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CrimLaw looks like fun

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 12, 2010 in The 1L Life

Just got my CrimLaw book today courtesy of a friend-of-a-friend who happened to be a 2L selling hers for dirt cheap1, and started thumbing through it right before bed.  Looks like interesting stuff, I’m hoping this course will be fun :D

Sorry that’s the extent of today’s musings, gotta head to bed — meeting in Kannapolis @ 9am to hear the Governor talk about education stuff :)  Good night folks!

  1. Note to pre-Ls: find 2Ls early in your academic career and make them your friends. Trust me. []

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A preview of Spring 2010

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 11, 2010 in The 1L Life

First day of classes ended a couple hours ago :) So I’m currently hanging out in the Fishbowl waiting for 1L Trial Team practice to start @ 12pm and then the Client Counseling Competition to start @ 4pm.

My schedule for Spring 2010

NCCU Law schedules the 1L Spring semester so it’s more intense than the Fall.  The number of credit hours only goes up by 1 (from 14 to 15) but we tack on a 6th class — and the difference in workload between a 2-credit class and a 3-credit class is negligible.

But even with the added work, and even though last semester’s grades were an unmitigated disaster (more on those in an upcoming post), I’m cautiously optimistic about how things are going to turn out.

Several of the 2Ls and 3Ls I hit up for advice have favorably compared Professor CrimLaw to MDG: sardonic wit, merciless grader, excellent instructor.  And now that we’ve covered service and jurisdiction in CivPro, MDG will finally be teaching us the nuts and bolts there too; we’re starting with the Erie Doctrine this week, then delving into the complaint and other pleadings.  Plus I’ll have a chance to start fresh in Ks… and hopefully figure out wtf is going on this time :beatup:

Off to practice.  Have a great day everybody! :D

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And it starts (again)

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

Get home late.  Check.

Eat fast food for dinner.  Check.

Read case law until midnight. Check.

An eminently predictable start to 1L year Round 2… :beatup:

Heading to bed, CivPro @ 9am — good night y’all :)

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Getting into competition mode

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 30, 2009 in The 1L Life

Over the Christmas weekend the NCCU Law 1L trial team got a PDF containing the information for the Kilpatrick Stockton 1L mock trial competition taking place in a couple weeks.

Basically a criminal defense lawyer is sleeping with at least 2 women (in addition to being married), one of them ends up dead, and he gets indicted for her murder when his drug addict brother gets busted on possession charges and bargains with police for a reduced sentence, claiming he dumped the body in the Gulf of Mexico on the lawyer brother’s behalf.

Meanwhile the Detective investigating the case provides a receipt as evidence that he saw the defendant and the dead woman in a restaurant, but the receipt shows him downing $50 worth of wine that night. The drug addict brother was once mentally incompetent. And the “other woman” testified at trial that she killed the chick in self defense because both women ended up in the lawyer’s house at the same time when the lawyer wasn’t there.

There’s a bunch more crazy facts to the case, but you get the idea.

I know these scenarios are contrived for teaching purposes, but reading this stuff makes me want to be a litigator. It doesn’t take much time at all to think of the scathing questions to ask if I were prosecuting the case. Or how mercilessly I could destroy the credibility of the state’s witnesses if I were on defense. Etc.

Just 2.5 more years to go… :)

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Enjoying a slow roll down NC186

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 27, 2009 in The 1L Life

My first car was actually a truck, a Wolfpack red 1987 Madza pickup that my father gave me after my freshman year at N.C. State.

Now I love my family, but they don’t know how to maintain technology for the life of ’em — mobile phones, computers, cars, etc — so by the time I got the truck in 1999 it was a beat up mess. But when your previous method of transportation was either on foot or pleading for a ride, you’re thankful for what you can get ;)

The truck radio didn’t work and it didn’t have air conditioning, so driving was a strictly utilitarian pursuit. I got into the habit of speeding to get from Point A to Point B (racking up more than a couple citations in the process) since the driving experience wasn’t terribly enjoyable. Even when I got my current car back in 2002, the idea of driving just for the sake of driving was a relatively foreign concept.

Fast forward to last year, when I took over as President of the UNC Association of Student Governments. One of the goals on my campaign platform was to personally visit all 17 UNC institutions at least 2x apiece during the year, so naturally that meant spending a few dozen hours driving around North Carolina.

And at some point along the way I started to really enjoy it.

Where I once cringed at sitting in silence with a non-functioning radio, I’d actually cut off the CD player and listen to the wind wrap around the car. Where I used to speed to get somewhere, I’d instead set the cruise control at the speed limit and take in the view along the way (unless I was late :beatup:).

That’s particularly true when it comes to visiting my grandparents back in Virginia Beach. Once upon a time I stuck to the Interstate as much as possible since it was the fastest way to get there. Then one day Pops pulled out a map and showed me a path down NC186 that shaved off about 50 miles — it was a little bit slower, but saved gas $$ :)

Satellite image of NC186

The path less traveled: NC186 from Garysburg to Gumberry to Seaboard to Boykins

I use it as my regular route now, and I have to say it’s one of the highlights of traveling home.

In most respects there’s nothing unusual about it at all, it’s very “North Carolina”-esque as far as countrysides go. There are miles of farmland that in parts stretch as far as the eye can see — mostly cotton, but some corn, soybeans, and wheat plots too — broken up by towns with only a few hundred residents. There’s an occasional visual oddity or two, like the lumber mill near the Virginia border or the fire station that doubles as a town hall. Gas stations are rare, and the ones that exist are more likely to accept paper checks than credit or debit cards.

The whole area makes me want to cut off the radio and drive through a few miles under the speed limit.

Even though both Nan and Pops had parents who lived on farms (in Pennsylvania and New York, respectively) I’ve always been a “city boy” who grew up in Virginia Beach and then came to Raleigh. That label got reinforced even more when I majored in Computer Science and then decided I wanted to become a lawyer.

I don’t regret it, because Lord knows I get cranky when I don’t have my internet. But there’s something to be said for the simpler things in life (über-cliché I know. sorry.). Seeing folks who have almost nothing beyond a rundown truck and a trailer putting up wreaths and garlands and celebrating Christmas with family reminds me of when I was a kid, when the internet didn’t exist and my idea of recreation was playing with Legos or running around in the yard. And I’ll be honest: with text messages and Facebook and tweets, I kinda miss going “off the grid” every now and then.

Anyhow, sorry for the rambling. Just got back into Durham today and thought I’d share :) Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and are preparing accordingly for New Year’s Eve! :D

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A Quantitative Look at 1L Fall

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 22, 2009 in The 1L Life

I shamelessly borrowed the concept for today’s post from this entry by Miss Julie Anne Ines (aka the Blawgirl), so if you haven’t checked out her segment of the intarwebs yet, please do so now because it’s Good Stuff™ :)

As my fellow Legal Eagles and I enjoy the agonizing wait for our grades — one section got their Contracts grades back; that section was not mine :mad: — it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve gone down the road to lawyerhood (attorneydom? JDness?).

So to illustrate the point, here’s a quantitative look at the semester :D

—===—

Number of pages read in Civil Procedure with MDG:
~238

—===—

Number of pages read in Torts with Professor Torts:
~360

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Number of pages read in Contracts with Professor Ks:
~439

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Number of pages read in Property with the Traveling Professor:
~187

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Number of useless writing assignments in Legal Reasoning & Analysis:
11

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Number of supplements consulted:
4 (an Emanuel’s for each class)

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Number of visits to the law library since orientation:
-0- (see next item)

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Number of searches on Lexis-Nexis:
212+

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Number of Lexis-Nexis Points earned:
2,630

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Number of times overheard swearing in class at WestLaw/TWEN’s poor website coding:
7+

—===—

Number of days waiting for grades:
12, and counting…

—===—

Imagine where we’ll be 5 more semesters from now :)

Have a great night folks!! :D

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The Waiting Game (Law School Edition)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 20, 2009 in The 1L Life

It’s Sunday. I’m fairly certain no one is working at the law school. And several of my fellow 1Ls (see Really? Law? or Catatonic Storm Clouds) still have exams looming.

And yet I can’t resist the occasional impulse to log in and see if my grades have been posted :beatup:

I know there’s nothing there. Delta the 2L even forewarned me that we probably wouldn’t get grades back until mid-January.

But it’s driving me batshit crazy not knowing how the first semester turned out.  If things went well, I want to know so I can celebrate accordingly (e.g. by getting thoroughly plastered with friends). If things went not-so-well, I want to know so I can wallow in my own self-pity (e.g. by getting thoroughly plastered by myself).

Either way, I see -0- benefit in having to wait until well after the new year. If you were a professor, wouldn’t you want to get the grading knocked out so you could enjoy the next 2-3 weeks without any obligations hanging over your head? And how on Earth do they manage to process grades in only a few days when it comes to notifying graduates that they’ll get to participate in Commencement?

Dear NCCU law faculty: we’ve been done for almost two weeks now. I want my grades plzkkthxu :P

Grrr…

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And… that’s a wrap!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 10, 2009 in The 1L Life

It’s over!

After pummeling that Torts exam like it stole my baby brother’s lunch money, 15.91% of my law school career — also known as the 1L fall semester — is officially done! :D :D :D

I’m off to enjoy a needlessly excessive celebratory dinner (with the requisite intoxicating beverages), finally get around to putting up the Christmas tree, and then… well… I don’t have to think that far ahead from now until January 11th ;)

Have a great night folks, and GOOD LUCK to all the 1Ls who still have exams left!! :)

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Distractions

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 9, 2009 in The 1L Life

I can’t study :beatup:

You’d think being less than 24 hours away from the last exam of the semester (Torts) would have a way of narrowing one’s mental faculties, but I just can’t seem to focus.

The weather’s no help: it’s currently gorgeous outside, about 70º with the sun shining after we’ve spent most of the past week at near-Arctic temperatures accompanied by chronic rain. We’ll be back to that overcast frigidity tomorrow, but for now Mother Nature decided to bless/torment me with a nice day.

But the bigger issue? I’m actually excited about the semester ending :)

You’d have to go all the way back to my sophomore year at N.C. State — December 1999 — to find me in a similarly jovial mood. After I dropped out there was no “Christmas break” from work outside of the couple days around the holiday itself, and when I got back to college in 2005 I spent literally every one of my last few breaks in undergrad stressing out trying to finish a Computer Science project of some fashion or another that I didn’t complete during the semester itself (the professors who read law:/dev/null are currently nodding their heads :beatup: ).

My law school experience was a fresh start, and the clean slate prompted me to work harder so there’s no unfinished academic business. I’ve still got stuff to do over the holiday break, including the ABA Client Counseling Competition and 1L oral argument competition (plus I may take Jansen’s advice and work on the blog design — thoughts?).

But the important thing is that it’s all voluntary stuff I’m doing because I enjoy it, and once it’s over… I basically can occupy my time with whatever I want from then until classes start again on January 11th :D

So yeah, I’m a little excited/distracted as a result.

I’m going to head back to the books and try to focus for another hour or so, then probably take another break :beatup: Have a great day everybody! :D

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Law school: 6.82% finished!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 2, 2009 in The 1L Life

The Property I final exam is in the bag :D

I left the law school feeling like I did yesterday — not sure how to feel about it. There were about a dozen questions (out of 60) that I highlighted to re-review since I wasn’t certain on the answers. Then the essay question was on adverse possession… of chattel. Also known as the one @#$%ing topic I didn’t study thoroughly because I figured (foolishly) there was no conceivable way The Traveling Professor1 could find enough issues to raise to justify picking that particular topic for an essay worth 40% of the final exam, especially when we covered adverse possession (of property) on the midterm.2

And of course after the exam everyone started chattering about the questions and the essay while we’re all waiting for the ExamSoft printouts, which made me question my answers even more, which made me do a mini-freakout in my mind since this was likely my easiest exam :beatup:

For the record, I agree with Mariel on Fight Club :P

The upside is that TTP follows the “self-curving exam” model mentioned at Fearfully Optimistic, and I knew enough of the easy and average questions that I already know I passed with at least a C. Add that in with the midterm performance and I’m looking at a minimum B- for the course — which is far better than my undergraduate GPA and, therefore, good enough for me ;)

Between Property I now being done and Legal Reasoning & Analysis behind me, that means 6 of 88 credit hours are knocked out… so I’m officially 6.82% done with law school :D

Celebrating tonight by catching up on Facebook activity and watching Law & Order reruns (Jack McCoy is my hero), then starting the Civil Procedure cramming process tomorrow.

Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. TTP for short. The nickname comes from the fact she lives in California, so she flies in Monday morning for MTW classes, then flies out Wednesday afternoon for the weekend. She’s an amazing professor but one of those folks where their soft-spoken nature makes them intimidating. If that makes sense. []
  2. Madame Prosecutor, by contrast, insisted adverse possession of chattel was going to be the essay topic. It agitates the @#$% out of me when she’s right… :mad: []

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