia or China downloading these over and over again without actually using them if I posted the links directly :mad: []

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2

Law school has made me an extremist…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 24, 2011 in The 3L Life

…at least with respect to my learning style :beatup:

Way back during 1L Orientation in August 2009, all of us were given a survey to help figure out how we best absorbed information — basically imagine a Myers-Briggs test for learning instead of personality.  My results were heavily tilted toward “kinesthetic” learning at 67%, meaning essentially that I learn best by doing something first and then refining it as needed.1  My secondary learning style was visual at 25% (learning by seeing), then down at the bottom I had a smidgen of preference for aural learning at 8%.

Well earlier today was counselor training for NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp that we have each summer for 7th-11th graders, and we were given the exact same test from Orientation.

And I’m now even more out-of-sync with how law school teaches people :crack:

My “learning by doing” preference has climbed to 83%, “learning by seeing” has dropped to 17%, and — you’ll notice those two numbers add up to 100% — my “learning by hearing” has dropped to 0%. So in a nutshell I get pretty much nothing at all out of attending the usual lecture-style classes and am better off teaching things to myself through some kind of interactive method.2

I’m not sure if my law school experience has pushed me in this direction or if I was already headed that way and law school just accelerated the process, but it makes me that much more eager for the May 2012 end of my formal education to get here so I can knock out the bar exam and start really learning stuff…

That’s it from me tonight y’all, have to get up early tomorrow to start studying for this Intellectual Property exam — have a great night! :D

  1. Kinesthetic learners are the types of folks who get furniture from IKEA and just start putting it together without consulting the directions or asking how it’s done.  In the law school context, we prefer things like clinical work (usually) or trial team competitions… basically the exact opposite of traditional law school teaching methods :beatup: []
  2. Which actually explains some of my grades this past year, since my highest grade in the Spring was an A- in the interactive Trial Practice class (even with being held in contempt), and my highest grade in the Fall was an A in the ZombieLaw class I taught myself in the days before the exam. []

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-

The first grade of Fall 2010 is in…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 5, 2011 in NotFail

…and let’s just say I totally kicked ZombieLaw‘s ass :D

I’ll have the usual full rundown when the rest of the grades come in, but the deadline isn’t officially until January 12th so it’s gonna be awhile :beatup:

For now though I’m gonna enjoy in things turning out better than expected :spin:

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1

Halfway done!

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

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

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

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

::happy dance::

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

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

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

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

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

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

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

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

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“I fought the [Zombie] Law and the [Zombie] Law won”…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 6, 2010 in The 2L Life

Ugh.

I’m usually pretty good about gauging how I perform on an exam after I leave the room.  For example, I knew within minutes that I got thoroughly mauled on my Contracts II final.1  Conversely, I figured I knocked the ConLaw midterm out of the ballpark before I left the room.

My impressions of ZombieLaw fall more toward the KII side of the spectrum than the ConLaw side :(

The cover to my class binder. Clearly I wasn't ready...

I’ve spent most of the past 72 hours studying non-stop for this exam. For someone who can’t stand sitting still for any protracted length of time, and who (successfully) finds a million different reasons to avoid doing schoolwork,2 somehow managing to sit still in my living room with the North Carolina General Statutes and the Uniform Probate Code and class notes and outlines and etc etc etc all strewn around me while actually reading them was quite a big accomplishment.  I thought I knew the material reasonably well.

And then I turned to the first page of the exam, and felt like I spent the ensuing 3 hours being repeatedly violated by a few sheets of paper :crack:

The exam was 3 hours long, comprised of 30 multiple choice questions worth 60% and a multi-faceted essay worth 40%.  And just like in the KII final, it took me an exorbitant amount of time just to work my way through the multiple choice — 2.5 hours.

For those of you who are math whizzes, that translates to 83.3% of the exam time spent slogging through 60% of the points…

In the 30 minutes that were left I frantically typed as much as I could conceivably type on the essay topics. There were issues with failed devises from a will, figuring out where the residue goes under the fictional jurisdiction’s anti-lapse statute, testamentary libel, partial revocation by physical act, an attempted holographic codicil, dependent relative revocation, latent ambiguity with a devise, the list goes on and on.

I think I maybe got about two-thirds of those issues covered in some minimally-competent fashion, and there’s no telling how many other issues were there that I missed. It was a mess.

The only potential upside is that most of my colleagues had similar concerns, so either (1) we all did equally bad and I can eke out a passing grade, or (2) the extra time I invested on the multiples will put me in the top echelon of the class and I can ride the curve on the essay to a better-than-passing grade.

Or (3) I really didn’t know wtf I was doing and I end up with a C like I did in KII :beatup:

We’ll see how it turns out :)   Spending tonight and tomorrow studying for Evidence, my last exam of the 2L Fall semester :D Good luck to everyone who still has exams left!

  1. Notice both that entry and this entry start the exact same too. That’s what literary folks call “foreshadowing” ;) []
  2. One of my occasional diversions from ZombieLaw was finding a functioning PSone emulator that I could either run in VMWare on the Mac or boot into Windows and load directly so I could play my old Final Fantasy Tactics game again  :spin: []

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Is law:/dev/null loading any faster?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 5, 2010 in Technology

Hey y’all! :D  My general absence from blogging is going to continue for at least another 72 hours — gotta get through my ZombieLaw exam tomorrow at 9:00am, then Evidence on Wednesday at 2:00pm.

Then after that I will officially be done with my 2L Fall semester… and past the half-way point on my journey to a J.D. :spin:

Although I’m not blogging regularly during finals, I’m still taking an occasional break to tweak the server that hosts law:/dev/null.  So I wanted to get some feedback from you:  is this blog loading any faster than before when you pull up our site?

In addition to some minor code-trimming of the WordPress template we’re using, I also added Google’s mod_pagespeed Apache module.  The only noticeable change that I see on my end is that a big chunk of file requests now show up in my logs as being made by my server itself — I can’t tell if anything is actually loading any faster :beatup:

If you notice a perceptible change one way or the other, let me know :)  I’ll be back here in a few days!

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The final lap (of Fall 2010 at least)

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

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

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

…at least until the Spring semester starts :beatup:

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

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

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

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

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From the people who brought you “hotchpot”…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 16, 2010 in The 2L Life

…we now have “woodshedding” :roll:

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not terribly impressed with some of the word choices attorneys use in various fields like ZombieLaw. But I didn’t expected that I’d have to consult Google reading through the rules of TYLA’s National Trial Competition that I’ll be competing in for NCCU Law next semester :beatup:

Now I’m familiar with the noun form of a woodshed, a shed where (you guessed it!) folks store wood. I’m even familiar with the phrase of taking someone “to the woodshed” or “behind the woodshed” — in both cases, it’s generally used when you’re berating or criticizing someone discreetly outside public view (since woodsheds are typically far from houses in case of fires).

I didn’t realize that there was a verb form of woodshed… or that its verb form actually has nothing at all to do with its meaning in a trial practice context. Apparently the normal meaning of “to woodshed” is to practice a musical instrument.

So what do lawyers mean when they use “woodshed”? Are we talking about musical instruments? Yelling at witnesses in pre-trial meetings? Storing firewood in the corner conference room?

Of course not, that would be too simple :P

Keith Lee of An Associate’s Mind offered me this definition via Twitter, which was basically a less-vulgar edition of the same thing a few other trial attorneys sent to me:

“woodshedding” = prepping witness to testify, with the intent to carefully skirt ethical issues of suggesting testimony, etc.

I don’t even want to know how some presumably-bright attorney decided one day that a completely new and totally unused definition for “woodshed” would be an appropriate colloquialism for witness preparation… :crack:

But I still love the law :D

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