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Law school has made me an extremist…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 24, 2011 in The 3L Life

…at least with respect to my learning style :beatup:

Way back during 1L Orientation in August 2009, all of us were given a survey to help figure out how we best absorbed information — basically imagine a Myers-Briggs test for learning instead of personality.  My results were heavily tilted toward “kinesthetic” learning at 67%, meaning essentially that I learn best by doing something first and then refining it as needed.1  My secondary learning style was visual at 25% (learning by seeing), then down at the bottom I had a smidgen of preference for aural learning at 8%.

Well earlier today was counselor training for NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp that we have each summer for 7th-11th graders, and we were given the exact same test from Orientation.

And I’m now even more out-of-sync with how law school teaches people :crack:

My “learning by doing” preference has climbed to 83%, “learning by seeing” has dropped to 17%, and — you’ll notice those two numbers add up to 100% — my “learning by hearing” has dropped to 0%. So in a nutshell I get pretty much nothing at all out of attending the usual lecture-style classes and am better off teaching things to myself through some kind of interactive method.2

I’m not sure if my law school experience has pushed me in this direction or if I was already headed that way and law school just accelerated the process, but it makes me that much more eager for the May 2012 end of my formal education to get here so I can knock out the bar exam and start really learning stuff…

That’s it from me tonight y’all, have to get up early tomorrow to start studying for this Intellectual Property exam — have a great night! :D

  1. Kinesthetic learners are the types of folks who get furniture from IKEA and just start putting it together without consulting the directions or asking how it’s done.  In the law school context, we prefer things like clinical work (usually) or trial team competitions… basically the exact opposite of traditional law school teaching methods :beatup: []
  2. Which actually explains some of my grades this past year, since my highest grade in the Spring was an A- in the interactive Trial Practice class (even with being held in contempt), and my highest grade in the Fall was an A in the ZombieLaw class I taught myself in the days before the exam. []

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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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Quick look at Summer 2011 classes

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 21, 2011 in The 2L Life

One of the downsides to still having no clue what I want to do after I pass the bar is that I’ve got a long list of classes I’m still interested in taking and not enough time to actually take them.

Summer 2011: A little bit of everything

Soooo I decided to sign up for my 6th consecutive year of summer school classes :beatup:

You can get a sense of my indecisiveness just from the course subjects:

  • Plea Bargaining: Taught by the same professor who taught my ADR Practices course (and from whom I earned my first bona fide A in law school), I’m taking this class to complement the other coursework I’ve already knocked out if I end up going the criminal prosecution route.1 My uneducated guess is that this will be functionally similar to the other ADR courses I took last year, but with a negotiating eye focused more toward evidence and admissibility issues to provide the leverage in negotiations.
  • Intellectual Property: On the other end of the “what am I going to do with my life?” spectrum, this class will be my first dip into the intellectual property side of things to see if I’d actually like it. NCCU Law has a fairly wide array of IP-related courses — in addition to this one and the USPTO Clinic below, we’ve got courses on patents, licensing and technology transfers, bioethics, and several others — that I never really considered taking until I got an internship in the tech arena. So I’m figuring I need to perform some due diligence and see if this could be an enjoyable option for me ;)
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Practice & Procedure: Since my undergrad degree was in computer science, I’m able to sit for the patent bar without any further technical education if I decide to take it. This course is the classroom prerequisite for anyone taking our USPTO Clinic in the Fall/Spring, so I wanted to get some exposure to how the USPTO works just in case I decide to dabble in IP. It’s only 1 credit and taken pass/fail but will (hopefully) provide some useful insights.
  • Civil Rights: Like my Race & the Law class last summer, this is one of those courses I’m taking just because the subject matter is interesting to me. Where Race & the Law focused on the modern Constitutional implications of our country’s historical race-centric jurisprudence, Civil Rights takes a look at the Constitutional questions surrounding federal civil rights litigation.2 It’s definitely a hot topic here in North Carolina, from the new school assignment policies of the Wake County School Board, to upcoming legislative redistricting by the state’s first Republican-led legislature since Reconstruction, and a variety of other issues in between. It’s actually got me thinking about pursuing our law school’s concentration in civil rights and constitutional law. Should be fun :)

Time-wise, the schedule is somewhat similar to what I took last summer with late afternoon and night classes on Monday / Tuesday / Thursday. The upshot is that there’s no Friday or weekend classes like I had with ADR last year, so that gives me time to catch up on anything I need to catch up on. It also leaves me free during the day once I figure out what I’m going to do internship-wise, be it heading back to I-Cubed or working pro bono for a local DA’s office (or something else entirely).

It should be an interesting summer :D

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From the schedule-related archives:

  1. Already taken CrimLaw and Evidence, in CrimPro now, and will be taking our Criminal Prosecution Clinic in the Fall and Spring. []
  2. Causes of action, jurisdiction, standing, class actions, and so on. []

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