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I PASSED!!! :D

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 6, 2011 in NotFail

I know I usually wait to post entries until right before bed, but the November 2011 MPRE scores just came out…

…and I’m officially ethical enough to practice in any state in the country! :surprised: :crack: :D

Yay passing things!

Words cannot adequately convey how abjectly terrified I was when I walked out of the testing center expecting that I’d have to repeat the test again in February. I’m talking downright turrfied.1

Thankfully all that stressing out was for nothing ::wipes brow::

Granted the score’s not exactly anything to write home about; the MPRE’s on a 150-pt scale, so basically I got a flat D if this were done on a traditional grading scale.

But I don’t care because now I’ve only got those minor speed bumps of “graduation” and “barzam”2 standing between myself and a law license! :spin:

That’s all for now, I’m still on finals grind mode and don’t really have time to type more. Have a great night y’all, and *CONGRATULATIONS* to all the other law school folks out there who passed! :D

  1. Though candidly I was more worried about the extra $$$ required than the implication that I wasn’t competent enough to pass :beatup: []
  2. With its $700 bar application fee and +$125 extra-fee-to-use-ExamSoft-just-because fee… :mad: []

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NCCU Law Legal Eagles sweep mediation competition!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 14, 2011 in NotFail

Good evening y’all! :)

Apparently mediation-related competitions exist in the law school arena? Definitely news to me :beatup:

And the only reason I found out is because two Legal Eagles from NCCU Law took 1st and 2nd place in one of them! :D From the “Well this is something cool to get in my email inbox on a Monday morning” files (via this story at University of Houston Law Center):

North Carolina mediators sweep Abrams Competition

Nov. 14, 2011 – Leah Leone of the North Carolina Central University School of Law has taken the top honor at the Jeffry S. Abrams National Mediation Competition, held Nov. 11-12 at the University of Houston Law Center. As the winner, Leone received the Frank Evans Mediator Scholarship award, valued at $2,000.

Jeffry S. Abrams (L) and 1st place winner Leah Leone of NCCU Law (R)

“This has been an amazing experience for me,” Leone said. “From start to finish, the competition has taught me so much. The insight I gained and the lessons I have learned here in the great state of Texas from my competitors and all the judges has been invaluable.”

Presented by the Blakely Advocacy Institute and sponsored by distinguished Houston mediator and UH Law Center alumnus Jeffry S. Abrams, the competition allowed top law students nationwide to put their mediation skills to the test before a team of judges.

“The competition went very well. There were 11 student mediators and the national reach of the competition was evidenced by the fact that students from California (UC-Hastings) to New York (St. John’s) were in attendance. The competitors, and coaches, were high in their praise of the competition, stating that the opportunity to learn from experienced mediators (as judges) in the competition context was one of the best experiences of their law school career,” said Jim Lawrence, Blakely Advocacy Institute Director.

The final rounds saw Leone and Valoree Hanson, a student mediator also from the North Carolina Central University School of Law, being judged by Abrams; Tom Newhouse, University of Houston Law Center Professor emeritus; and the Hon. Frank Evans, generally recognized as the father of ADR in Texas. NCCU School of Law Professor Mark Morris was Leone’s and Hanson’s coach. Leone and Hanson came in a respective first and second place in the competition. Henson received the Jeffry S. Abrams Mediator Scholarship Award, which is valued at $500.

UH Law Center students presently do not compete in the Abrams competition.

The Abrams competition is designed to run in parallel with the Law Center’s Tom Newhouse Mediation Competition, where UH Law Center students participate as advocate/client in mediation. These intramural participants serve as the parties to the mediation rounds for the national competition. Team members Garrett Gibson and Frank Carroll won the Tom Newhouse Mediation Competition.

Very cool, and CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Leone and Miss Hanson (and coach Prof ADR)! :spin:

Have a great night folks!

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Things TDot Likes: Exceptionalism

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 4, 2011 in Things TDot Likes

Not sure when that bullet-pointed update I mentioned is going to get posted, but this is one of the items I was going to add — and it really merits its own entry instead :)

From the “Ways to Feel Like an Underachieving Underachiever” file, check out this awesome story from the Raleigh News & Observer:1

Motivated 16-year-old enters NCCU law school
BY LANA DOUGLAS – ldouglas@newsobserver.com
Tags: University of Baltimore | Durham | eduation | Ty Hobson-Powell

One look at Ty Hobson-Powell and you may think that he is an average teenager.

N.C. Central University law student Ty Hobson-Powell, 16, with his trademark Washington Redskins hat, waits to see one of his law professors. HARRY LYNCH - hlynch@newsobserver.com

He likes to play basketball and video games; he even occasionally wastes time on Facebook and Twitter.

But Ty isn’t the average 16-year-old.

He began classes at N.C. Central University Law School in August after he became the youngest person to graduate from the University of Baltimore at age 15, finishing a four-year degree in two.

The average age of a daytime student at NCCU is 24, according to Linda Sims, associate dean for student services at NCCU school of law.

“I wouldn’t say that I always knew that I wanted to get finished early,” Ty said. “I can say that from a young age I was driven.”

When he was 3 years old, he learned how to read, write and speak Chinese.

“He’s always been a very above-average kid, but normal,” said Edwin Powell, Ty’s father. “The word ‘why’ was always in his vocabulary.”

His mother, Liz Hobson-Powell, describes him as always being “very inquisitive.”

Ty credits his success to motivation and having a semi-photographic memory.

“If I study very intensely for a week, I can remember some things word for word. For example, I remembered all of the elements of adverse possession in a week,” he said.

Ty’s three siblings also are accomplished.

His older sister graduated from high school at age 17 and college at age 19.

His two younger siblings, Quinn and Reid, also show promise in their areas of interest.

“(There was) no pushing force from our parents,” Ty said. “They just reinforced our passions and did everything in their power to help us achieve our goals.”

‘We’ve encouraged them’

Ty’s father is a professor at Howard University, and his mother is a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service.

“I would have to say that we’ve encouraged them and with all the strengths that they have and given them the tools to go out and do what it is they feel they would like to do,” Hobson-Powell said.

“I’ve always said to my kids, putting letters behind your name does not define success, but leaving behind a legacy and looking behind saying, ‘I’ve helped somebody,’ that’s how you define success,” Powell said.

Ty chose to go to school to become a defense attorney after he met someone from the Innocence Project, which works with people it believes have been wrongfully convicted.

“I want to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves,” he said.

“I chose NCCU Law School because it is rooted in the tradition of breeding lawyers that go out and help the community,” Ty said.

He also has a passion for public speaking. His message encourages students to capitalize on every opportunity they get and parents to help their children achieve success in whatever path they choose.

“I think it’s reasonable to believe that a lot more people could be where I am right now,” Ty said. “Hopefully, I can instill values in youth and even adults to go out and strive to be as good as they can.”

“In a non-cocky way, I want to make sure that there are more stories like mine, because there’s a lot of people like me and a lot of people with potential to be like me, but for whatever reason, be it lack of support at home or lack of drive from within, are not where I am currently,” he said.

After he graduates from NCCU, Ty says he may attend medical school or get into politics.

You can follow Ty Hobson-Powell on Twitter @TyTheOriginator.

Douglas: 919-932-2008

And I thought I was hot stuff when I started at N.C. State at 172:beatup:

Assuming this guy makes it through law school — and if you can master Mandarin at 3, I’m assuming NCCU Law‘s strict-C curve is a relative cakewalk — he’s going to have his education knocked out early enough to do pretty much whatever he wants and still make an absolute killing financially.

Remember the chart I put together on gauging whether law school was worth the expense if I worked the rest of my life as an ADA? Where I intentionally overstated the expenses and understated the revenues?

Mr. Hobson-Powell can start in that far right column at Year 1 instead of Year 7 if he chooses :crack:

I realize there are a ton of other factors at play of course: law is as much about life experience as raw knowledge, it’s a clique-ish profession based on relationships he still has to build, etc etc etc.  But the inescapable reality is this young man has some pretty amazing talent and a golden opportunity to chart whatever path he wants when he graduates.3

Hats off to him — I’m looking forward to counting him as a fellow Legal Eagle alum! :D

—===—

From the Things TDot Likes archives:

  1. I’ll ignore that the N&O somehow overlooked tagging this story with either their “N.C. Central University” or “NCCU Law School” tags, while it ensures using them to adorn every negative story relating to NCCU from a commencement speech to missing money to the Durham DA’s office… []
  2. To add even more contrast: he’s going to have his second degree finished by 19; I hadn’t even dropped out from earning my first one at that age :crack: []
  3. Not to mention a level of dedication I certainly didn’t have at his age about anything other than basketball and girls :beatup: []

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Weird Sh*t in My Life #219

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 6, 2011 in The 3L Life

As a 1L, there was the miraculously timed fire alarm when I was late for CivPro.

As a 2L, there was the random phone call from an expatriate in Mexico asking me for legal advice.

Now as a 3L, there was… a kitteh trapped in an engine :crack:

A few weeks ago I started jogging with a classmate to recover from exam-induced sedentariness. And with my Intellectual Property class stretching into the wee hours of the night Mondays / Tuesdays / Thursdays, that meant running on the illuminated gym track next to NCCU Law instead of the nature trail by my apartment.

We’re walking back to our cars afterwards and I notice I’m parked next to Co-Counsel. I also hear a very loud and very distressed-sounding “meow” coming from the front of her car — sufficiently loud and sufficiently distressed-sounding that, rather than a cat, I suspect one of my classmates is crouching behind the passenger side trying to play a prank of some kind :beatup:

I look around the vehicle and don’t see anyone behind it.  I look inside and don’t see anything moving. I look under and don’t see any thing at all.

Then I hear another meow.

Even though I’m a dog person and generally despise cats,1 I’m a big ol’ softie when it comes to animals in general so I was determined to figure out where this thing was at and make sure it wasn’t hurt.

Pretty sure kittehs don't come standard

Our security staff rolls up (as I’m on the ground looking like I’m about to boost someone else’s car) and I calmly explain there’s a cat somewhere. The officer gets out of his vehicle, looks at me like I’m crazy and need to be hauled in to jail… then hears a meow too.

Given the shape of this part of the lot, neither of us can get a good enough vantage point to figure out where the sound is coming from.  So the officer leaves to go get a stronger flashlight while I tell Co-Counsel there’s a cat in her car somewhere.

Then I kneel down by the passenger wheel, start looking around the wheel well with my keychain flashlight, and notice I can see inside the engine compartment itself… where I discover an orange-and-white striped cat looking absolutely pitiful :surprised:

Co-Counsel and Luca come down and Co-Counsel pops the hood, at which point we realize it’s a baby kitten that has somehow climbed so far into the engine compartment that it couldn’t get back out. There were too many cables and hoses to lift the kitten out from the top, but after some gentle nudging backwards it was able to move again and climbed down out of the car.

It ran across the parking lot so fast after it was free we didn’t even realize it was out of the car until we heard the same meow from 100 paces away. And the trio of us became kitteh-savers for the day :spin:

So that’s how my Monday went down :) I actually had a bona fide law entry ready to go for tonight, but it’ll have to be saved until later this week — have a great night y’all! :D

  1. When you come home to your dog, it says to you “You come home and you feed me, take care of me, love me — you must be a god!”  When you come home to your cat, it says to you “You come home and you feed me, take care of me, love me — I must be a god!” []

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The first grade of Fall 2010 is in…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 5, 2011 in NotFail

…and let’s just say I totally kicked ZombieLaw‘s ass :D

I’ll have the usual full rundown when the rest of the grades come in, but the deadline isn’t officially until January 12th so it’s gonna be awhile :beatup:

For now though I’m gonna enjoy in things turning out better than expected :spin:

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“I think I got him Chief.”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 18, 2010 in Randomness

Qualified for my concealed carry permit today :spin:

One of the things I enjoyed growing up in a military-heavy city and living in the South is that firearms have been a normal part of life. They’re not regarded as these mythical creatures with minds of their own to be avoided at all costs. They’re machines that serve a purpose — and should be respected accordingly — but just like automobiles and other tools they’re totally harmless without a human user behind them.

During the summer, the kids in my neighborhood would even gather up all the water guns we could find,1  split off into teams, and roam the neighborhood playing a game that was a cross of hide-and-seek and capture-the-flag. My first “real” water gun was even molded to look/function like a single-action Beretta (though painted bright orange so law enforcement wouldn’t confuse it for a real gun ;) ).

I don't think he's getting up :smoke:

But since moving to North Carolina I’ve eschewed firearms, since state law requires educational institutions to be Easy Target Zones and up until last year I lived on campus.2

Until, in a bit of serendipity, I discovered one of the 1Ls at NCCU Law is a former Chief of Police and firearms instructor. He mentioned he was running a concealed carry handgun training course out in Maiden so I signed up.

Though I didn’t realize at the time I’d have to leave around 4:30am to be there when it started :beatup:

After several hours of reliving through CrimLaw to get re-educated about when the use of deadly force in self-defense is justified under NC law, we headed out to the open-air shooting range. The actual qualification routine requires shooting 40 rounds from 7/5/3 yards in a certain timeframe, with at least 28 rounds hitting the target.

I was a little nervous since it was my first time firing a real handgun (in my case a .22 Ruger Mk I) instead of the fake Beretta from my youth… but it turned out pretty well.  Sufficiently so that I asked to try from 25 yards against one of their metal knockdown targets about half the width of the paper — and hit it 8-for-8 :surprised:

Where was this precision when I tried winning stuff at the State Fair? :mad:

Anyhow, now I’m back in Durham and get to go fill out a bunch of paperwork with the Durham County Sheriff’s Department before waiting a few months for my permit to come through. It was a fun day :D

I hope all of you have a great night — and check back tomorrow for a surprise :angel:

  1. This was before the abominations known as Super Soakers. You actually had to be a good shot in those days, not just have a parent willing to shell out $$$ to buy you a mobile aquarium you could strap on your back :roll: []
  2. Except for the years I was a dropout, when I couldn’t afford buying a gun anyway :beatup: []

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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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“Always record-breaking” :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 5, 2010 in Student Government

I’ve been a big fan of my colleagues in the NCCU Law Student Bar Association since we took office in April, and (surprisingly) we all still get along exceptionally well. Aside from one minor pseudo-controversy in May I can’t recall a single time where we’ve butted heads or couldn’t reach a consensus on something.

It’s definitely a fun experience.

But as much as I enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings, I’m a bigger fan of cold hard data — and earlier tonight we got confirmation this year’s SBA is pretty awesome, raising over $4,400+ for the first quarter of our fiscal year :D

That’s not only a 53.6% spike over the year-ago quarter, but a spike that came despite a shrinking student body due to funding cuts by the North Carolina General Assembly.

And based on the records I’ve been given, I’m pretty sure it’s an all-time record for us1 :spin:

We’ve still got three quarters to go of course, but things are turning out pretty well so far — and that’s $4K more we’re now able to give out in student organization appropriations that don’t have to come from student fees ;)

Hope all of you had a great day too, and have a good night! :)

  1. The title of this post is from a November 2009 UNCASG meeting in response to the 38-year attendance record we set then, after setting all-time records for several other metrics since I had taken office in July 2008. Then-SBP Jasmin Jones of UNC Chapel Hill exclaimed “We’re always record-breaking at something!”… and it has since turned into a dismissive gag response any time I talk about setting a record at anything. :beatup: []

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NCCU listed among Top 10 HBCUs

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

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with The Atlanta Post, but it’s essentially a website blending both news aggregation and original content geared to “inform, educate, and motivate African-Americans.” Even if you’re not part of TAP’s target demographic, there’s plenty of info on the site worth a read.

One example is their listing (published yesterday) of the Top 10 historically black colleges and universities in the country. There are roughly 90ish four-year HBCUs spread across 21 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and about 40 of them are public institutions.

And only 1 public HBCU made TAP’s Top 10 list.

I’d tell you who it was, but you probably already guessed ;) From the full entry at the Atlanta Post:

The only public college in this top-ten list, North Carolina Central University represents an unbeatable opportunity for prospective students to receive a high quality education at only a tiny fraction of the price of other similarly-ranked institutions. With a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, professional, and doctorate degree tracks, NCCU has something to appeal to everyone, including Business and Law programs and ample hands-on research opportunities. Overall, North Carolina Central University offers an unparalleled cost-benefit ratio among HBCUs, making it an attractive option for anyone reluctant to accrue large debts yet not wanting to compromise education quality.

Tack this on top of National Jurist magazine ranking NCCU Law as the #1 Best Value in the country :)

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UNCASG Wins Student Tax Repeal!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 29, 2010 in Student Government

Hey everybody! :D

Earlier today the North Carolina General Assembly gave preliminary approval to the state budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year — and included among the provisions is a repeal of the 8% student tax that I’ve mentioned in several entries here at law:/dev/null.

With the repeal soon to be final (a 2nd vote happens tomorrow), I wrote up a Facebook note with a chart in it. If you’re on Facebook, feel free to check out the original entry here. You should be able to access it even if we’re not Facebook friends… and if in the process you get the sudden urge to become an FB friend, you’re more than welcome to do so ;)

The note appears below in its entirety:

[Note: by default I’m tagging the ASG President and senior leadership, the NCSU SBOs, and a few extra people on the side. If you don’t want to be tagged in future editions of T Greg’s Tomes, just shoot me a Facebook message :) -TGD]

====================
Past Editions of T Greg’s Tomes:

====================

T Greg’s Tomes: UNCASG saves students $8.6M+ (a 4,019% return on investment!)

Folks who regularly read T Greg’s Tomes know I don’t exactly get along with student media, particularly the perpetual (and perpetually sophomoric) foolishness-disguised-as-punditry that emanates from the conservative-leaning Editorial Board at the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel (see Exhibit A and Exhibit B and Exhibit C and Exhibit D and Exhibit E and Exhibit F and Exhibit G).

I’m eagerly awaiting whatever backwards spin will get applied to this story now that UNCASG has saved students millions of dollars for the 2nd year in a row…

Earlier today the NC General Assembly gave preliminary approval to the 2010-11 state budget, which includes a repeal of the 8% student tax that was adopted in August 2009 (see line 32 on page 47 of the budget bill) — a repeal the delegates and officers of UNCASG spent most of our last session successfully getting enacted through in-person lobbying, phone calls, emails, and a Tuition Petition signed by over 22,000+ students.

Now even if we just count in-state undergraduates (since anything more complex wouldn’t fit into the graphic below), our work saved University students over $8,642,722.64. Compared to the $1/student fee that funds UNCASG’s budget, that’s a 4,019% return on students’ investment — meaning UNCASG could do absolutely nothing at all for the next 40 years, and students would still be better off financially than they would have been without the group’s work.

Or, put another way, the $1 fee could have been implemented on the very day UNCASG was created on September 22, 1972 and students would still be saving money.

I took the liberty of putting together the table below for everyone’s information and usage, compiling the tuition increase rates from the General Assembly, the Board of Governors alternative rates, and the FTE UG resident enrollment at each institution.

UNCASG wins $8.6M+ in savings

And remember the savings are actually more than this, because 100% of the tuition being paid will now go back to the universities where it belongs instead of going to the state’s General Fund.

For folks who question why I’ve dedicated the past 4 years to UNCASG and the NCSU Student Senate, this is why: in just the past 2 years alone — last year we helped repeal a similar student tax slated for 2009-10 — Student Government leaders have saved UNC system students over $25,730,590.64.

Overall, not a bad deal for the $2 apiece we each paid in. Remember that next time someone complains about your student leaders — and seriously think about becoming one of those leaders yourself ;)

And since I’m a big fan of data and tables, I also made another table showing those added-up savings over the past 2 years as a result of UNCASG’s work. Here are the results:

Savings over 2 years: $25.7M+

Now this isn’t a total victory of course. The authorization for an additional $750/student tuition increase I mentioned to y’all was included in the final budget bill, and odds are roughly 100% that every University in the system will jump on the chance to hike tuition under that authorization. So I don’t expect any UNCCH students, for example, to be grateful for paying $950 instead of $990.

But there are precious few total victories in life, and if that $40 (or $259.60 @ ECU) enables someone to stay in school who otherwise might have to drop out, I’ll consider it a success.

Especially when a budget of $215K saved students over $25.7M ;)

Have a great night y’all! :)

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