Illiteracy FTL

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 22, 2010 in Fail | Subscribe

A tidbit of advice:  read directions closely :beatup:

Several of my 1L classmates at the N.C. Central University School of Law knew I had been having an absolute dog of a time writing our semester-ending memorandum in Legal Research & Persuasion.  Essentially, all of the miscellaneous assignments we worked on throughout the semester got synthesized into a legal memo to a fictitious court, supporting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a fictitious lawsuit.

We got the assignment about a month ago, and when I read through the instructions I could have sworn they said the memo had to be single-spaced. So I worked on a single-spaced memo over the ensuing weeks.

I ended up hitting a wall after 4.5 pages. With the case law we were required to use, I just couldn’t figure out what else to add without being needlessly loquacious and redundant. But that was actually fine with me: those same instructions said there was no page minimum (the page max was 10) so 4.5 should have been fine.

Then I talked with some of my colleagues who had met with Professor LRP, who apparently told each of them they wouldn’t be able to thoroughly discuss all points of law without using nearly all 10 pages. I had no clue what I was missing… so I spent the past few days staring at this memo at every opportunity, adding a paragraph here, a new argument there, some additional authority I found somewhere else, etc.

Finally, around 4am or so this morning, ((Downing an entire 12pack of Diet Mountain Dew and various other sugary substances in the process to stay awake — trust me when I say that is a certifiably Bad Idea :sick: )) I got to 10 pages. I print out the memo, read through it, ensure all the BlueBook citations are accurate, staple it, then go print out the grade checklist we have to turn in with the memo…

…which I notice very clearly says only subheadings are to be single-spaced :cry:

I figure I’m hallucinating.  “It’s 4am, I’m cracked out on caffeine. There’s no @#$%ing way this is supposed to be double-spaced.” So I go back to the instructions… and sure enough they say the same thing as the checklist.  Where I had paused at 4.5 pages — which would have been around 9 double-spaced and could have been turned in on time — I ended up with a 19-page memo that I had to somehow pare back to the 10-page max.

Long story short, I finally turned in a less-than-stellar memo around 7am this morning at the price of not sleeping at all for the past couple days. All because I misread directions a couple weeks ago.

Just thought I’d share in case any of you can learn a lesson from my illiteracy :beatup: Have a great night everybody! :)

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Tree Hugging 2L
Apr 23, 2010 at 8:50 PM

OMG this makes me want to die on your behalf. Although I suppose writing too much is better than not enough? Bah.

Apr 24, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Maybe, idk. I just know I never want it to happen again :beatup: :)


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