1

So much for secrecy

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 17, 2010 in The 1L Life

Welcome to the weekend everybody! :D

This is one of those post drafts I mentioned a couple days ago, the ones that were supposed to be done last week before I randomly disappeared. So this is old news for my colleagues at the N.C. Central University School of Law who happen to stop by, and to y’all I apologize.

But I love being right and just couldn’t resist :beatup:

Regular readers here at law:/dev/null know I’ve got a fairly dismissive view of grade secrecy in law school and the whole “omg we’re all competing with each other!” worldview. I’m candid with all of you about my grades (e.g. here and here and here) even though they’re not that great, simply because (1) it’s a better option than wasting time/energy trying to stay secretive, and (2) everyone knows I’m not a top student so I conveniently get excluded from the law school gossip mill ;)

Every 3.0+ student at NCCU

The folks who preferred the secretive approach found out I was right last week, albeit for totally unexpected reasons.

As part of its mission, N.C. Central University — not just the law school but the whole thing — intentionally serves students who otherwise might not be accepted to college elsewhere. Since it takes a “calculated risk” admitting those students, grade inflation is practically non-existent: the “curve” is set at 2.000 in nearly every course of study, and professors will promptly flunk you if your performance is not acceptable.

So it’s probably no surprise there are some Eagle alums in their first year at Harvard Law School, some current NCCU students scoring in the top percentile of all Praxis-takers statewide, and a massive poster touting every student with a GPA above 3.0 in every department.

Yes, you read that right :)

We have an annual Honors Convocation for everyone in honors range, but what many of the 1Ls didn’t know (myself included) is that the Convocation folks also print massive posters for each of the academic buildings on campus. These posters list out everyone currently at the cum laude (3.0-3.29), magna cum laude (3.3-3.49), and summa cum laude (3.5+) levels.

And that includes the law school.

The good students @ NCCU Law

I can’t accurately convey to you in words a week later how much buzz and consternation and gnashing of teeth this poster caused for the 2-3 weeks it was up :crack:

Some folks were upset their names were listed, others were upset that other people’s names were listed, etc etc etc.

Personally I found it all eminently amusing, no doubt partly because everyone knew my name wasn’t going to be on there… but mostly because a number of people who’ve talked big game about their grades have been exposed as frauds by their absence :roll:

So to any pre-Ls looking forward to attending NCCU Law next Fall, let this be a lesson to you: listen to TDot ;) I won’t steer you wrong :D

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4

Like a mirage in the desert

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 10, 2010 in The 1L Life

That’s how the end of the semester feels right now, like being somewhere smack in the middle of the Sahara or the Gobi or the Mojave, completely out of food and water, crawling on all fours like a TV commercial, heading toward what looks like vegetation on the horizon, only to find when you get there… more sand.

Ugh.

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past week, I’ll explain tomorrow hopefully. Have a great night! :)

 
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Cohesion?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 5, 2010 in The 1L Life

Difficulty trying to remember the rather expansive Federal Rules of Civil Procedure isn’t exactly a new experience for me — I’ve already complained about it this semester and last :beatup:

What is a new experience? The faint flickering of what could (potentially) turn out to be a mental light bulb where everything suddenly makes sense :)

We were going over Lundeen v. Cordner (354 F.2d 401 (1966)) in class earlier today, included in the textbook to illustrate Rule 56 summary judgments… but also including an interpleader as well as an intervention of right.

And when I was reading the case last night I not only noticed both of them but remembered they were from FRCP Rule 22 and Rule 24 respectively :surprised:

Still have a loooooooooong way to go between now and the final exam on May 3rd, but at least now I have hope.

Off to bed, CivPro in the AM. Have a great night everybody! :D

 
2

Fall 2010 Schedule Preview :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 31, 2010 in The 1L Life

Fall semester of your 2L year at the N.C. Central University School of Law is when students get to take their first batch of elective courses.

In general they also end up choosing between two different “tracks” of classes, taking Evidence and Constitutional Law together or taking Business Associations and Federal Income Tax together.1

Classes for 2L Fall

Given my affinity for mock trial, I decided to go the Evidence+ConLaw route so I’m better prepared for competition next year :angel:

That left me with ~3 elective spots to fill in. In an effort to get as many required courses knocked out as early as possible — so I can spend 3L year studying stuff I enjoy — I decided to sign up for both Decedents’ Estates I and Legal Letters.

Honestly, I’m not looking forward to DE. When I worked for the Wake County Clerk’s Office back in 2003/2004, my office was on the 12th floor of the Courthouse on the edge of the Wills & Estates section. It was a very drab and somber atmosphere since it pretty much exclusively deals with… well… dead folks and their stuff. I know it’s an important area of the law but seeing folks in tears while trying to partition a loved one’s property isn’t really my cup of tea :beatup:

Not sure what to think about Legal Letters. From the course description it deals with crafting demand letters, responses and such, which was one of the things I did as a paralegal. Hopefully that means it’ll be easy, but also probably as exciting as watching grass grow :(

So my only “true” elective is Domestic Violence Law. One of the 3Ls I frequently hit up for advice suggested avoiding the class because it gets very intense/emotional. But if I’m going to make a living throwing people in prison, I figure I should start delving into the intense/emotional stuff sooner rather than later.2

Beyond the actual classes I’m taking though, do you know the highlight of this semester? The one perk that outshines all others?

No Friday classes! :D

I’m looking forward to having a 3-day weekend every single week of the year. Haven’t had a class schedule like this in years :)

That’s it from me tonight, have a great evening everybody!! :D

—===—

From the archives –

  1. On an unrelated side note, how sad is it that our tax code is so complex you can teach an entire law course on it? :crack: []
  2. And my preexisting philosophy on people who commit domestic violence is to strap their ass to a chair and flip the switch. I doubt the course will change that. []

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4

Best Week Ever?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 28, 2010 in The 1L Life

Maybe, maybe not — but definitely much improved over the week before :D

  • Sunday: Knocked out my closing argument for NCCU Law‘s annual Mary Wright 1L Closing Argument competition.
  • Monday: Successfully registered for all the Fall 2010 classes I wanted… most of which were completely filled 2 minutes later :crack: 1Ls edged out the 2Ls in the annual Law Week basketball game, winning on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
  • Tuesday: Raised some eyebrows (in a good way) with my no-bullshit candidate speech for SBA Treasurer. 1Ls stomped the 3Ls in the Law Week basketball championship, winning by double digits.
  • Wednesday:  Not entirely sure what happened, but I’m assuming it was good since I don’t remember :beatup:
  • Thursday: SBA Election Day :) Also got to visit some of my Wolfpack family at the candidate forum for N.C. State‘s CALS1  Agri-Life Council.
  • Friday: Celebrated turning not-quite-30 :D Day #1 of the monthly UNCASG meeting went smoothly.
  • Saturday: UNCASG Day #2 not only went smoothly but was incredibly productive too. Enjoyed a post-meeting birthday dinner with about 20 of the delegates+officers (and continued carousing at the hotel afterwards). Also  in mid-celebration get an update on the Law Week Banquet taking place back in the Triangle: got 3rd place in the Mary Wright competition, and also got elected SBA Treasurer :D

Not sure this upcoming week will compare favorably, but at least I’ll have mid-80º temps to look forward to… ;)

Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. College of Agricultural & Life Sciences — the only 1 of NCSU’s 4 largest colleges from which I didn’t have a major or a minor :beatup: []

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5

Alice in Wonderland

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 24, 2010 in The 1L Life

Hey everybody! :D

I mentioned back on Sunday that I participated in NCCU Law‘s annual Mary Wright 1L Closing Argument competition. The videos were posted online today, so I downloaded a copy and threw it on YouTube to share with y’all :)

The student workers who did the recording apparently took a coffee break around the 4min mark — the camera just keeps on panning into the wall, so for the last minute you’ll just have to listen to my voice. Hopefully you can still figure out the theme to the closing ;)

That whole experience showed me how weird it is to watch yourself after giving a speech. At the time I thought I was talking incredibly fast — I finished with 35+ seconds left, even though every time I’d practice I’d only have 3-5 seconds left — but watching it after the fact it doesn’t seem that bad.

If you want to check out the fact pattern for the case, download “People v. Andrew Madison” from this URL at streetlaw.org.

Anyhow, hope y’all enjoy :) I’m off to study for CivPro then to prepare for this weekend’s UNCASG meeting. Have a great night! :D

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“…We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 22, 2010 in The 1L Life

April can’t get here fast enough :beatup:

I’m currently sitting in an auto repair shop, getting even more work done on my only-8-years-old Ford Focus,1 so I figured I’d use the unexpected downtime to finally catch y’all up on some of the events that precipitated my recent absence.

  • We got midterm grades back last week. I’ll have a thorough review of everything some time this week, but until then I’ll just say the results turned out well… except in Contracts… again :cry:
  • Late Wednesday night was spent working on a “pathfinder” for our Legal Research memos — basically a 15ish page document listing possible citation sources among case law, statutes, law journals, etc. Pretty total waste of time but at least it got done.
  • After Thursday classes, I used the evening to piece together my initial closing argument for NCCU Law‘s annual Mary Wright 1L Closing Argument competition, which is basically the big-time end-of-the-year mirror image to November’s Opening Statement competition that was used to pick the highly successful 1L Trial Team.
  • Friday was devoted to stressing out over that aforementioned closing. The competition starts at 6pm, I leave my apartment around 5:00pm to make sure I’ve got plenty of time to make the 20min drive, and what happens? I get a flat tire :beatup: And even though I’m pretty adept at changing tires and making car repairs in general2 I couldn’t get the doggone thing taken off the car — I bought new tires back in the frigidity of December, they were installed by the shop, and with the warm weather basically the rim got stuck to the brake drum. So I had to frantically get in touch with one of the folks from the trial team and hitch a ride to campus.
  • Luckily I made it to the law school in time to still check in and participate, and did well enough to advance to the final round on Sunday. Then worked for another hour or so after to finally get the dead tire off my car and put the donut on :beatup:
  • On Friday I also filed to run for Treasurer of our Student Bar Association.  Clearly I didn’t learn my lesson from last time. Elections are this Thursday so we’ll see how it goes.
  • Saturday was Wii Day — I cleaned up the house, got the tire patched, talked with Madame Prosecutor about law school miscellany, then spent the entire evening/night playing Wii. Probably should have been studying, but damn it felt good to relax.
  • Then yesterday was spent stressing out about the Closing Argument finals,3 then afterwards heading home and starting to study for Monday classes…
  • …at which point I realized I hadn’t figured out my schedule for Fall 2010 :)
  • Then this morning I woke up bright early, successfully registered for 8am classes (I’ll post the schedule later), went to CivPro, talked to Professor Ks about my dismal Contracts midterm, and then went to the auto shop… where I’ve been sitting ever since :beatup:

So yeah, that catches y’all up on the craziness that has been my life for the past few days :) Hope all of you have a great afternoon! :D

  1. “Define ‘even more,’ you ask? I’ll put it to you like this — I’m never buying another Ford unless I’m given a really sweet deal. []
  2. Because, if you couldn’t tell from the opening sentence, my Ford is a piece of mechanical @#$%. []
  3. Made sure to leave 2 hours early this time, just in case I got another flat :beatup: []

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1

This is what law school does to you…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 17, 2010 in The 1L Life

[Quick note: The traffic spikes continue. For the month of March we were averaging ~900 pageviews a day here at law:/dev/null; the average for the past 24 hours has been 2,500+ from ~1,600 unique IP addresses. In case you’re one of those new folks, (1) hi! :D and (2) you’re probably looking for Monday’s entry about those crazy folks over at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Enjoy. -TDot]

Apparently today is St. Patrick’s Day.1

Something I normally remember every year, but quite literally didn’t notice until the middle of Property II around 12pm this afternoon. I blame the insane reading schedule following Spring Break…

Thankfully I had a smidge of green on my shirt so I didn’t get pinched ;)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! :D At least the last 2 hours of it :)

  1. Sorry I don’t have anything more exciting for you, I’m working on a 15-page legal research project that’s still unfinished and due tomorrow :beatup: []

 
4

Plain English FTL

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 16, 2010 in The 1L Life

[Quick note:  Our traffic here at law:/dev/null/ has gone through the roof over the past 24 hours, which I presume comes from folks looking for yesterday’s entry responding to the error-filled fantasyland occupied by two writers of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. If you’re looking for that entry, head to this post instead. -TDot]

For those of you who kept up with my entries covering the 2010 ACC tournament, the N.C. State Wolfpack is playing in the NIT right now against the University of South Florida — meaning not much time for writing an entry :oops:

But I promised yesterday I’d have something law-related though, so I’m going to experiment… with my first video entry!1 :D

This brief missive is on the linguistic complexity of state statutes, and an alternative that might work just as well.

If it takes more than 10 minutes to explain a statute to a room of aspiring lawyers, it’s probably hard for regular citizens to digest too. At least law students aren’t well-versed enough in the law yet to make them so @#$%ing complicated ;)

Here’s the text of the statute I’m talking about — look at §1-15(c):

§ 1‑15.  Statute runs from accrual of action.

(a) Civil actions can only be commenced within the periods  prescribed in this Chapter, after the cause of action has accrued, except where in special cases a different limitation is prescribed by statute.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 654, s. 3.

(c) Except where otherwise provided by statute, a cause of action for malpractice arising out of the performance of or failure to perform professional services shall be deemed to accrue at the time of the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided that whenever there is bodily injury to the  person, economic or monetary loss, or a defect in or damage to property which originates under circumstances making the injury, loss, defect or damage not readily apparent to the claimant at the time of its origin, and the injury, loss, defect or damage is discovered or should reasonably be discovered by the claimant two or more years after the occurrence of the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action, suit must be commenced within one year from the date discovery is made: Provided nothing herein shall be construed to reduce the statute of limitation in any such case below three years. Provided further, that in no event shall an action be commenced more than four years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action: Provided further, that where damages are sought by reason of a foreign object, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect, having been left in the body, a person seeking damages for malpractice may commence an action therefor within one year after discovery thereof as hereinabove provided, but in no event may the action be commenced more than 10 years from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action. 

Ridiculous.

Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. Pardon the shaking, I recorded it with my MacBook Pro on my lap so it moves when I talk :beatup: []

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4

It’s official: I’m going nuts

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 4, 2010 in The 1L Life

Went to bed at ~11:30pm last night, fully expecting to get a solid 6 hours of sleep, wake up, eat breakfast, and have an otherwise relaxed morning en route to my 9am CivPro exam.

Instead I woke up at 2:25am from a nightmare about… midterms :beatup:

I dreamed I had gotten my Property midterm back. Only 14 of 30 points on the multiples and 52 of 70 points on the essay, so a D.

As I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong, several classmates who wrote their essays start arguing about the results and want to file a lawsuit against the Professor for negligently giving the typing students 10 extra minutes to finish.

A few others complained that some of the multiples had typos. An argument ensued over whether they could do a Rule 18 joinder of claims.

Then one guy in the back started talking about interpleading everyone under Rule 22 because he got a 100 and didn’t want to face multiple liabilities if they prevailed.

Then the Professor came in and wanted to implead the proctor under Rule 14, as a student in another section materialized out of nowhere to insist the Code of Student Conduct gave them a Rule 24 right to intervene.

Somewhere around that point I woke up.  w… t… f… :crack:

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