1

Incorporated!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 16, 2012 in The 3L Life

Hey y’all!

I know I disappeared again, and school still sucks, and I can’t really write much on this entry because I’ve got a paper due in Professional Responsibility at 9am and another NC Distinctions test at noon (right before a presentation in Arbitration at 10am on Wednesday on a topic I haven’t even started researching yet :beatup: ).

But I wanted to post something so y’all don’t think I’ve pulled the plug :)

And I also wanted to let y’all know that we filed Articles of Incorporation for the North Carolina Small Practice Incubator & Collaboration Environment earlier today! :D

In addition to class, over the past couple weeks I’ve been immersing myself in the world of business plans and revenue streams and figuring out how to create a 501(c)(3) and then get it financed and off the ground. I’ve managed to convince some heavy hitters to take the first few slots on the Board of Directors: Peter Romary over in Greenville (the same Peter Romary mentioned here and here), Donald Thompson Jr down in Raleigh (CEO at the tech company I interned for 2L year), and Prof Ks here at the law school (this guy).

Now while the AOI paperwork gets processed I’m shifting back to classes, then after knocking out a couple more papers I’m transitioning back to writing the corporate bylaws, a handful of policies on things the nonprofit is going to need to address (conflicts of interest, personnel, etc), and figuring out how we’re going to fund the thing.

The more I work on it, the more I’m convinced we can turn this into a statewide economic engine… and maybe even expand nationally.  :surprised:

We’ll see what happens.

But first I have to graduate, so that’s it for tonight — good night folks! :)

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3

“Where did all these people come from?”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 9, 2011 in Site Stats

Hey y’all! :)

It’s been half a year since our last Site Stats entry back in June, not for lack of time or interest but mostly because traffic tended to stagnate with my random disappearances all the time. Even with us passing 1,000,000+ pageviews back in September, there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy to merit another entry.

November '11 now holds the all-time attendance record :surprised:

Then a whole bunch of y’all appeared out of nowhere! :crack:

November 2011 was officially the single busiest month law:/dev/null has had since we launched back in August 2009!

And I have absolutely no clue why :beatup:

We had a +6.7% bump in daily readership to 2,041,1 likely resulting from my somewhat-less-sporadic posting over the month.

But the real craziness is the sudden +57.4% explosion in unique people coming to the site (8,144)2 — leapfrogging our previous record back in October 2010 of 6,716, and for reasons totally unknown to me.

There wasn’t a sudden bump in Google searches, no random spike in RSS readership,3 no particularly controversial posts that I’m aware of, and yet somehow we still had a whole bunch ‘o newcomers stop by this little piece of internet real estate. :surprised:

The war on spammers continues...

And what makes the unique IP number particularly odd is that it came alongside us blocking an unprecedented number of spammers that would otherwise be distorting the traffic figures.

In what has become my WordPress equivalent of the government’s War on Drugs, on a regular basis I go through our logs line-by-line and wall off this space from an ever-growing number of bots and spamdexers via our .htaccess file. It’s virtually eliminated comment spam (0.00479 spam comments per IP last month) but has the side effect of holding down the traffic figures.

Which is just as good since I don’t really count spammers as “real” visitors, but it’s still weird seeing such a jump in readership knowing there are about 2,000 URLs blocked from sending people here.

Anyhow, to the new folks: *WELCOME*, and thank you for visiting! :D  Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and keep coming back. :)

Doubt we’ll hit this level of traffic again any time soon but we’ll see what happens…

***

The main reason I started putting these entries together ages ago was to go through some of the search queries that send people to the site. So here’s a random selection of 20 out of the 580+ unique search terms that brought folks here in November 2011:4

  • can a footnote go under the signature on a legal doc: Depends on the document, and depends on the rule of construction the courts in that jurisdiction use; some courts allow it, others consider anything past the signature (including footnotes) as “surplusage” that has no legal effect.
  • nccu law bad neighborhood: Aside from a drug bust at the local Burger King and the occasional stuff that happen on every sizable college campus, it’s really not that bad.
  • can you petition your gpa if you are within less than 2 tenths away from cum laude: In the words of MDG, “LOL. no.” (at least not here at NCCU Law)
  • lawyers in state legislatures: Are a surprising rarity :surprised:
  • i’m panicking wording: Freaking out. Melting down. Losing your nerve. Having a psychotic episode. Taking a law school exam. Let me know if I should continue…
  • how often do people get kicked out for 2l grades: Not often compared to 1L year because people can self-select their classes, but it does happen. The frequency doesn’t matter, all that matters is whether or not your GPA is above a 2.0 ;)
  • how to get a job with bad grades in law: (1) Develop a personality, then (2) network. If you exclude me tutoring CrimLaw (where the grade for that single class was a smidge important), I’ve had exactly -0- employers care about my GPA for the various law jobs/internships I’ve had. Particularly in smaller firms, people care more about whether or not they can tolerate working with you every day than whether or not you were Top 10% academically. Make sure you have a solid LinkedIn profile, go to various law-related events, attend CLEs, get to know your professors and career services personnel, and so on — that way when openings pop up, people are willing to recommend you or at least clue you in to the vacancy.
  • american travel blog first impression toronto: I loved loved loved it! Awesome place. :D
  • dueces fingers with white background: You’d probably have more success spelling it correctly (“deuces”), but until then you can use the pic from this old UNCASG-related entry.
  • college students taking classes unrelated to their major: Yep, that’s how I made my way through N.C. State :beatup:
  • why do you want to go to nc central law?: Ummm… if you don’t know the answer to that question already, you probably don’t want to go here :P  If you want my reasons, you can read my “Why NCCU Law?” entry linked at the top of this page.
  • is law school still worth it: Nothing has happened to change my perspective (Part I and Part II) so I’d say “yes.”
  • can you fail duke law?: On a B+ curve? And risk the school losing $51K+ a year in tuition in fees per student? It might be theoretically possible, but I doubt it happens :roll:
  • 1l grades most important: I certainly hope not or I’m screwed. I prefer my own $.02: your 1L grades don’t matter.
  • va beach snowmageddon: Terrifying at the time, but pretty effing cool in retrospect B-)
  • sulc has too many white students: With budget cuts going on and minimum bar passage rates slated to rise, my guess is SULC has bigger things to worry about ;)
  • november mpre 2011 thoughts: It sucked. But I passed.
  • “closing argument” “let me try that again” good morning: Assuming you’re planning to try something similar to the Chief’s greeting back at 1L Orientation: please don’t. I’ve yet to find a single person who thinks this tactic is humorous or anything but annoying.
  • how to get caught up law school: When you figure it out, please let me know :beatup:
  • young lawyers division ridiculous: That’s actually not the first time I’ve heard this. Aside from the YLD’s incomplete approach to transparency in law school statistics, a number of them were downright rude during the ABA Annual Meeting this past summer. I guess being esquires entitles them to be pricks? Hopefully that won’t be me this time next year.

Nothing particularly risqué in this month’s batch of queries, but I still enjoyed digging through them :)

***

To wrap things up, here are the Top 5 posts from November 2011:5

  1. On NCCU Law’s strict-C curve: In support of the strict C: a year later (11/12/11)
  2. On thinking about going solo: Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part I) (11/27/11)
  3. On pros/cons for going solo: Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part II) (11/29/11)
  4. On the irrelevance of 1L grades: Your 1L Grades Don’t Matter (05/29/11)
  5. On the November ’11 MPRE: That was remarkably unpleasant (11/05/11)

And that’s it for this entry! *THANK YOU* as always for your continued support of law:/dev/null, it’s greatly appreciated! :spin:

—===—

From the Site Stats archives:

  1. +23.4% year-over-year since November 2010, for those who like analytics :) []
  2. +57.1% year-over-year []
  3. We’re actually back down to 116 RSS readers, which is more in line with our historical average. Looks like the previous spike was an aberration. []
  4. Down -18.4% compared to last month, but up +81.25% year-over-year []
  5. An odd collection considering #2 and #3 were only up for a couple days before the month ended, and #3 was posted half a year ago :surprised: []

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7

Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part II)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 29, 2011 in The 3L Life

Sunday night I posted an entry outlining my rationale for seriously considering solo/SmallLaw practice after I (hopefully) graduate from NCCU Law on May 12th, 2012.

And yes, I keep a running countdown of the 165-in-151ish-minutes days until I’m done with school ;)

This entry goes over some of the pros and cons I’ve mulled over a bit as I tossed this idea around in my head these last couple weeks. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive list, and our commenters from the last entry had links I need to review with info I haven’t checked out yet (it’s on the post-exam to-do list).

I’m writing it down now to (i) get feedback from you readers and any current/aspiring solos who happen to stop by, and (ii) provide a record for myself so I don’t forget :beatup:

We’ll start with the risks/cons/downsides, because frankly right now they scare me more than the rewards/pros/upsides…

T.’s Initial Reasons AGAINST Going Solo After Graduation:

  • Risk of shortchanging clients due to inexperience: This is far and away my biggest worry — I don’t want to be doing “on the job training” when someone else’s interests are at stake and risk screwing up as a result. Maybe it’s just not-a-lawyer-yet naiveté that I’ll outgrow, but the risk of someone paying me for something and getting less-than-perfect representation just really unnerves me. It’s one thing to go solo after working in a firm where you’ve had a chance to have other people looking over your shoulder for a few years, but I’d literally have nothing but clinical experience to guide me if I went solo right out of the gate.
  • How are bills getting paid again?: Second issue priority-wise is finding revenue those first few months out. I know I could manage money frugally enough and hustle hard enough to build up a financially adequate client base over the long-term, but have no clue at all how I’d keep the lights on from August through February.
  • There’s a lot of @#$%ing paperwork: Incorporating. Insurance. Leases. Taxes. Contracts. Employees one day, with all the payroll stuff that goes with it. Making contingency plans for clients in case I die unexpectedly. There’s a lot of paperwork and related stuff that has -0- actual relation to the law part of practicing law, that I’d not only have to knock out up-front if I started my own firm but also monitor regularly for eternity. And after already becoming a criminal because I forgot a postage stamp, I’m not exactly enthused by those obligations.
  • The Triangle has several metric tons of attorneys: Although I’m not categorically averse to moving elsewhere in North Carolina, most of my network and support structure are here in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area… along with what seems like every other attorney in the state :beatup: Being a new entrant in an established marketplace is a difficult challenge without some kind of hook/niche I could stake out.
  • I’d need a secretary…: This ties in to the 2nd and 3rd issues above. Given my own personal shortcomings, I’d need someone on staff to look over my shoulder and make sure paperwork gets completed, calls get answered, appointments don’t get double-booked, and so on. But I have no clue how I’d be able to afford them until I’ve got a decent stream of clients coming in.
  • …but I’m a big teddy bear when it comes to critiquing/firing people: My management skills also apparently need work. I’ve been told that I’m stellar at motivating people, getting a team to get things done, that sort of stuff; I’m also brutal when people are so glaringly incompetent that they have to be canned. On the other hand, I’ve also been told I’ve let people remain in positions long after they should have been fired when they’re less incompetent and more just lazy, instead hoping they’ll shape up. Not sure I’m sufficiently dispassionate to make the tough decisions on disciplining/firing people.

So that’s the first batch of reasons why me going solo would be a bad idea. Now for the counterweight:

T.’s Initial Reasons FOR Going Solo After Graduation:

  • After 13 years in NC, I’ve got a fairly wide network: The main justification for starting a business of some kind, be it law or otherwise, is that I’ve been incredibly blessed to meet a boatload of people since I moved to North Carolina way back in 1998. I know folks from my first time at N.C. State, the places I worked over the 5 years I was a college dropout and political activist, my second time at N.C. State, and everyone I’ve crossed paths with in my roles as Student Senate President, UNCASG President, and SBA President here at the law school. These folks, and the folks they know, would be the first step in a potential client pool.
  • I’ve got a talent for building things: It’s something reflected thoroughly in my personality (at least in every personality test I’ve taken). Whether it’s my brief stint as a professional web developer back in the early 2000s, restructuring Student Governments, writing a blawg for a couple years, or something else — I greatly enjoy (and am at least marginally skilled at) building organizations. The whole “vision thing” hasn’t been a problem yet.
  • Excellent support at NCCU Law and NCSU: Part of my reluctance to leave the Triangle is knowing I’ve got a top-notch set of faculty and staff I can ask for information or ideas if I really need it. It’s an ironic by-product of being a less-than-stellar student academically but otherwise a reasonably acceptable human being :)
  • Free access to 3 different libraries: State law requires that library facilities at UNC-system institutions be open to the public during “regular” operating hours, which includes NCSU, UNCCH, and NCCU all here in the Triangle.  There’s also a requirement that the law libraries at NCCU Law and UNCCH Law have kiosks for public use of Wexis as well. I could save a ton on legal research just by using the resources made available through my tax dollars.
  • No significant monetary commitments right now: I don’t have a mortgage, my car’s paid off (even though it breaks down regularly), I’m unmarried, and the only dependent living in my apartment has four legs and barks at people. For the past 2 years I’ve lived off less than $30,000 and been more-or-less-OK financially. I’d certainly like to make more than that — especially with student loan payments coming up — but I’m not addicted to a huge salary so I’ve got some flexibility to take calculated risks right now.
  • I am my own IT Department: If there’s an upside to taking 6 years to get a 4-year computer science degree, it’s being able to handle tech needs on my own without hiring an IT guy :beatup:
  • Freedom: The biggest upside to going the solo/SmallLaw route is having freedom to do whatever. If I want to create a specialty practice, I can. If I want to go a general practice route, I can. If I want to randomly change what I’m practicing entirely, I can do that too. It ensures I’m never more than a single decision away from continuing to enjoy what I do for a living.

So that’s my initial set of pros/cons as of tonight. I’m sure there will be many more down the road, but for now if feel free to share your thoughts at your leisure! :D

Thanks and have a great night!

—===—

From the law:/dev/null archives on me going solo after graduation:

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4

Should I just go solo after graduation? (Part I)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 27, 2011 in The 3L Life

Good evening folks! Hope all of you had a very festive and delicious Thanksgiving holiday! :D

On my end I made the (academically questionable) decision to go visit Nan & Pops for a few days, followed by lunch with 雅雅 on Saturday and dinner with one of my former colleagues/employees from UNCASG on Saturday night. The times in between have been spent steadily working on law school homework1 but I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I needed to get done.

But frankly I also needed the mental break so I’ll accept the scholastic consequences :beatup:

Part of the holiday conversations included the $700.00 I have to shell out to the NC Board of Law Examiners on the 1st of this coming year,2 my current lack of paid employment for the Christmas break, and figuring out what I’m going to do after I’m graduated and licensed. Long-time readers of law:/dev/null might recall I was hoping to join the USMC JAG Corps before breaking my leg and failing the physical fitness test, with backup plans to go to Officer Candidate School during 2L summer getting shelved when I immersed myself in activities like SBA, trial team, and earning a decent GPA. I still like CrimLaw and could make a decent living as an ADA, but North Carolina’s finances are a mess and because of it there’s a glut of qualified applicants for few ADA openings.

So while I still plan on looking into the criminal prosecution route, I’ve recently found myself seriously marinating on something I had never seriously entertained before this year (seriously): should I just go solo after graduation?

The seed for that idea got planted in the week before the phenomenally successful (and first-ever) Speed Networking event that EIC and the SBA put together here at NCCU Law. Prof Ks asked when I was going to run for Governor because he was impressed with the stuff SBA had been doing; Prof PILO thought becoming a politician would be a waste of potential, and instead suggested I should “go be a CEO for one of these big corporations and make a ton of money” then become a philanthropist.

Both perfectly acceptable options… but neither involved being an ADA :crack:

Then about 3 weeks ago came the water, when over the course of that week I ended up getting 7 different requests for legal help that I had to forward to our legal clinic (2 drug arrests, a speeding ticket, a landlord/tenant dispute, a juvenile issue, a car contract / lemon law question, and patent/business idea inquiry). That’s on top of roughly a dozen or so various other requests I’ve referred to the Clinic over the past 2 years, along with the true oddities like getting calls for legal help from Mexico.

Granted, I know I wouldn’t have been competent to handle all of those issues even if I was licensed. But after years of meeting people through Student Government, UNCASG, and now the SBA, it reminded me that there are a lot of people with legal problems on any given day who need someone competent to advise them.

I’ve gotta get back to studying so I’ll clip the entry here, but I’ve designated it as “Part I” because I’ll be looking for feedback over the next couple months. Part II is in the queue, outlining some of the pros and cons I’ve already scribbled out when it comes to me potentially hanging a shingle after graduation.

Have a great night y’all, and good luck with the week ahead! :)

  1. Even foregoing watching the biggest comeback in NCSU football history  :cry: []
  2. And the extra +$125.00 to take the essay portion on the bar exam on a computer :roll:   []

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Weird Sh*t in My Life #137

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 17, 2010 in The 2L Life

My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only received 3 international phone calls in my life.

One was to my family back when I was a kid, from my dad when he was deployed overseas with the United States Navy. Another was from QuietStorm when she studied abroad in the UK back in 2004. And the other one was…

…today :surprised:

In one of the most certifiably weird moments of my life, I was sitting at my desk during my lunch break at the internship when I got a phone call. From Mexico.

Given my history of being called for political polls and telemarketers and other wastes of time (and not knowing anyone who lives in Mexico) I decided to let it go to voicemail and if it was important they’d leave message.

Then they did :eek:

The first thought running through my mind was “This has gotta be a scam.” So I dialed my voicemail and started listening to the message.

The first words were “Hi Greg, my name is [Some Person].1 My [former spouse in a Midwestern state] and I want to hire you…” — at which point I thought definitely a scam :roll:  — “…for advice on how to help our [kid] at [a UNC-system institution].”

The caller left their Skype contact info, and also said they’d call me back in 30 minutes if I didn’t have Skype. A prospect which, being the still more-or-less-brand-new guy at the job, I figured was probably a bad idea since I wouldn’t be on my lunch break anymore when they called back.

So I fired up Skype and called them myself :crack:

Turns out the call was legit. Their kid is a highly-accomplished student facing the most serious penalty a university can provide, for what I’d consider a fairly minor (and notoriously common) offense… all due to the UNC system’s zero-tolerance “circumstances don’t matter” anti-drug policy. They were looking for background info on how the judicial process operates, what they should do as next steps, recommendations for attorneys in the area, and so on.

I’ll forgo the rest of the details and our conversation back-and-forth2 — I’ve got a rant about zero-tolerance policies for another day and time — but the crazy part is that so far as I’ve been able to tell I don’t know these folks, haven’t heard of them, and have no apparent connection to them of any kind beyond the fact the kid and I attend separate institutions in the same statewide University system.

And like a dummy I didn’t think to ask how they found me :beatup:

On the exceptionally-slim-but-nonzero chance the kid (or either of the parents) happen to read this entry, I hope things turn out better than they usually do for folks who find themselves in the crosshairs of the student conduct folks. And if they don’t, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome through patience and perseverance; very few punishments in life are permanent.

Consider: if they let someone like me get a degree, damn near anyone can do it… ;)

Just thought I’d share that particular oddity from my day :)  Have a good night everybody!

  1. I’m keeping genders and other identifying info ambiguous so these folks aren’t readily identifiable. []
  2. I respectfully declined the offer for payment since the meager non-legal help I provided wouldn’t do much good anyhow :beatup: []

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Straddling the fence

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 13, 2010 in The 2L Life

Hey everybody! :D

Way back during my (first-of-two) sophomore year at N.C. State, I had a classmate who was a transplant from England.1

He took great joy in coming up with as many bad puns, double entendres, and various other efforts at groan-inducing wordplay as he could, as a way of highlighting the differences between the way we talk here in the States and what he considered “proper” (read: British) English :roll:

Then one day I was carping about not knowing what to do with my slowly-imploding academic life, and without missing a beat he shot back:

“You can’t ride two asses with just one, T. Greg.”

His other weak attempts at witticism notwithstanding, that particular comment has stuck with me in the decade since he uttered it :beatup:

You’ve probably heard other formulations of it — “there’s no decision worse than indecision”, “if you can’t do everything at least do something”, “moving backwards is still moving”, etc etc etc — but the underlying point is still the same. We live in an increasingly risk-averse society (highlighted by our ever-expanding government “safety net”), people avoid making tough choices, and in the process our problems perpetuate themselves… and usually get worse over time.

Food for thought (I promise that's the last pun in this entry! :beatup: )

I got reminded of his remark this past week reading Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese?, a book I was given at my new internship doing legal work with the tech folks I mentioned last month. The book’s a quick read at a svelte 74 pages and the story is a bit (pardon the pun) cheesy.  But it packs a lot in those few short pages. Definitely read it if you get a chance.

Anyhow, the point of that belabored windup to this blog entry is that the book got me thinking about my classmate’s comment, which in turn got me thinking about my own future career plans…

…which in turn led me to discover I have no effing clue wtf I’m going to do with my life after getting this J.D. in 2012 :crack:

This time last year I just knew I was going into the USMC JAG Corps.  Then I ended up on crutches and went on to fail my Physical Fitness Test.  My heart still wants to do it, but I don’t think I’m willing to give up enough time in my other activities (SBA, trial team, potentially making Dean’s List) to really focus on getting in shape.

Even so, I figured it wasn’t a big deal because I just knew I was developing an affinity for CrimLaw and could make a decent living as an Assistant District Attorney.

And of course if that didn’t pan out I just knew there was academia and my “one of these days” goal of teaching2 something like Constitutional Law and/or Criminal Law and/or Evidence at some indeterminate point in the future, a prospect that got reinforced when I locked up a CrimLaw tutoring gig for next semester.

But then out of the blue this internship with I-Cubed opened up, giving me a chance to delve into technology-related law too. The people I’ve met and the company in general both seem pretty doggone cool so far… even though I feel like I’m already behind schedule on my deliverables despite steadily grinding since I started last Thursday3 :surprised:

Completely different areas of law, completely different sets of pros and cons, completely different pay scales — and that’s not even including any other options I haven’t been exposed to yet since I’ve still got 1.5 years of law school left to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a good predicament to have. I’m just flummoxed trying to figure out what I want to do, so I can (as Johnson puts it in the book) head out into the proverbial maze in search of my own cheese.

Anyhow, I think that’s quite enough angst for one entry :)  If anyone’s got any compelling insights feel free to share them — and if not, I hope all of you have an amazing week! :D

  1. The same guy who always called me a “queer bird” whenever we talked politics. []
  2. Scroll down to Item #23 on that link []
  3. Though I’m sure a chunk of that is from time spent in the law library trying to not f*ck up on real-world work involving my worst 1L subject :beatup: []

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2

#PFTfail

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 3, 2010 in Fail

That make-or-break PFT I mentioned ended up more on the “break” side of the spectrum :beatup:

Before I can head to Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps, I need a passing score among pullups, crunches and a 3 mile run. Each section is worth a max of 100 points apiece (max of 20 pullups, 100 crunches, 18min on the run) and a passing score is 240 of 300.

And for the however-many-th time, I continue to be thwarted by the 3mi run :mad:  It took me an embarrassing 32:02: netting me -0- points, and meaning no OCS for me this summer.1

Now none of this was particularly surprising — I mentioned to you back in January that I might have to push back a year — but it’s incredibly frustrating. Just about everything I’ve tried to do in life has used GPA or some similar criteria as the bar to admission. This is the first time I’m trying to do something and it’s my physical condition stopping me :beatup:

I’m trying to take solace in the fact I shaved 4.5 minutes off my time from my last PFT. But even at the peak of my physical fitness in high school, where playing basketball was a bigger part of my life than doing homework, a 10-minute mile was a miracle — no clue howtf I’m going to do 3 of them back-to-back-to-back in 8min apiece or less :crack:

For at least the next few weeks though I get to push it out of my mind.  Need to focus on studying for finals, wrapping up the UNCASG presidency, and finding a job.

If you happen to be hiring any slightly overweight, modestly balding 1Ls with an affinity for technology and a slow 3mi runtime, let me know ;)

  1. Interestingly enough, 2 of the folks I took the PFT with were both people I met in NCSU’s Student Government years ago. Another reminder not to burn your bridges! []

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Drifting towards CrimLaw

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

It was only a couple weeks into law school when I first wrote that CivPro had become my favorite class, an opinion that endured throughout the semester.

CrimLaw has quickly displaced Torts at #2 on my list… and as the semester continues I’m pretty sure this is where I want to spend my career :)

I fumbled at the start of class today when Professor CrimLaw asked me to detail the 4 types of homicide under the common law — totally forgot about involuntary manslaughter :beatup: — but later in the class we got into Justice Blackmun’s dissent in Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994).

Prof. CrimLaw asked what I took out of the dissent, which I characterized as Blackmun “whining” about the death penalty. That opened the door for a class-wide discussion on capital punishment… where I ended up being the only one to openly support executing murderers :crack:

My once-hostile philosophy on the death penalty notwithstanding,1 the debate itself was engaging. Even in CivPro I’m rarely more than half-certain on my opinions in class discussion; that percentage is far lower in something like Ks. But CrimLaw seems intuitive and comes naturally (at least thus far).

I was already planning on going the public service route in the Marine Corps, and had developed a growing interest in being a litigator from the Kilpatrick-Stockton competition last month. The downside of course is that it doesn’t pay much, but it’s one of the most direct ways for me to help improve my community. I’d argue that’s well worth the pay differential :)

My opinion might change after taking Evidence, but for now I think this is what I’ll be doing for a living :D I’ll keep you posted over the next couple years ;)

  1. Personally, I found Scalia’s concurrence in Callins persuasive on the legal justification for the death penalty, and the 4 men who raped an 11-year-old girl and killed her by stuffing her panties down her throat persuasive on the moral justification. See the fact background in State v. McCollum, 334 N.C. 208 (1993). []

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2

Summer uncertainty looming…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 19, 2010 in The 1L Life

For those of you who are relatively new readers here at law:/dev/null — probably coming from Facebook if the log stats are to be believed :) — I’ve been planning on spending my summer in Quantico to attend Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps. Hoping to become a Judge Advocate in the USMC was one of my motivations in choosing NCCU Law over some higher-ranked alternatives, even meriting inclusion as 1 of my 3 resolutions for the new year.

But it’s looking like I might have to wait until 2011 :(

I’ve known from the beginning that the biggest challenge getting into OCS has been physical fitness, largely rooted in the fact I’ve spent the years since high school doing minimal exercise.  I got back into a workout routine when I returned to N.C. State in 2005… only to break my left fibula playing basketball 2 days before the Spring 2006 semester started :beatup:

By the time I was off crutches back then, I was deep into Student Government and working full-time between being a lobbyist downtown and a TA for CSC116 on campus.

That lack of exercise continued until this past July, when I started a workout routine with some 2Ls and 3Ls heading to OCS this summer. I was making quasi-decent progress but developed a stress fracture from overexertion (apparently my left leg is not a fan of exercise :mad: ). I tried to keep up with various upper- and lower-body exercises that didn’t require the use of my leg, and started brisk walking late last month.  But after finally making it out to the track yesterday for my first “real” run, my time has really fallen off a cliff and I’m back at August levels.

The 1stLt who’s helping me train suggested I wait until next summer for OCS so I can be in better physical condition and have fewer mental distractions (UNCASG, surviving 1L, etc), and my OSO wants a “no bullshit assessment” in 2 weeks on whether I’m going to proceed or wait.

So… yeah.

The stubborn side of me says to stay the course, even though I know I’m risking another injury if I try to ramp up too quickly on the physical training. The pragmatist says it’s better to wait and succeed than to go too soon and risk getting booted for being out of shape.

And both sides of me wonder wtf I’m going to do this summer if I change my plans :surprised:

Summer associateship applications should have gone out weeks ago. There’s a neat study abroad program in Costa Rica that I’d love to do, but at $5K+ it’s entirely too pricy unless there’s some massive financial aid $$ available. And the General Assembly had some intern openings in the Research Division that my legislative contacts wanted me to pursue, but that closed on Friday.

So whatever the decision, I have no clue what my summer is going to look like. Normally uncertainty doesn’t bother me, but for some reason it’s really got me in a slightly restive mood at the moment.

We’ll see what happens. Have a good night folks!

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