2

“I survived Prof Sales, and all I got was this lousy blawg post”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 10, 2011 in The 3L Life

Part of my rationale for spending Halloween weekend trying to un-confuse myself in Sales was in recognition that I’d soon be on deck for questions. Prof Sales uses a straight-forward method for his Socratic selections, snaking row-by-row and plucking two 3Ls at a time for the questions. Tonight was my night.

And clearly I’m still alive :)

I wanted to knock things out of the ballpark tonight, because I’d heard through the grapevine that Prof Sales and MDG discussed my sub-standard academic performance between themselves and (rightfully) expected better from me. So as soon as ConLaw II was over I hunkered down in a cubicle and started steadily reading the UCC…

…only to realize about 5 minutes before class began that I had somehow managed to study the wrong material and nearly gave myself a heart attack. I had read everything before where we started, and read the stuff after where we started, but the stuff actually at where we started either didn’t get read or got forgotten (or a combination of the two) :beatup:

I frantically started speed-reading while my co-counsel for the class was fielding her set of questions, and after bumbling an initial answer or two (or three) once Prof Sales turned to me, I finally hit  a stride and think I got everything else right for the rest of the class.

Now I have to switch gears again and put Sales back on the backburner so I can try to catch up in Tax and Employment Discrimination… :crack:

Is it May 12th yet?

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Getting lost FTL

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 7, 2011 in Fail

I’ve got a Tax assignment due tomorrow morning at 8:00am.

And it won’t be getting done on time, because apparently at some point back around September I was mentally checked out and totally don’t remember anything at all about calculating “adjusted basis” and related stuff :beatup:

I know it seems like law:/dev/null is becoming one big cautionary tale to the NCCU Law 1Ls/2Ls coming after me, but y’all I’m dead serious: when you go to class, GO TO CLASS.

More to come when I can find some time…

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4

That was remarkably unpleasant

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

Let me preface this entry by saying it really has been an excellent day — my NC State Wolfpack dominated (and shut out) the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven on the gridiron today to extend our win streak to 5 consecutive years,1 I got to enjoy a dinner celebrating the 30th anniversary of NCCU Law’s Evening Program, and had an opportunity to catch up with friends before and after.2

Everything you read after this paragraph is not indicative of how everything else turned out.

But d*mn the MPRE was rough! :crack:

I couldn’t come up with a humorous metaphor to throw out as a comparison, though I imagine a swift kick to the shins would be only marginally more painful.

The first mistake I made was not studying more sooner. There’s been so much going on at the law school academically3 and otherwise4 that I just never had time to study much of anything. I watched the 4-hour BarBri lecture video and filled out the corresponding outline, but that ended up being it. No review of the Model Rules. No reading of the review book I got. No multiple choice questions. Nada.

My figuring was that I’ve got a fairly well-developed sense of right and wrong and the rules would be common sense, so I could just wing it and still be OK…

…then I got to the first question on the test and was like “omgwut?” :beatup:

Now there are a few questions that I know 110% for certain I got right.  For example, I paid enough attention in ConLaw to know a state’s attempts to restrict law licenses to its residents only violates the Privileges & Immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. There were others that truly did seem like common sense and I feel comfortable with my answers.

But things like the imputation of conflicts5 and the whole privileged-vs-merely-confidential stuff left me scratching my increasingly bald head.

I was sufficiently clueless that it only took me about an hour and 10 minutes to get through the thing, feeling totally awkward as I ended up being the very first person in the room to turn in the test and leave.

There’s a slim-but-nonzero possibility I won’t have to retake the test in March, but until then all I can do is cross my fingers and pray that I somehow managed to pass.

To any 1Ls/2Ls who happen to read this: don’t repeat my mistakes ;)

Have a good night y’all! :D

  1. I heard through the grapevine they’re going to rename the UNCCH mascot to “Tar Heellllls” — yep, with 5 consecutive L’s :P []
  2. Though I probably should have been studying instead :beatup: []
  3. Four papers to work on now… []
  4. Made Moot Court Board last week! :D []
  5. Can law firm represent Party A in a contract dispute with Party B, when long-since-departed Attorney of law firm negotiated the contract on behalf of Party B, didn’t speak with anyone else at the firm before / during / after, and took all the files with him when he left? I still don’t know for certain :crack: []

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MPRE tomorrow!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 4, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening folks! :D

I promise I’ve got more stuff to write about soon, just haven’t had the time because of academic commitments and then spent tonight studying for the MPRE I take in just over 9 hours.

Hope all of you have an amazing weekend! And *GOOD LUCK* to everyone else taking the test the same day!1

Night!

  1. And if any of you non-MPRE-takers get the urge to say a prayer or two on our collective behalf, feel free ;) []

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4

Improving participation at the ABA Law Students Division

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 16, 2011 in Student Government

Now that I’ve recovered from driving 10 hours in 2 days, I’m not entirely sure what to think about the ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” meeting for the 4th / 5th / 6th Circuits that happened down at Charleston Law this weekend. The meeting was more informative than I anticipated; the turnout, on the other hand, seemed downright spartan for such a large geographic area.

It was hard to tell when attendance hit its peak. When the day started there were a bunch of CSoL students present which inflated the numbers, but as they started trickling out just after lunch other law schools (like FAMU Law) had started trickling in. I’d estimate there were around 40 or so people present over the course of the day.

By the time the clock hit around 2pm, though, there was barely anyone left :beatup:

The abrupt disappearance of so many attendees was reflected in the agenda: rather than have the planned sessions for roundtable-like discussions with other delegates (the main reason I went), the meeting was adjourned nearly 2 hours ahead of schedule :surprised:

Sure it left time for a more-scenic drive back to North Carolina, but it makes me wonder if sending people to these meetings is a project on which I want the NCCU Law SBA investing our students’ money…

When the people in charge asked what could be done to fix the horrible turnout, naturally people targeted the symptoms rather than the cause — requests for the dissolution of combined circuit meetings outright and other various solutions-that-don’t-solve-things-but-make-you-sound-intelligent were plentiful. In case anyone from the ABA-LSD happens to read this small piece of internet real estate, here are my 3 suggestions:

  1. Embrace the 36 Hour Rule: I’ve literally been to dozens of weekend meetings in my life, and I’ve never seen a well-attended one that lasted less than 36 hours. As a group starts cutting back the amount of time designated to business to lure more attendees, the relative opportunity cost for attending actually goes up — people who might drive 10 hours round-trip for a full-weekend event simply aren’t going to commit that same travel time for a mere 6-or-less hours of business. When you spend more time traveling to a meeting than you do actually meeting, attendance drops. This was the exact same situation UNCASG faced before the Pickle Princess and I ran for office, and one shared by many other groups.1 You fix it by offering more for the attendees instead of less: some business and a social event on Friday night to encourage on-time arrival, substantive business all day on Saturday, a party of some kind on Saturday night as a reward, and some closing minor business over breakfast Sunday morning to discourage early departures. Attendance will always be lighter on Friday and Sunday, but having those days as the ones dedicated to travel gives you a greater volume of people present on Saturday; those same people then interact with the others, building friendships, and creating a reinforced incentive for people to participate and show up to future meetings.
  2. Lead from the front: Back during the Spring’s ABA-LSD 4th Circuit meeting when I served as a proxy for our SBA President, I “ran” for Circuit Governor in protest since no one had filed for the position; two other candidates were nominated from the floor and talked about how much they wanted the job, and my commentary was along the lines of “If you cared so much you’d have filled out the paperwork on time. Wtf is wrong with this Circuit?” I think the eventual winner (Mallory Duley-Willink of Charlotte Law) has been leery of me ever since, but at least as far as this Charleston meeting goes she was the only one to actually do her job throughout. By the time we hit that 2:00pm-ish mark — with 3 hours of material left to go on the agenda — both the 5th Circuit and 6th Circuit Governors had bailed to head home :crack: That sets a horribly bad example for the other delegates, who will rise or fall to the standards set by the leadership. If the people reaping the networking and financial benefits of these jobs aren’t sticking around, the “little people” will follow suit. The group leader should be the first to arrive, the last to leave, and should be putting more effort into the group than anyone else.
  3. Live the mission: I don’t actually know if the ABA-LSD has a mission separate and distinct from the greater ABA, but whatever it is or would be the leadership should reflect some passion in trying to carry it out! All the communications I’d gotten for the meeting were the slick automated emails sent through whatever program the ABA folks use, with no real information in them beyond the same form email listing the date/time/location. When we got there, the officer reports were lukewarm. The new Representative to the ABA Board of Governors had no idea what I was talking about when I asked a question about an initiative discussed by his predecessor;2 then he offered a lengthy politician’s explanation instead of simply saying “I don’t know anything about it but I’ll find out.” Then just before the remaining leadership announced the meeting would be cut 2 hours short, they asked for suggestions on how to improve the meetings… with not a single recommendation being written down by anyone :roll: An organization’s leadership serves as its biggest cheerleaders; their principal role is being physical embodiments of the group’s ideals. If you can’t live the mission, you should probably go lead something else.

I doubt any of the ABA’s decision-makers will read this (much less take it seriously) but that’s my $.02 on how to improve ABA-LSD participation, at least in this part of the country. People respond to expectations, regardless of where they’re set — so set them higher ;)

Have a good night y’all! :D

—===—

From the law:/dev/null 2011 ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” Meeting-related archives:

  1. See page 4 of our UNCASG platform “The Clock is Ticking…”, where we called for (and later implemented) full-weekend meetings. That decision led to three different records setting the highest attendance in the Association’s 38-year history. []
  2. Trying to get the cost of bar review incorporated into the Cost of Attendance figure used by law schools to calculate financial aid packages. []

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At the risk of pulling a Rick Perry…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 15, 2011 in The 3L Life

…South Carolina’s barbecue was about what I expected: average and forgettable.

Sorry y’all, North Carolina ‘cue still reigns :*

Back in the Bull City from the ABA-LSD Fall meeting at CSoL. More to come tomorrow, good night y’all! :)

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From the law:/dev/null 2011 ABA-LSD “Super Circuit” Meeting-related archives:

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Greetings from Charleston!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 14, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening folks! :)

EIC and I are both currently down in South Carolina for the ABA Law Student Division‘s Fall “Super Circuit” meeting for the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Circuits, scheduled to take place tomorrow at the Charleston School of Law.

It’s pretty much been a whirlwind of a day since I woke up — I somehow managed to fall asleep in the middle of working on my Employment Discrimination complaint and client letter, and also managed to successfully navigate the multiple steps necessary to disable the alarm I set just in case I fell asleep :beatup:

So rather than spend yesterday cleaning up the apartment and packing, I went to class and then spent until a couple hours before midnight getting the client letter finished,1 then picked up 雅雅 from the airport just after midnight for her coming in to visit. This morning was then spent getting the house in order for the dogsitter, packing up, then making the 5 hour drive south.

Since getting here, I have to say Charleston has been rehabilitating my opinion of South Carolina :D My only other time in the state involved burning hours of time to go a few miles on the interstate. Couple that with some natural North-South rivalry that comes from me living in North Carolina since 1998, and let’s just say I’ve had a dim view of this state ;)

But we got here, went exploring the French Quarter, found a decent place to eat, and checked out the City Market.2 So far it seems pretty cool, and knowing some of this stuff has been here since the Revolutionary War just really blows my mind.

Heading to bed so I can get up for the meeting in the morning :) Have a great night y’all! :D

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From the law:/dev/null travel-related archives:

  1. I’m stuck taking a -0- on it because MDG has a “bright line” late policy, but at least I can say it’s done :) []
  2. Incredibly cool place, makes me wish we had something like it in Durham… and if we do, my apologies for not being aware of its existence :beatup: []

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#shootmenowplzkthxu

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 12, 2011 in The 3L Life

A complaint alleging discriminatory employment practices (racially motivated firing) and a client letter explaining it are all that stand between yours truly and a 1.5-day quasi-vacation in Charleston SC for the ABA-LSD’s Fall “Super Circuit” meeting.

The problem?  The first one’s nowhere near done, and the second one isn’t even started :beatup:

MDG wanted us to have drafts to him days ago so he could at least give us pointers on what to include. As you can probably guess (see here and here) I definitely never got around to that. ::facepalm::

It’s gonna be a loooooong night…

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3

[F]ixed [O]r [R]epaired [D]aily

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 11, 2011 in Fail

“The best laid schemes of mice and men,” Robert Burns wrote a couple centuries ago, “go often askew[.]”

That pretty much sums up today :beatup:

One thing I left out of yesterday’s update on life was that I missed AppAd last Monday to get repairs made to my car, a paid-off-but-aging-rapidly Ford Focus that I’ve driven across the State of North Carolina several times over.1 My cursed tire was flat again for reasons unknown so I headed in to the repair shop, got the tire fixed (gratis), and decided to get the usual pre-winter maintenance done as well: oil change, tire rotation and alignment, coolant flush, and so on.

Sure it came out to a few hundred dollars, but I thought to msyelf “At least this car won’t need any more maintenance until Spring semester.”

Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.

:(

So today’s Election Day in the Bull City, I leave the apartment a little earlier than usual with the plan to go vote before class… and notice the car feels funny. When you’ve been driving the same vehicle for nearly a decade, you can just tell when something’s wrong. And sure enough when I get to the next stoplight the battery warning light comes on to tell me something’s awry with the electrical system.

Rather than turning right to go to the polls, I turn left to go to the repair shop again. A few minutes after turning my key over to them I learn that the refurb’d alternator I had installed back in 2008 picked today to stop working :mad:

And unlike my old 1987 Mazda pickup truck (the first vehicle I had), today’s cars are manufactured by machines that cram parts so @#$%ing tight that it’s damn near impossible to service yourself and takes repair shops a few hours to fix things too. My Focus is actually intentionally designed so the only way you can really replace the alternator is by machine-lowering the entire engine block a few inches :roll:   So I’m at the mercy of the repair folks, shell out more $$$, and head on my way 3 hours later.

In time to completely miss both Tax and Employment Discrimination, less than 24 hours after promising Prof Tax I’d be in class on-time and caught-up…

Over the past just-over-a-month I’ve now spent in excess of $1500 on auto repairs:  getting the cursed tire fixed 3x, replacing some part that holds some other belt in place,2 last Monday’s maintenance, and then this stuff today. That not only totally wipes out my savings account that barely endured what is already my most expensive semester of all time, it also erases the $700 I had set aside for my NC bar application due January 1st :(

And just to add insult to injury? I was late getting out of Sales & Secured Transactions tonight so I couldn’t even make it to the polls before they closed, making this the first election I’ve missed since I started voting 12 years ago :beatup:

Needless to say your friendly neighborhood blawger’s in a bitter @#$%ing mood. Heading to bed with the knowledge tomorrow will inevitably be a better day — have a good night y’all! :)

  1. Literally — I’ve driven it to every campus in the 17-institution UNC system at least 2-3 times apiece. :D []
  2. Which just completely fell off while I was driving one day, destroying the belt in the process :mad: []

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15

It’s October already?? O_o

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 10, 2011 in The 3L Life

Remember when I wrote that I enjoyed being in over my head?

I’ve changed my mind :beatup:

It’s safe to say the semester is going by entirely too d*mn fast when we were more than week into the month before I finally realized it was October.1 Midterms are this week for the 1Ls and 2Ls, and a string of papers are due for me. I’m ready for this month to be over and we just fast-forward to Thanksgiving so I can breathe for a few days…

  • The big news story from the past couple weeks has been the death of Steve Jobs last Wednesday from pancreatic cancer :( The good folks over at MacRumors have this comprehensive entry of news and reflections. I found out via a Drudge Report app alert (on my long-sought iPhone) in the middle of a reception I was attending, followed by a flurry of text messages from QuietStorm, 雅雅, and several classmates asking how I was dealing with the news.2 Steve’s been my role model for over a decade, and the combination of his own talents and his gathering other talented people around him at Apple has definitely enriched my life (and helped me get assignments done on time). Though a good many of us suspected he didn’t have much longer following his resignation as Apple CEO last month, the news still sucks. My heart goes out to his wife and kids :heart:
  • On a less depressing note, Wednesday was a whirlwind day in general — starting with me dropping off Samson for his last round of heartworm shots! :D He had to stay overnight at the Durham APS for two separate injections, but after another few weeks of activity restrictions he should be heartworm free and able to resume life as an active dog! :spin:
  • After dropping off Samson and heading to class, I then drove down to my alma mater for a videotaped interview with staff from N.C. State Libraries. A couple years ago they created a page in their “Historical State” archive chronicling former Student Body Presidents… and at some point expanded it to this Student Leaders page where they’re including folks like me too :surprised:  So they had about two-dozen questions on stuff that happened in Student Government when I was around back in 2006-2009, covering stuff like my role as a Senator when I wrote or sponsored 49 different pieces of legislation, the extensive drama surrounding the Spring 2007 SSP election,3 my first term as Senate President when I had a less-than-cooperative relationship with the Executive Branch, and so on. Makes me glad I did a decent job as SSP, otherwise my incompetence would be enshrined for all eternity :beatup:
  • Right after the NCSU interview I went out west to a reception for incoming UNC-system President Tom Ross, held at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering shared by UNC Greensboro and NC A&T State. I’d been to receptions before back when I was UNCASG President; I expected a sit-down dinner thing where you make small talk with 6-7 other education-oriented folks seated at your table, eat, and exchange pleasantries before departing. This was apparently more of a “make friends and influence people”-type thing, because the place was swarming with politicos, judges, fundraisers, and other people famous by NC standards, with no fewer than 4 different “liquor stations” where attendees could imbibe a variety of beverages.4 In general I’m not a particularly huge fan of these types of big, unstructured social events — see, e.g., my abject terror/awkwardness during the “mixer” at 1L Orientation two years ago — but I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with some folks I hadn’t seen since my term on the Board ended :D
  • Plus I got to meet Governor Easley!5 I saw him while talking to someone about the state budget and the budget cuts going on across the UNC system, and finally worked up the nerve to say hello. I tell him I’m a 3L at NCCU Law and the current SBA President… and he starts motioning other people over to come meet me instead :crack:  It easily ranks among the most surreal experiences of my life
  • My lapel pin collection, now with pins from all 17 UNC institutions! (the top 3 rows)

    …and when the event was winding down, on the shuttle back to the parking lot I had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. J. Todd Roberts, the new Chancellor of the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics (North Carolina’s residential high school for high-achieving students). :D I noticed the NCSSM lapel pin on his jacket when his wife asked if  I had enjoyed the event. I replied that I had, then asked if he was “the new guy” running NCSSM.6 We exchanged introductions, and I somewhat-imperiously asked if they sold NCSSM lapel pins anywhere; it was the only institution still missing from my collection, where I had gathered lapel pins from all 16 other UNC institutions. He told me they didn’t, and he really needed his for President Ross’s inauguration the following day… but he offered it to me anyway! I basically pledged my undying loyalty to NCSSM right there on the shuttle, and sent the school a $50 donation when I got back to Durham — right after filling the one remaining gap in my collection :spin:

  • I wish I could say academics were going quite as well :( I’m currently sitting on a legitimate, bona fide “F” in Tax right now. Right alongside another “F” in Appellate Advocacy I. Fortunately both courses still have 80%+ of the grade still remaining to be earned, but the current standings highlight that I’m in deep sh*t academically. I’ve been trying to pare back my extracurricular activities to focus more on the papers and other miscellaneous stuff we have to do. It’s a deep hole to climb out, and will be taking me awhile to get there…7
  • To highlight how bad things are going, I was walking through the law clinic earlier today when Prof Tax herself called my name — in that “Go straight to the Principal’s Office young man” tone of voice that I think all teachers, from K-12 to college, have innately mastered — to make known she wasn’t happy with my sub-standard performance in her class. I pleaded my case but at the end of the day I’ve just been doing too much non-academic stuff. I promised I’d be in class on time tomorrow and work to catch up.
  • (On a somewhat-related note, I really dislike paper-based classes :mad: My colleagues gravitate toward them because it’s easier to get an A on a paper you can pour hours of time into — but I just can’t seem to find the time. I miss going through a couple weeks of hell studying for exams, having a test, and being done. Having four different classes with various papers due at various points over the semester currently qualifies as the most grating experience of my law school career…)
  • Even so, I’m still trying to write a brief to apply for our Moot Court Board8 :beatup:

There’s more stuff to write about, but I think I’ll cap it for this particular entry because I really need to get back to reading for class.

I hope all of you had a great Monday, and have a great week! (and a great October! ;) )

  1. And the only reason I noticed was because the 1Ls were panicking about midterms. []
  2. And yes, I’ll confess I cried a little when I got home :beatup: []
  3. For more details see Technician’s SSP Timeline 1 and SSP Timeline 2, along with the FIRE Act. []
  4. I stuck with the lemonade since I was driving :) []
  5. And yes, I was/am still excited even if he was/is our first governor to plead to a felony — he’s still a graduate of NCCU Law, the namesake for our 2L Opening Statement competition, and was both a superlative District Attorney and the twice-elected Governor of the 10th most-populous state in the nation. Bill Clinton was the first President impeached since Nixon, but I’d still be honored to shake the guy’s hand :P []
  6. When I was UNCASG President I had worked with NCSSM’s former Chancellor Gerald Boarman, who left to work in Maryland soon after my term ended. []
  7. Note to 1Ls/2Ls: DON’T REPEAT MY MISTAKES. #kkthxu []
  8. Just trying to see if I’m competent enough to do appellate work, that’s all! :angel: []

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