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Week #68 in Review

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 27, 2010 in Weekend Roundup

I disappeared again, sorry! :beatup:

Out of the 144 weeks from the time Orientation started until I get my J.D. in May 2012, something about the 2-day class week before Thanksgiving triggers a feeling of “omgwtfshootmeplzkthxu”.

Out of curiosity I checked the law:/dev/null archives for this same time last year, and sure enough there was this entry on panic setting in before finals. I’ve got the same feeling a year later, so blogging took a back seat for the week.

But, today was game day again — which means I got absolutely nothing productive accomplished and could properly get things updated here. Plus it gave me an excuse to tag an entry for the Weekend Roundup category for the first time since Week 8 ;)

Here’s a week-in-review look back at what’s happened in my life over the past 7 days:

  • As I hinted before my disappearance, last Saturday was spent with 雅雅 as we watched the N.C. State Wolfpack stage an amazing comeback to defeat the Baby Blue Powder Puffs of the University of Non-Compliance at Cheater Haven — for the 4th time in 4 years :D We ended up winning by a score of 29-25, which included one of the most improbable touchdown catches I’ve ever seen in college football; check around the 2:13 mark of this NCSU-UNX highlight videofor the whole play. After the requisite celebrating and trash-talking, we headed out to go see Harry Potter VII Part I… and I was generally unimpressed. No hate mail please :P

    My SBA colleague after her team lost last week

  • Got to spend Sunday afternoon picking out a Wolfpack shirt for the SBA secretary, who happens to (1) be a UNCCH graduate and (2) have an affinity for making outlandish bets on losing sports teams ;)  The rest of the day was used to revise my brief in opposition to the State’s motion in limine for DV Law, then frantically figuring out what on Earth I was going to say during oral arguments.
  • Monday was compartmentalized into three distinct phases. Oral arguments took place Monday morning and turned out fairly well, even though I didn’t get to use several of the pre-packaged zingers I had prepared just in case :(  The afternoon was spent being annoyed about this UNCASG news piece in the Daily Tar Heel — and for once it wasn’t because of what the DTH printed. Bear in mind there is nothing at all whatsoever in any of ASG’s governing documents that dictates what amount (if any) officers have to be paid, yet these people are amending its Constitution and eliminating a constitutionally-mandated financial oversight position, purportedly to save money they’re not required to pay in the first place. “We mismanaged our budget, so let’s eliminate one of the key people responsible for making sure we don’t mismanage our budget” is the unspoken message being sent to the UNC Board of Governors and the other political players in North Carolina.1 :crack: Then Monday night was right here in front of the laptop banging away at my last Legal Letters assignment of the semester until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Tuesday was my very last Legal Letters class ever, which called for celebration.  Even though the professor was cool the material was just mind-numbingly bland and no amount of caffeine / cash / illegal narcotics could keep someone awake in it :beatup:  I also had an interview with the tech company I mentioned last week, which I think went well but honestly I’m not sure; I’m supposed to get a call this coming week with a thumbs up or thumbs down. The prospect of getting the job has me insanely nervous because everything I’ve done up until this point has either been trivially easy2 or difficult-but-practically-a-hobby.3 This would be a combination of being totally new, probably difficult, and sufficiently not-a-hobby that I’d be fired if I screw up. Which I don’t think I will, but you get the point. I’ve always been a high-risk/high-reward type of person, but I still get butterflies in my stomach in the process…
  • In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I used Wednesday to finally clean my apartment thoroughly for the first time since the semester started getting crazy. Washed all my clothes, cleaned up the wasteland that was quickly becoming my kitchen, and so on. Stocked up on food for the holiday, donated $$ I didn’t have to the Durham Rescue Mission to help those who aren’t as lucky as I am, then went home, put all the food away… and ended up falling asleep in the recliner watching TV :oops:
  • Thursday of course was Thanksgiving. It was only me this year, but I was blessed to have a handful of folks offer up their own meals if I wanted them — I declined though, because I wanted to experiment with cooking my very first turkey without potentially killing anyone ;)  It turned out well for a first attempt4 so I was happy. Followed that up with the obligatory mashed potatoes and gravy, some steamed broccoli and cheese,5 and a few rolls. The only downside is that I will be eating turkey-related leftovers for weeks :sick:  In between cooking and eating, also spent about 8 (non-contiguous) hours sending personalized text messages to folks wishing them a happy Thanksgiving. Maybe a little crazy, but cheaper than sending a bunch of holiday greeting cards no one reads…
  • And then yesterday was pretty much spent banging my head against the desk in the hope that something useful would fall out for this Evidence memo due on Monday. It’s ostensibly optional extra credit, but when (1) you’re graded on a curve and (2) a majority of your classmates are going to turn something in, “optional” isn’t really optional :beatup:  I’m in the position of defense counsel in a criminal case (sound familiar?) trying to block the State’s effort to get evidence introduced under FRE 404(b) about prior bad acts allegedly committed by my client. The only problem is that pretty much every case I’ve found that holds any weight for this particular factual scenario says the evidence needs to come in, and the more exotic theories I’ve come up with are even more thoroughly refuted :mad:  I’m going to come up with something, but doggone it I hate making losing arguments…

NC State got Ron Cherry'd on UMD's 4th and 1

Which brings us to today. My Wolfpack disgraced themselves in College Park, Maryland, losing to the Terrapins by 31-38. We actually played far worse than the box score indicates, scoring 14 points in the first 9 minutes and 14 points in the last 4 minutes — making only a 3-point field goal during the 47 minutes in between. NC State got screwed when Maryland was given a first down they didn’t earn on 4th and 1 with under a minute left (see the photo), but the truth is we played so horribly that we pretty much deserved to lose anyway.

I’m not in a position to complain since I predicted we’d end the season at 7-5 and we’re actually 8-4, so I’m just gonna be happy with our bowl game and look forward to next season :spin:

The rest of this evening has been spent trading critiques with EIC about our various papers due tomorrow (Evidence and DVLaw for me, both of those plus Race and the Law for her). And finally writing this blog entry :D

All in all it’s been a good week… and now exams are upon us :eek:  GOOD LUCK to everyone facing finals, and if you have a few prayers to spare feel free to send them my way ;)

  1. And that’s not even touching the fact they’ve supposedly burned through more money in less time than I did during either of my two terms, despite me making over 115+ separate campus visits in addition to the group setting three separate attendance records while making do with more-expensive travel options (reimbursing rental cars over paying straight IRS mileage rates) and a smaller budget. And yes, I realize I’m retired and at some point I really should stop caring, but considering massive tuition hikes are on the horizon for everybody it’d be nice if the students’ representatives could get their act together… []
  2. Paralegal work, teaching Intro to Java, etc. []
  3. Being a research intern at the Legislature, leading the single most-distinguished student deliberative assembly ever conceived in the State of North Carolina, etc. []
  4. Ever-so-slightly overcooked, but nothing a little gravy couldn’t fix :beatup:  Also, props to Butterball for having mini-turkeys for small Thanksgiving meals :D []
  5. My first time cooking broccoli too! []

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Anyone heard of LSI or TFAS?

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

Good evening y’all! :)

I’ve had this backlog of entries I’m working on, but concluded earlier today they’re never going to get posted. Sorry :beatup:

Time has just been in short supply here lately. Back on Friday I helped judge the tryouts for the 1L Trial Team,1 Saturday was a rough day emotionally,2 Sunday was Halloween, Monday had class all day, today was class and Election Day,3 tomorrow’s got a dentist appointment then class then a guest speaker at NCCU Law, Thursday’s got a motion in limine due in the morning and a philanthropy dinner with EIC in the evening, then at some point Friday I might conceivably be able to get everything knocked out… at which point I’d probably be a few entries behind again.

So I decided rather than work on the backlog, I’d just let it all slide and try to get back into a one-post-per-day habit again for more than a week at a time ;)

On that note: have any of you ever heard of the Legal Studies Institute or The Fund for American Studies?

One of my professors forwarded me an email yesterday to check it out, and even offered to “nominate” me for the program (whatever that entails). But as I’m looking through their website all I see is me having to pay $$$ — something I’m not interested in doing, and don’t have the finances to do even if I was. I’ve also tried poking around Google for more information but have yet to find any comments or testimonials or anything from actual attendees that isn’t also sponsored by LSI/TFAS themselves.

Any of y’all have any insights or thoughts? Would this program be worth my time (and potential expense), or should I stick to finding an internship in one of the DA’s offices around here?

Comments are appreciated :)  Thanks in advance, and have a great night! :D

  1. I was impressed with the 1Ls, but some of the tackiness on display by a few judges really killed my interest in doing 2L/3L trial team myself ::sigh:: []
  2. Featuring a less-than-cheerful convo with 雅雅 []
  3. Looks like Republicans will be taking over both chambers of the state legislature for the first time since the late-19th century :surprised: []

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Making lemons into lemonade

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 7, 2010 in The 2L Life

Hey everybody :)

One of the bundle of long-delayed entries I posted Wednesday mentioned the totally crazy TYLA fact set we were given for NCCU Law‘s 2L Opening Statement competition held by the Trial Advocacy Board.

I finally got the video from my performance to see where I need to improve, and thankfully things didn’t turn out as disastrous as I thought they did at the time. It’s posted below for your amusement in case anyone’s interested.

Just for sport, see if you can spot the moment when I realized I left something out and would have to work it back in on the fly :beatup:

If you want to check out the fact pattern for the case, complete with the autopsy report, download “Cori Harbour Cañas v. Jody Hamer, M.D.” from this URL at tyla.org.

Hope y’all enjoy :) I’m off to bed so I can take a tour of the Durham County Jail tomorrow with EIC and some other folks from my DV Law class. Have a great night! :D

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And litigators do this everyday??

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 18, 2010 in The 2L Life

Ugh.

That’s how I felt after today’s (9:00am) 2L Opening Statement Competition for the Trial Advocacy Board. This annual event is similar to the competition the T.A.B. used for determining who made the 1L Trial Team, and is held in tandem with the 3L Closing Argument Competition for figuring out which lucky folks get to represent NCCU Law for the law school’s official TYLA and AAJ teams.

The facts for the 2L competition were total garbage. It was an old TYLA civil case, as opposed to the criminal cases usually done in the past. It had a dead judge (the victim), his money-grubbing whore of a wife (the Plaintiff / my client :beatup: ), an equally money-grubbing incompetent of a doctor (the Defendant), the list goes on.

Oh, and my client’s claim? She’s suing for wrongful death, since her husband died from taking nitrates and Viagra at the same time because the doctor spent a whopping 6 minutes with him when he sought medical help (just enough time to diagnose the judge… with a cold).

The Defendant’s defense? My client’s lawyer-boyfriend killed the judge by beating him over the head with a trophy :crack:   Or in the alternative that the judge was contributorily negligent for taking nitrates and Viagra simultaneously.

Needless to say I’m not happy with a case I’m not convinced I could win if it were a real trial.

Then on top of it I let myself get sidetracked with other stuff (CLE, Constitution Day, poker night, etc) so I don’t actually write the opening until around 2am this morning.1 After we got the facts over a week ago.

Stupid of me, I know.

But I get it done and think it’s pretty good, so I’m happy-ish. Then I grab a reasonable amount of sleep under the circumstances and even eat a full breakfast before the competition, so all is right with the world.

Until I actually get to school :beatup:

I’m the last competitor to go, and the 1.5ish hours spent waiting is just enough time for my nerves to go into full-blown panic mode. My hands are freezing. I’m sweating profusely.2 And I have a splitting headache.

Compounding the anxiety: the best of the best 2Ls are in this competition. There are my friends Top Gun3 and Luca,4 who both edged me out in the 1L Closing competition.5 There’s Co-Counsel, among the 4 people who beat me in the 1L opening competition. Most of the 1L trial team is here. Even Madame Prosecutor is making her first T.A.B. competition debut, as well as my friend EIC.

I pace the halls for about 20 minutes and manage to relax a bit, and when it’s actually my turn things go fairly well…

…until about 3 minutes in, when I completely forget one of those key bullet points I was supposed to bring up…

…and since it’s not vital to the opening, no one notices it was missing…

…including me.

The problem? About a minute later, one of the bullet points (that I remember) makes sense only if mentioned in reference to that earlier bullet point (that I forgot). So my eyes bulge out of my head around the 4-minute mark as it dawns on me that I forgot, and I completely screw up the flow of the ending to wedge it in, at which point I start talking a-mile-a-minute because I just know I’m going to end up losing points for running over the 5-minute time limit…

I talk so fast, in fact, that I finish right around 4:20. With a whole 40 seconds left on the clock :beatup:

It was rough.

And I still have a headache.

After last year’s two performances, I was looking for some vindication this time around. We have to wait all the way until the end of March to find out where we finish so it’ll be awhile until I know if I got it, but at this point I’m just glad it’s over :)  I’ll post the video for y’all as soon as we’re allowed to see them :D

Until then have a great night!

  1. “Write” is a bit of a misnomer. I write the first sentence and the last sentence (ideally something pithy for both), then just jot down key bullet points that I can talk about extemporaneously on trial day. Remember that, because it’s an important point in a couple paragraphs… []
  2. While in a suit :sick: []
  3. First in our 1L class []
  4. “The only man Vito Corleone feared. And vice versa.” []
  5. Interesting side note: all 3 of the finalists for the 1L Mary Wright Closing Argument competition are alumni of N.C. State University, with our respective majors in chemistry, philosophy, and computer science. At least we all got our money’s worth :D []

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