Life Comes at You Fast (Part IV)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 17, 2015 in The After-3L Life

It’s probably fitting that a series of blog posts on how life has gotten in the way of me blogging (Part I, Part II, Part III) would get interrupted for 2.5 months because of life getting in the way of me blogging :beatup:

I’m still here. Samson is still here. TGD Law is still here.1

Even law:/dev/null is still here somehow, after 6 years last week. WordPress has advanced so much that I desperately need to find a new theme — and will have to go back and remove the smilies, since they’re now getting replaced with standardized emoji :mad: — so keep an eye out for that.

I’d update y’all on more, but it’s late and I’m beat. More stuff to come soon though (seriously!)…

  1. We’re actually celebrating the end of my 3rd year of practice in just over a month. :spin: []

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TDot’s Mailbag v11.0: A reintroduction for the 1Ls

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 25, 2014 in Mail

Today marks the first day of classes over at the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

This photo is on the wall next to my desk in the office. Every single one of them has graduated now.

This photo is on the wall next to my desk in the office. Every single one of them has graduated now.

It’s also the first time since I started way back in 20091 that I haven’t attended class with a single person there: the last batch of 1Ls I tutored for Prof CrimLaw are now waiting for their bar results :crack:

Unable to accept the reality of being so far removed from being enrolled at an educational institution, naturally I had to drop in on Orientation last Wednesday to mingle as part of the law school’s annual professionalism series for 1Ls.

One of the young ladies I met mentioned that she had read parts of the blog before starting school.2 Then throughout the night I got a few more questions of a 1L-esque nature, so I thought I’d use them as an excuse to create a new Mailbag entry. :)


Q: What is [this blog]?

Apparently people think it’s weird that anyone from NCCU Law has a blog, because this was/is probably the most frequently asked question in the past however many weeks between PBAP, Orientation, and classes starting.

Guess long-form blogs are passé these days when we all have Twitter… :roll:

I started this website back during my 1L year because frankly I needed something to do. At the time I thought most of my classmates were clinically insane gunners, and the time devoted to running UNCASG only kept me out of trouble but so many days in a month.

Then I discovered people were actually reading what was getting written, so I tried to make some of it at least marginally useful for folks who came after me. ;)


Q: What does “law:/dev/null” mean?

I’d tell you, but I already did! Check the first question of my first Mailbag entry :)


Q: I heard I can get outlines and old tests somewhere on here?”

Hopefully you’ll read this website for more than just the outlines! :P

But go to this entry on outlines for the URL.


Q: blah blah blah grades blah blah blah

It’s entirely too soon to care about your 1L grades. Trust me. Please.

But if you’re one of those hardcore Type A types who’ve already spent at least one day of this past weekend at the law school studying, go to this grades entry for links to the key points.3


Q: Will you be my mentor??

Sure :D

I have an open “mentor anyone” policy — just realize I’ve gotta make money first, so my availability will depend on my caseload ;)


Q: What’s the one thing you know now that you most wish you knew back when you were a 1L?


That there were already outlines out there :beatup:

I didn’t discover the contents of the 1L Stuff folder until the first day of final exams during the Spring semester of my 1L year. Rico was reading through a very slick 1-page summary of key issues in criminal law, I asked him how long it took him to make it — because the one I made for myself took forever and wasn’t nearly as nice — and I discovered that he got it from someone else. :crack:

It was at that point I started asking for outlines and stockpiling as many as I could… then posted every last one on this blog so the information was democratized. Some of my classmates flipped sh*t because I was “making it harder to beat the curve,” but I didn’t want future 1Ls ending up like me with absolutely no clue that the info was out there.

So scroll back up to the outlines question, click the link to the outlines entry, and enjoy the next 3 years of your life :)


*GOOD LUCK* to each of you with the year ahead, and don’t hesitate to send us a message if you’ve got questions! You can find the email address at the bottom of our About page or you can use the Contact form at the TGD Law website :D


From the Mailbag archives:

  • TDot’s Mailbag v11.0: A reintroduction for the 1Ls (08/25/14) [this post] –
    • What is [this blog]?
    • What does law:/dev/null mean?
    • I heard I can get outlines and old tests somewhere on here?
    • blah blah blah grades blah blah blah
    • Will you be my mentor??
    • What’s the 1 thing you most wish you knew as a 1L?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v10.0: First-Year Finance Figures Follow-up Edition (11/27/13) –
    • What are you doing?
    • How are you defining your terminology?
    • How did you survive financially?
    • Have you done any advertising?
    • What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
    • What 3 things would you do differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v9.0: “So why did you go solo?” Edition (01/18/13) –
    • Why did you become a solo practitioner?
    • What was your “Plan B” job-wise?
    • What helped you the most 3L year in preparing for post-grad life?
    • If you had to do 3L year over again, what would you differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v8.0: Post-Bar Exam Edition (08/11/12) –
    • What materials did you use for bar prep?
    • Are you bailing on law:/dev/null for Twitter?
    • What are your plans for law:/dev/null post-graduation?
    • Where do things stand with NC SPICE?
    • How does it feel being done with everything?
    • What’s your secret to not being stressed about the bar exam?
    • Do you have any bar exam study materials?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v7.0: Legal Eagle Grading Edition (06/22/11) –
    • You made Dean’s List… but grades don’t matter?
    • Why is NCCU Law’s curve so low?
    • What is the rationale for NCCU Law’s dismissal policy?
    • How does the dismissal policy work?
    • What are NCCU Law’s GPA cutoffs for Dean’s List and academic honors?
    • Do you get notified if you made Dean’s List?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v6.0: 1L Questions Edition (08/23/10) –
    • Do we really need to study 60 hours a week?
    • My study partners study all day; am I missing something?
    • How time-consuming is being an SBA Representative?
    • Should I use “canned” briefs or create my own?
    • Is law school really just a big head game?
    • What’s the biggest difference between 1L year and 2L year?
    • What made you pursue law after having done computer science?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v5.0: What Law School’s Really Like (04/14/10) –
    • Admissions?
    • Bar Exam?
    • The Work?
    • Professors?
    • Electives?
    • Extracurriculars?
    • What would you do differently?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v4.0 (01/21/10) –
    • What really made you dislike BigLaw?
    • Why were 2 of the top 4 teams in the K-S competition from T4s?
    • What happened to Tweet-sized Tuesdays and the Friday Drive-by?
    • How did your CivPro I final exam turn out?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v3.0 (10/04/09) –
    • What’s your email address?
    • Do you really send/receive thousands of text messages in a month?
    • How are you adjusting to a historically black university?
    • Are you really a Republican?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v2.0 (09/07/09) –
    • Did you have a bunch of study materials for the LSAT?
    • How well did you do on the LSAT?
    • How did you do in your election for 1L SBA Rep?
    • Who is in the Gang of Eight?
  • TDot’s Mailbag v1.0 (08/20/09) –
    • What does law:/dev/null mean?
    • Did your entry about That Guy really happen?
    • Did you really count the lights from your apartment to school?
  1. Yes, that means law:/dev/null has been online for half a decade now! The first post was back on August 11th 2009. :D []
  2. Easiest way to over-inflate my already over-inflated ego is telling me you’ve read something I’ve written :beatup: []
  3. And to convince you I never hid the ball on any of my grades-related entries, you can read my final law school transcript via this entry’s footnote. []

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How cool is this? Another solo posts his numbers!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 2, 2014 in Randomness

Way back in October last year, I threw caution to the wind and posted this entry detailing my first-year revenues and expenses for the law firm, with a follow-up entry answering some of the questions I got.

Now I would never claim to be a trend-setter or anything ( ;) ), but I stumbled across a post from a solo practitioner down in Florida who posted his own revenue/expense figures1 — and he gives law:/dev/null a shout as the motivation for it! B-)

Here’s a snippet from the initial entry, “No Navigator, No Parachute, No Problem: An In-Depth Look at Flying Solo” authored under the nom de plume Florida Esq:

As part of my preparation, I started combing the Internet for any and all information I could find about starting a firm. I was looking for hard data: what are the costs involved in starting a firm, how much do new solos bring in, what works and what doesn’t when you’re starting out, and so on. Unfortunately, there was almost nothing like that. Instead, nearly everything I found fell into one of two very unhelpful categories: One was the “LAW SCHOOL IS A SCAM! BURN YOUR J.D.! YOU’LL NEVER MAKE IT!” crowd which has taken over many popular law blogs and message boards. The other was very basic, generalized stuff like “Network, do good work and if you make it through your first year, you’ll probably be okay.” Neither was much help.

One exception to this came from Greg Doucette, a North Carolina attorney whose blog I stumbled across one day. Greg did something I hadn’t seen any other attorney, new or established do: he put up a one year “postmortem” of his new firm with hard numbers, showing exactly what he made and spent, along with examples of what he did wrong (and right!) that first year and the changes he planned to make going forward. This information was just what I was looking for, and was much more helpful than pretty much anything I had found before.

Then a few days later he posted a follow-up detailing his first quarter revenue as a solo, with “No Navigator, No Parachute, No Problem: First Quarter of Flying Solo.”

Here’s a snippet from that one:

In summary, my first quarter led to approx. $22,575 of income and $8,114 of expenses, netting me approx. $14,461. I’ve taken $6,000 of that as paychecks, leaving my firm with nearly $8,500 in the bank. I know that might not seem like much to a lot of you, but after all the doom and gloom I read before starting out, I’m actually ahead of where I thought I would be at the moment. I’m still networking my tail off to increase my exposure and I know I need to be withholding more money to pay my taxes, but I think things have gone okay so far.

I’ll ignore his comment that $22.5K in a quarter “might not seem like much” or the fact he’s averaging over $1K-per-client — I’d (almost) kill for that kind of success :beatup: — and instead just say it’s freaking AWESOME that someone else is willing to open up their books to folks thinking about going into solo practice! :D

If “flying solo” is something you’re considering, definitely take some time and go read both of those entries.2 And keep an eye out for what he writes down the road :)

  1. A metaphorical stumble if not an actual one: many thanks to my friend Keith Lee over at Associate’s Mind for tweeting me the original link! []
  2. Aside from providing useful “hard data,” the guy also knows how to write — which makes reading entries on hard data infinitely more enjoyable ;) []

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law:/dev/null got a plug in Student Lawyer magazine!!! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 20, 2013 in NotFail

No offense intended to Matt Hollowell, but this officially trumps getting an @mention by LexisNexis

Awesome :D

Awesome! :D

In the latest print edition of the ABA Law Student Division‘s Student Lawyer magazine, law:/dev/null got plugged in the “In Brief” section! :eek: :crack: :spin:

If you don’t get the magazine anymore, you can also access it online here (though in my case I politely hounded a 2L for her copy).

The snippet talks about this TDot’s Tips entry on bootstrapping your first law office, and specifically the Department of Education program on financing a computer purchase. :)

And I’m also pretty sure it’s the first time my name has ever appeared in a print magazine for something other than donating money somewhere.  Which is just plain cool  B-)

Just had to share :D Good night y’all!

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Blawgpocalypse 2.0: Any new law student blawgers?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 14, 2012 in Randomness

It looks like writing a blog has fallen out of fashion among the law school crowd :surprised:

Last night, during a Twitter convo hosted by Alison over at The Girl’s Guide to Law School (hashtag #1Ltools if you want to see the archives), Matt Hollowell at LexisNexis Law School was kind enough to mention the law:/dev/null blogroll in response to a question about active bloggers:1

I was flattered to be recommended, but then a little embarrassed that I’d let the blogroll fall into such decay (it hadn’t been thoroughly updated since September :beatup: ).

So earlier today I set aside some time and combed through the list, checking out the latest entries, looking through the blogrolls of other blawgs to see if there were new folks that I’ve been missing, etc…

…and blawg after blawg after blawg has been shut down or locked up or converted to something not-at-all-law-related :eek:

There were a couple surprises — BrokeJD is back, and imnobody posted briefly before disappearing again — but the moral of the story is that there are surprisingly few active law student bloggers (at least that I can find).

Y’all know I like numbers, so here’s some data.  We’ve got 194 blawgs on the blogroll as of this entry, which I’ve been collecting since my 1L Fall semester in 2009.

Here’s how they break down using the coding system from my 2L Fall blawgpocalypse entry:

  • Active: 70
  • Single-tilde (~), no updates in 1-2 months:  10
  • Double-tilde (~~), no updates in 3-5 months:  15
  • Triple-tilde (~~~), no updates in 6+ months or password-protected or deleted:  99

Over half of law school blogs: totally inactive

That’s not a typo folks: barely a third of the law-related blogs on our list are still being updated, with over half completely inactive :crack:

And that doesn’t consider several “active” blogs that now have nothing at all to do with law or law school; if I took those out of the active count, the inactive numbers would climb even more.

Compare that to the October 2010 blawgpocalypse entry where only 15% of the blawgs were in “~~~” territory… and that was with only 149 blawgs!2

So now that our blogroll has been updated, the main point for this post:  are there any new law student bloggers out there?

The insights and experiences of current/former law students are a great resource for prospective and future ones, and I’d love to have everyone included on our list. If you’re a law student blogging somewhere on the internet and you’re not listed on the right — or you’re reading someone’s law school blog and it’s not there either — please consider posting in the comments or sending me an email (tdot [at] lawdevnull.com) so I can fix it! :D

That’s it from me for tonight, I’m off to go watch some more BarBri lectures and keep grinding away on multiple choice questions. Have a great night y’all! :)


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

  1. This fancy new Twitter-box thing is integrated into the latest WordPress upgrade. If you’re thinking about blogging, you owe it to yourself to use WordPress! []
  2. It makes me feel a smidge anachronistic that law:/dev/null is still around :beatup: []

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Bar prep sucks… so here’s some humor for you

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 12, 2012 in The After-3L Life

Hey y’all! :D

Bar prep has been underway for a couple weeks now at NCCU Law, and is sufficiently voluminous — not difficult per se, just voluminous — that I’ve had to put off working on the May blog backlog because evidently I remember just about nothing from my first year of law school. :beatup:

(I actually have an entry in the backlog on that very topic, including my first BarBri “assessment” quiz a couple weeks ago where I successfully missed 9 of 10 negligence questions… :crack: )

But I am determined not to let this stuff run my life all summer, so I switched gears and spent today working on the IRS 501(c)(3) app to for NC SPICE and going through some entries in the blogroll1 — and came upon this entry at The Human Lorax linking to this list about bar prep over at Legally Noted.

And it’s hilarious :)

The list is a bit profanity-laden, but anyone studying for the bar has probably thought most of these at least once. Check it out when you have time!

Legally Noted: Studying for the bar?! This will make you laugh [h/t The Human Lorax]

  1. Which itself desperately needs an update; I’ll hopefully get to that by the end of the week! []

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In Case You Missed It (Round IX)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 30, 2012 in In Case You Missed It

Just over a week ago I mentioned that things were still operational here at law:/dev/null, but had fallen into some pretty bad disarray after me being gone from active writing for over a month.

I’ve started scrubbing through some of the old logfiles to deal with the spam issue, deleted out all the spammy pingbacks (plus the internal ping backs generated by our own entries), and finally got all the April entries prettied up and published.

Here are the posts from April that I finally got copy-edited, in chronological order:

I don’t use RSS myself so I’m not sure how these entries are going to look in an RSS feed, but bear in mind things might look out-of-order chronologically since these old entries are “new” in the sense they’re just now getting posted :beatup:

Next on the to-do list is to try and get the May entries posted before we get too far into June (there are ~19 of those drafted). Bar prep is chewing through most of my time every day so I don’t know when/if that’ll happen, but I’ll see what I can do :)

Thanks for your patience as we get the blawg back up and running — have a great night!



Surveying the Wreckage

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 20, 2012 in Fail

Well, it had to happen at some point…

After spending the better part of three years reading through dozens of law school blogs and writing about life at NCCU Law with something more or less vaguely resembling a degree of regularity, law:/dev/null finally hit the single-tilde “Not updated in 30+ days” mark :beatup:

Worse, the blog backend is in total disarray: the .htaccess list hasn’t been updated in ages so the spammers are back, our error message plugin evidently broke with an update some time ago and I didn’t even notice until yesterday, and the blogroll is more-than-a-smidge outdated.

I’m still here, and law:/dev/null will still be here too — there’s bar prep to write about,1 and if nothing else I’ve got about a half-dozen entries in varying stages of completion I need to finish and post — but it’s gonna take some work.

Just wanted to post a quick message saying hello and letting y’all know I haven’t totally disappeared :)  Have a great night!

  1. …which starts tomorrow! :crack: []

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This is more like it…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 6, 2012 in The 3L Life

I’m hoping against hope that I just might have turned a corner on this semester.

The day didn’t start off that well — I did end up oversleeping and missed 8:30am Moot Court practice :beatup: — but things turned around by mid-afternoon.  Our first NC Distinctions tests came back, and while I didn’t do as well as I should have I did “good enough” to avoid being subjected to a re-test tomorrow afternoon. I got some more work done on law:/dev/null, got my roadmap cobbled together for moot court, and did reasonably well at my first practice.1

There’s still a lot left to be done: homework is still due weekly for my other classes, the TYLA trial team coaches are pissed at my future absences,2 and I’ve got upcoming subjects in Distinctions that I’ve never taken before so the tests will be more challenging.

But coming off my worst semester of law school, progress is progress! :)

  1. A clutch performance, as our coach noted in the feedback afterward that she “was expecting you [me] to be my [her] biggest disappointment.” []
  2. Even though I made clear to them when we came up with our original practice schedule that I wouldn’t be available M/W/F, and later acquiesced to temporary availability on those days when they altered the practice schedule to 7 days a week… :mad: []

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More minor blog tweaks coming

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 10, 2011 in Technology

Not much time to post anything substantive tonight — I’m grinding away trying to finally wrap up this entirely-too-long semester — but wanted to give y’all a heads up that some changes will be coming to law:/dev/null over the Christmas break.

First, I’ve resumed the process of going through old posts and adding the appropriate tags to them, so old entries will finally show up when you click a tag in a recent post. For whatever reason I didn’t start using tags until several months into blogging so there’s a bunch of them to go through :beatup:  But for the several 1Ls and pre-Ls who had sent messages asking where all the stuff was from my first year (like the Torts mixtape with bonus Ks track) because going through the overall category took forever, the tagging process should make life a little easier.

Also, as we’ve banned more and more spammers the site has slowed down from parsing the ever-growing .htaccess file. Average load time is hitting 2-3 full seconds ( :eek: ) which is an order of magnitude slower than where I’d like it to be. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to fix it, but wanted you to know I’m aware of the problem and will see what I can do.

That’s it for now, back to these papers. Have a great night y’all! :D

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