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I MADE DEAN’S LIST!!! ::happydance::

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 18, 2011 in NotFail

I did it y’all! :eek:

Ever-so-slightly lower than what I was hoping to get, but high enough to get me where I wanted: 3.333 for the semester, bringing me up to 3.026 overall — and making the NCCU Law Dean’s List! :eek:

On a C curve! :eek:

For the first time since 2005!1 :spin:

Sorry I’ve been gone y’all, life’s been crazy — a bunch of semi-drafted posts to upload at some point this week2 including a thorough semester review too. Have a great night! :D

  1. And only the 2nd time since my junior year of high school… in 1996 []
  2. Assuming any of you are actually still around to read this entry :beatup: []

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It was a trap :(

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 7, 2011 in Fail

Got my Evidence grade today.

The good vibes from ZombieLaw were a trap :(

Nothing like totally laying an egg in a course on something I’m supposed to master if I want to become a competent DA… ::smh::

::headdesk::

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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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A half-million pageviews later

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 3, 2011 in Site Stats

I bet y’all never thought you’d see one of these entries again :D

2nd month of 6,000+ visitors!

law:/dev/null crossed the 500,000 pageview milestone back in mid-November and I’ve been meaning to do another one of these entries ever since. Then studying and taking finals and working and vacation snuck in and I never got around to it :beatup:

But December 2010 was our 2nd-best-trafficked month since we started — despite two 5-day absences — so I figure that calls for celebration! :spin:

Quite a bit has changed on the server backend of the blog since July, including an increasingly aggressive (and thus far successful) effort at stomping out spammers.

Take a look at one of the new graphs I created below, which shows the number of spammy visitor sources I’ve added to the .htaccess file for banning. I recently started throwing in some keyword bans just to reduce the number of directives the server is processing; for example, instead of banning every spammer coming here from a buythisrandomdrugplz.com address, I’ve just decided to ban all the referers with “buy” in the URL.1

The net result? While July featured an almost comically-absurd abundance of spam comments and we had a couple recurrence spikes in August and October, we’ve “purified” the traffic enough that December had the lowest number of spam visitors in the entire history of law:/dev/null :D

The downside is that the bans kill our pageviews-per-day and Alexa traffic stats, the latter of which are used for determining things like avvo.com’s Top Legal Blogs.

Over 1,000+ spammy domains banned!

Our ranking has steadily dropped like a stone over the past two months while sites like Bitter Lawyer — which has become spam-blasted and hasn’t had fresh content in 3+ months — actually find their stats going up over that same timespan :crack:

But, just between you, me, and the interwebz: I’d prefer having 6,000+ flesh-and-blood visitors a month actually reading this stuff instead of tens-of-thousands of spammers just crawling for comment forms ;)

We’ll see if we can keep our current anti-spam success going in the new year. Honestly I’m just pretty amazed / impressed / blown away that we had as many visitors as we did in December, especially given my infrequent posting. So thanks to all of you :*

***

On the search query front, we’ve had over 1,000 new queries since the last time I did one of these lists :surprised:

Here are 20 of the 240+ unique search terms that brought folks here in December 2010:

  • time magazine decade from hell picture: the picture was more thoughtful than the story itself ;)
  • 1l grade wait: will be at least a month for most law schools, sorry
  • human shooting target: didn’t survive my concealed carry qualification shooting :D
  • nccu law school grades: aren’t due until January 12th :beatup:
  • badass eagle: was briefly considered for my new gravatar — but I decided to stick with my current colonial eagle instead
  • is law school worth it: yes
  • is law school really worth it: yes
  • t4 law school worth it?: probably
  • essay explaining why i would attend north carolina central university: here’s a tip: if you can find it on Google, the admissions staff can find it on Google too ;)
  • if you turn in your tag for lapse in north carolina can you turn around and get a 30 day temporary tag: I could, so you probably can too
  • gpa ncsu computer science: hopefully yours is higher than mine :beatup:
  • final exam advice: check out this entry and this entry — and GOOD LUCK!
  • 1l gpa for top 10%: depends on where you’re going to school, but for the NCCU Law Class of 2012 it was around 3.28
  • hey tar heels… kick rocks: please :angel:
  • people v andrew madison mock trial keys to win: villify the Queen of Hearts :D
  • first kid movie: was my first/only foray in a Hollywood movie (check #19 on that list and see my FB profile for the pics :) )
  • how can a 24 year old get money for law school: apply for students loans. Lots of loans. :beatup:
  • do classmates know your 1l grades: usually no, unless they do really well
  • grading curve nccu law: follows a strict-C, which I’m apparently the only one supporting
  • can’t stand law students: then you’re probably reading the wrong blog ;)

I missed going through these monthly… :spin:

***

And finally, here are the Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of December 2010:

  1. On tackling finals: TDot’s Tips: More Final Exam Advice (11/30/10)
  2. On Fall 2010 grade expectations: Halfway done! (12/12/10)
  3. On combating spammers: Fight WordPress comment spam with .htaccess (08/04/10)
  4. On law students around the web: Law School Roundup #247 (12/19/10)
  5. On figuring out what to do with my life: Straddling the fence (12/13/10)

*THANK YOU* again to each of you for your continued support of us here at law:/dev/null! :D

—===—

Past Site Stats entries:

  1. On the ever-so-slim chance you happen to get here from a legit source with “buy” (or any other banned keyword) in the URL and you get one of our lovely error pages, just reload law:/dev/null manually and you should be able to see everything :) []

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Halfway done!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 12, 2010 in The 2L Life

Another month, another one of my sporadic weeklong disappearances :beatup:

This has been a crazy week — spanning both final exams and a new job — but things are finally starting to get back into a rhythm so I can start focusing on the important things in life.

Including, but not limited to, the fact I’M NOW HALFWAY DONE WITH LAW SCHOOL! :spin: :spin: :spin:

::happy dance::

My last exam was in Evidence last Wednesday and with it my 2L Fall semester officially came to a close. Professors at NCCU Law have until January 12th to turn in grades so it’ll be awhile until I find out how I did, but here’s my expectations on how things will turn out:

  • Constitutional Law I: Unlike the midterm that I knew I knocked out of the park, I thought the final was pretty @#$%ing difficult :surprised:  30 multiple choice questions and then 3 essays spanning a whole range of issues. There were a few multiples I genuinely had no clue how to answer, and I was typing on the essays right down to the very last minute. After talking with classmates after the exam I’m fairly certain I missed a good chunk of stuff on the essays so at this point I’ll just be happy if my grade doesn’t have a negative impact on my GPA. Hoping for: B+.
  • Domestic Violence: History, Law & Practice: I drew a bead on this class early, determined to deal with the difficult subject matter and ace the course. I tried to avoid skipping class (difficult for an 8:30am time slot), intentionally went overboard perfecting my motion in limine, thought I was fairly well-prepared for oral arguments, and just generally worked my @$$ off to excel at everything. This is the only class where I’ll be legitimately irked if I don’t get the grade I want :beatup:  Hoping for: A.
  • Legal Letters: This was another paper-based course along with DVLaw, and I got near-perfect grades on all the assignments… except for the research memo I postponed in favor of studying for ConLaw. That dropped me to the bottom of the pile grade-wise, so the only hope I have for a decent grade is that (1) other classmates turned stuff in late too, and (2) my grades on the other assignments were marginally high enough compared to everyone else that I can edge past a few folks into the middle of the pack.  Hoping for: C+ or better.
  • Evidence: This one burns. 10 true/false question, 30 multiple choice, 1 essay. I know I completely and totally demolished the essay, in no small part due to knowledge I cemented in my brain doing research for DVLaw and from watching all 7 hours of BarBri’s online lectures (something I highly recommend for future exams). But the answer options on the multiple choice weren’t as precisely worded as I expected, and I often found myself feeling like I was playing a game of “pick the least wrong answer”… which means I probably didn’t know wtf I was doing :(  Fingers are crossed but this one falls into the ConLaw pile of “I’ll be glad as long as it doesn’t drop my GPA.” Hoping for: B+.
  • ZombieLaw (Decedents Estates I): My feelings toward this one have changed a bit since the post I wrote just after the exam. Initially I likened it to Contracts and my 1L Spring final, where spending a ton of time on questions just to work my way to an “either of these could be right” coin flip meant I did pretty bad. But in this case, although it took me 2.5 hours to grind through the 30 multiple choice questions, I eventually found an answer for each one that made sense to me — there was no coin-flipping at all. So my hope of hopes is that it means I got all the multiple choice right ::fingers crossed:: Hoping for: A-.
  • Expected 2L Fall GPA: 3.400 | Probability Factor: 18.2%

Why the added “Probability Factor” on this particular grade rundown? Well, if all these grades turn out like I hope, that means I’d make the Dean’s List… a feat I haven’t accomplished since Fall 2005, my first semester back at N.C. State :beatup:

Back in undergrad I had an incentive to perform well, since I had a pre-existing agreement with the Dean’s office set up in 2000 where they’d retroactively wipe away my sophomore Spring semester1 once I finished a summer session with “satisfactory academic progress” to prove I wasn’t totally incompetent. Of course I dropped out that June because I couldn’t afford tuition, so that semester of solid grades never took place until I came back 5 years later.

But here in law school, the only incentive I’ve got to perform well in class is just the self-satisfaction of knowing I can do it… and truth be told that’s just not a terribly strong motivator to a guy who already has an outlandishly oversized ego ;) So I figure the odds of me actually making Dean’s List this semester are about 2-in-11.

If any of you get the urge to cross your fingers, say a prayer, or bribe a professor on my behalf2 please feel free to do so. Until then, y’all have a great night — and best of luck to anyone still dealing with final exams! :D

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

  1. They took pity on the fact I was a moron who was working 4o hours a week thinking I could make enough $$$ for tuition and still perform well academically :beatup: []
  2. Just kidding about the bribe part. Maybe. :angel: []

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Fall ’10 Status Update

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

Hey everybody :)

One of my friends at a law school on the other end of the country sent me a FB message pointing out I haven’t posted a mid-semester update for my 2L Fall semester at NCCU Law like I had done back in 1L.

The reason is that 2L year grade-wise is markedly different from 1L — where first year grades were 20% based on a midterm and 80% based on a final exam, only two 2L classes have midterms (ConLaw and Business Associations, which I’ll be taking in the Spring). The rest either make the final exam 100% of the grade or require various papers throughout the semester.

That lack of information makes grade entries like this one a lot less interesting ;)

But given how totally riveting my recent commentary on daylight savings time and Verizon’s mobile phone selection has been, I’ll go ahead and bow to the peer pressure :beatup:

====================
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I
====================

There’s not much for me to say on this one that I didn’t already say after the exam. Constitutional Law is my favorite course and one of my favorite topics in general — even outside of the law school context — and it showed on the midterm. I ended up getting 35 out of 40 questions correct on the midterm, tying for 2nd place in the class (high was 36 of 40).

Haven’t had a chance to meet with Prof ConLaw yet to figure out what I missed, but maxing out the total points I can get on the midterm puts me in a good position heading into the final.

Expected Midterm Grade: A
Actual Midterm Grade: B+ (raw) / A (curved)

Synopsis: Just need to keep studying and make sure I can knock out the essays on the (4-hour) final exam. Given my track record last year, I doubt I’ll pull an A in this class — but I’m still going for it ;)

====================
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: HISTORY, LAW & PRACTICE
====================

The subject matter in DV Law has been a challenge since the beginning, but as the semester has gone on it’s gotten slightly less agitating. There was even one class where we joined a section of Advanced Torts for a joint lecture on defamation vis-à-vis allegations of domestic violence, and I was comfortable enough to hold my own against the lecturing professor playing the other side.

On the grade front, this is one of those classes with numerous assignments for fractional parts of the final grade. The good news: I’ve gotten the max points so far for the community observation, class participation, and the annotated bibliography for my motion in limine. The bad news: the preliminary research memo for the motion was turned in late, so the A grade I had on that was dropped to a B+. And the “::shrug::” news: the remaining 75%ish of the course grade is still to come, based on the first draft of the motion last week, the oral argument on it next week, and the final motion due the week after that.

Expected Grades To-Date: A
Actual Grades To-Date: A-

Synopsis: Now that the preliminary draft of the motion in limine is done, the final should be easy to knock out. Not sure what’s going to happen with the oral arguments though. Hoping to finish strong.

====================
LEGAL LETTERS
====================

The grading for this class is unique. We have 4 papers due — a client letter, a research memo, an opinion letter, and a settlement proposal — with each one worth a total of 100 points. At the end of the semester, whoever has the most points gets the A and it scales down from there. So even though I got a 95/100 on my first letter, I have no clue how that breaks down compared to the rest of the class; I’ve seen both higher and lower in roughly equal proportions, and it makes me slightly nervous.

As for the memo and opinion letter that were both turned in awhile ago? No clue, because we haven’t gotten them back yet :beatup: We also haven’t gotten the required background info (medical expenses and such) for the settlement proposal, so this class is basically on hold for now.

Expected Grades To-Date: A
Actual Grades To-Date: ????

Synopsis: I’ll be glad when this class is over. The professor is interesting and I enjoy talking to her (she’s an adjunct who works as a public defender full-time), but this is one of those classes no one likes and we’re all required to take just because the ABA says so.

====================
EVIDENCE
====================

I’m totally lost in this class. It’s straight lecture-style with no assignments, no Socratic method, no midterm, nothing — basically the exact opposite of my learning style. I’m terrified about the final, and more importantly I’m terrified about how I’m going to perform in Trial Practice next semester when I feel like I’ve got only a minimal grasp on the Federal Rules of Evidence.

If anyone has any suggestions on an effective way to learn this material on my own, I’d appreciate it!

Expected Grades To-Date: N/A
Actual Grades To-Date: N/A

Synopsis: I have three weeks to figure out wtf I’m doing. Prayers are welcomed. :beatup:

====================
ZOMBIELAW (DECEDENTS ESTATES I)
====================

This class is just like Evidence, except in addition to being a lecture-style course with no assignments or any real class participation, it’s also BORING AS @#$%. Prof ZombieLaw is hilarious and tries to keep it as interesting as possible, but I seriously find nothing interesting about divvying up property after you’re dead. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a poor family that doesn’t have much to divvy, but it’s (1) boring, (2) tedious, and (3) depressing.

I’m basically doing the bare minimum to keep track of where we are in class, then will be using our pre-final review time to learn enough substantive material to eke out a C in the class. As long as I don’t have to take it again, I’ll be happy.

Expected Grades To-Date: N/A
Actual Grades To-Date: N/A

Synopsis: Caffeine can’t even keep me awake in here anymore. At least I know I won’t be a probate attorney after law school? :lol:

***

That’s where things stand with me y’all.  My first final exam is ConLaw on December 3rd, only three weeks and my second-favorite holiday away :eek:

Hope all of you are having an excellent semester, and that you’re in better shape going into finals than I am! ;)

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

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TDot: 1, ConLaw: 0

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 14, 2010 in NotFail

Despite going to bed early, I never made it to the 8am ConLaw review :beatup:

My BlackBerry doubles as my alarm clock, and I’ve got this habit of taking it after it goes off and then resetting the alarm for 10-15 minutes later.1 The problem Wednesday morning was that I apparently grabbed the phone, opened the app, started to change the time…

… and fell asleep with the phone in my hand before I actually finished setting the alarm :(

I rolled over and noticed the time at 7:45am, faced with the dilemma of either (i) jumping out of bed, skipping breakfast and a shower, throwing on sweats and racing to a review session I would sit through while half-asleep, or (ii) getting up at my leisure, enjoying a hot shower followed by a hot breakfast, dressing like something other than a ragamuffin, and just make up the missed review by studying my butt off for the ensuing 24ish hours.

So I picked Option #2 ;)

The tradeoff for frenetically studying yesterday and today is that my already-late research memo for Legal Letters will be getting turned in even further after deadline, giving me a -0- on that assignment and all but ensuring the best I can do in that class is now a C+. But given how thoroughly I (hopefully) dominated this midterm, I figure doing well in 4-credit ConLaw is slightly more important than 2-credit Legal Letters.

The 80-minute exam was comprised of 40 multiple choice questions, basically covering the first 3 chapters of Chemerinsky’s Constitutional Law textbook. Questions ranged from gimmes2 to real puzzlers,3 along with a few esoteric ones that folks either studied or didn’t.4

After the extensive study marathon, I blazed through the exam in about 30 minutes — earning a raised eyebrow from Madame Prosecutor and at least one 1L-worthy glare from another. But I knew what I knew and knew what I didn’t, so there wasn’t much point in overanalyzing :beatup:

We’ll see how it shakes out, and hope I can keep it up through finals :)

Hoping for: A

—===—

From the grade-related archives:

  1. Since if I just press the snooze button, I’m inclined to do so repeatedly for over an hour :beatup: []
  2. “How many amendments were in effect when the Constitution was enacted?” (Zero) []
  3. Four similar hypothetical lawsuits and figuring out which one wasn’t deficient with respect to SCOTUS standing requirements. []
  4. “What was Justice Black’s opinion on the Executive’s inherent authority in the [7-opinion] Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer decision?” (There is none.) []

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TDot’s Mailbag v6.0: 1L Questions Edition

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 23, 2010 in Mail

Good evening y’all! :)

Sorry for the multi-day hiatus here at law:/dev/null. There’s been some personal stuff going on behind the scenes that has really sapped my motivation to be productive,1 and unfortunately that included writing an entry for the blog.

But I missed y’all, so I’m making sure I put something together for tonight ;)

Back during 1L Orientation a couple weeks ago, the NCCU Law Student Bar Association put together a student panel where the 1Ls could ask us any questions they wanted. The 2012 class president and I represented the 2Ls, while the SBA President, Vice President and Parliamentarian offered the 3L perspective.

We got uniformly positive feedback from the 1Ls afterwards, but based on some of the faces I saw while the Q&A was going on I have to wonder if we were really just boring the f*ck out of them :beatup:

The Q&A was capped at an hour, so I’ve gotten a few questions since then that I threw together into this entry. Just remember that my perspective is a bit different from other folks — not always in a good way — so take this with the requisite grains (translation: barrels) of salt…

***

Q: David2 asks:

One of your colleagues on the panel said she studied 60 hours a week to get her grades. Do we really need to study that much?

A: It depends :)

Don’t focus as much on the exact number of hours she quoted as on what she said afterwards: you have to know yourself. No one can gauge your own strengths and weaknesses, your own study habits, your goals, and so on better than you. That’s going to be a huge determinant in how much you study.

For example, I didn’t study anywhere near 60 hours a week during my 1L year. After spending over a decade working in the legal arena, a lot of the terminology and reasoning came naturally to me — so I maybe studied 2 hours a day at most, and most of that was just doing the required readings.

But the difference between my colleague and I? She’s one of the top-ranked students in the class, while I barely made the top half :beatup:

If you have legal experience or naturally “get” this stuff, you may be able to study less; conversely, if the material is difficult for you to digest you’ll need to study more. If you’re content with barely passing, you can have a great time screwing around your 1L year3 and won’t need to study nearly as much as my colleague… but if you want to have a high GPA to get a decent internship or otherwise do something productive with your life, you’ll probably want to work a little (translation: a lot) harder than I did ;)

***

Q: Ethan writes in with a similar question:

So some of my study partners have been in the library since at least 12pm and stay until the building closes. Am I missing something? I’m worried I’m messing up already…

A: See above — it depends ;)

Some of your classmates will genuinely need to study that much, based on their study habits or their scholastic objectives or other issues; we certainly had folks like that in my classes last year. But you’re not going to get anywhere comparing yourself to them.

Remember: law school is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you want to gauge whether or not you’re “messing up already” before midterms, reflect on how well you’re able to understand the material and follow along in class. If you’re totally lost, go see your professor. If you see you’re professor and you’re still totally lost, then think about studying a bit harder or checking the law library for a hornbook or other useful supplement.

Putting in all the study time in the world isn’t going to benefit you at all if you’re not getting anything useful out of the time you’re studying ;)

***

Q: Felicia’s thinking about skipping law review too:

How time-consuming is being an SBA Representative or some of these other clubs? Do you think I’ll have time to do that and study?

A: Not to give everyone the same lawyer-esque response, but you’ve probably guessed by now — it depends :beatup:

All of the SBA Representatives will need to participate in the normal SBA meetings, including when we hear requests for funding from all the student groups which historically takes about 6-7 hours. SBA Reps are also required to have office hours (good study time) and help with planning/implementing any SBA events that get held.

If this were the entire equation, I’d say “Of course you’ll have time”… but only you will know what grades you’re aiming for and how much you’ll need to study to get there.

I’d encourage you to run regardless — if nothing else, it’s a great opportunity to get out and meet your fellow 1Ls — but whether you’ll have time for it is a judgment call you’ll have to make for yourself.

***

Q: Gabriel also has studying on his mind:

I’m having trouble deciding whether or not to do my case briefing based on the outlines the 2Ls gave me, the stuff I find on random case briefing websites, or just do the reading and brief it all on my own? A combination of the two or three?

A: Definitely do the briefing all on your own, at least for the first few weeks. The stuff 2Ls pass down to 1Ls is designed to serve as a template since you’ll have no clue what to look for when you first start out. The whole point to briefing on your own is to train your mind to recognize the important stuff in a case.

After you’ve been at it for a month or two, odds are good you’ll be in the habit of briefing the case in your mind as you read — this is the precursor to the common “book briefing” you’ll see other students using, where stuff like “Issue” and “Rule” get scrawled in the margins of the textbook. At that point folks will start using the 2L briefs to save time, because by that point in the semester you’ll be focusing more on outlining than you will on case briefs.

***

Q: Henry is looking ahead to next year:

Is law school really just a big head game? What’s the biggest difference between 1L year and 2L year?

A: To the first question, I’d say yes.

You’ll hear folks repeat the law school aphorism “Your first year they scare you to death, your second year they work you to death, and your third year they bore you to death.” But if you know you want to be a lawyer and you’re determined to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal — or, conversely, you have a backup plan and don’t really care if you fail out — there’s nothing to really scare you in the first year.

And, at least in my opinion, a lack of fear goes a long way to maintaining your composure under pressure and mastering the 1L crucible.

As for the second question, the biggest difference I’ve noticed between 1L and 2L years so far is how relaxed everyone seems. There’s no discernible terror over being called on in class. People understand the material. Folks don’t seem to study as much as last year — hell even a slacker like me was actually two days ahead on the class readings :crack:

We’re only a week into the semester though, so I’m fairly sure things will change from here :)

***

Q: And we’ll finish with a question from Isabella about my own motivations for law school:

What made you pursue law after having done computer science?

A: As bizarre as I’m sure it sounds, I’ve actually wanted to do law since I was a kid :beatup:

Some time around the 10th grade I really got hooked on civics, public service, and related stuff — read Supreme Court decisions for fun and so on.4 I decided I wanted to be a constitutional law professor at some point, and wanted to be Virginia’s Attorney General when I got older (before I moved to North Carolina and fell in love with this state :spin: ).

But I also grew up in a family that most folks would consider “poor” financially, so my college focus was on what was going to make me the most $$$ when I graduated. I had a talent for computers and I started at N.C. State right as the dot-com boom was hitting its stride. I was going to become a computer engineer and make six figures starting after graduation.

That was the plan at least. I dropped out of N.C. State two years later because I couldn’t afford tuition and ended up $16K in debt to the University :beatup:

During the five years I was a dropout, I worked in the legal arena the whole time since I could make a decent wage without a college degree. Getting hired for computing-related jobs, by contrast, typically required various certifications that I couldn’t afford to get. So when I finally came back to N.C. State in August 2005, I knew law school was definitively where I was going once undergrad was done.

But I was also determined to get my Bachelor’s degree in some kind of computer-related field because I felt like switching into something else would be like admitting defeat, like I wasn’t intelligent enough to hack it in a “hard science” engineering discipline. I briefly entertained the thought of switching to Communications or Political Science or Economics before coming back to that conclusion every time. Not the most rational thought pattern in the world, I admit… but I damn sure have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science adorning the wall of my bedroom ;)

So that was a ridiculously long answer where a fairly short one would suffice: I’ve known I wanted to do this for years, I just didn’t do it sooner because I was stubborn as hell :)

—===—

That’s it from me for the night folks! I hope all of you have an amazing week!! :D

  1. For example, dealing with people who treat you with a level of respect generally reserved for household insects… until they need tech support. And then don’t show up after asking you to be available at a certain time to provide said tech support. And then act incredulous when you no longer have the patience to continue dealing with them gratis or otherwise. []
  2. In case you’re new to these mailbag entries, all the names are anonymous — picked at random from the Social Security Administration’s Popular Names database. Feel free to send me an email if you’ve got a question for a mail entry! :D []
  3. For posterity’s sake, my “screwing around” was actually doing advocacy work with UNCASG. I’m bad but I’m not that bad. ;)   []
  4. Yes, I was odd. Don’t judge me. :P []

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When internet memes attack…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 15, 2010 in Site Stats

What do “nom nom nom”, “::headdesk::”, and “#fml” all have in common?

Lots of people looking for nom-ing bunnies...

They’re all internet memes I’ve been using here on law:/dev/null for months now… and they’ve turned into a real headache when it comes to site maintenance :beatup:

I first noticed something was amiss when the blog got hit by a massive wave of spam comments back on July 11th. The pageview spike was so massive I had to leave out that entire day when updating these bar charts, otherwise the “Pageviews per Day” bar would be about 50% higher than it is now.

To highlight the spike, I created a new chart below graphing the number of spam comments against the number of unique IP addresses we had in a given month (higher bars == more spam comments per capita).

As I spent the next couple weeks re-acquainting myself with .htaccess directives for this spam prevention entry, I noticed something else odd in the log files: we had a trio of referrer URLs showing megabytes upon megabytes of data being transferred but with -0- corresponding pageviews. After poking around I realized the bunny picture from this old Contracts entry was being hotlinked all over the place for reasons I couldn’t figure out.

So I logged in to Google’s Webmaster Tools for the first time in months, and figured out what was going on — over 15,000+ searches on 30 different variations of “om nom nom” :crack:

July brought lots of spam...

Apparently when I switched how WordPress sets post URLs last month (from the old numeric “?p=1234” to the current setup), the search index for that Contracts entry went up high enough that the bunny picture became the #1 result for anyone doing a Google search with “nom nom” in it.

Not the entire entry of course. Just the bunny pic. :beatup:

Things have calmed down a bit now that I’ve started banning spambots and limiting the hotlinks. My guess is traffic will go back to a more-linear growth pattern for August. We’ll see what happens :)

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On the search query front, we had a bunch of duplicate searches but also some fresh ones. Here are 20 of the 100+ unique search terms that brought folks here in July:

  • chazz clevinger: worked with me as the Vice President of Legislative & Public Affairs for UNCASG two years ago. I haven’t kept in touch with him much since law school started, but he did good work for the students of North Carolina.
  • nc dmv 30 day tag for insurance lapse: cost me $63, and I didn’t even need one :mad:
  • nccu lsat score evening program: for 2009-10, was 151 for the evening program, with the 25th percentile folks at 148 and the 75th percentile folks at 155 according to the class profile.
  • blackberry messenger group nccu school of law ’11: exists, but I’m not a part of it since I’m in the Class of 2012 ;) Hit up one of the 3Ls for more info.
  • tdot surplus vehicles: HA! I wish I had surplus vehicles…
  • does duquesne law school give midterms?: I don’t know about Duquesne Law, but NCCU Law does :spin:
  • letter demanding payment from ex girlfriend: is probably not going to accomplish much of anything…
  • negative things about nccu law: vary depending on who you ask. I’m a huge NCCU Law fan, and my only real complaint is that the wi-fi can be spotty in certain areas of the building (like the Great Hall and the Fishbowl). Hopefully they improved that over the summer.
  • 2010 11 tuition north carolina: is unfortunately still going up by almost $1K at several universities, since state legislators decided to balance the budget on the backs of students :mad:
  • nccu law fall 2010 class calendar: can be found on the Law School Registrar’s TWEN page, or downloaded from the NCCU Law “Academics” page.
  • nccu school of law’s grading curve: follows a strict-C median, which I happen to enthusiastically support ;)
  • mary wright 1l advocacy competition: takes place every Spring semester for 1L students. You can watch the video of my 3rd place performance here.
  • daryl wade unc: is probably not the same guy as Daryl Wade, the former Student Body President at UNC School of the Arts who served as Vice Chairman of the UNCASG Council of Student Body Presidents last year. I’m sure the other Daryl Wade is still cool though… even if he goes to UNCCH :sick:
  • are 1l’s included in the 30 day delay for financial aid?: For the vast majority of 1Ls, no.1 This was actually one of the questions we had at my 1L Orientation last year, so you’re not alone in wondering :)
  • what percentage of nccu law school are white law students?: roughly 35-40% each class year. Another 45-50% are black, and the remaining 10-20% are spread across other races. We’re routinely ranked among the most diverse student bodies in the country.
  • nccu minority scholarships for white law students: “No, officer…”
  • nccu law fall 2010 book list: can be found above the academic calendar on the NCCU Law “Academics” page.
  • acpi:system state: could signal a dead motherboard :(  Take it to get looked at ASAP.
  • which computer apple or pc for law students: Apple. Hands down. Trust me. ;)

Definitely a different mix of search results getting here this month… :)

***

And finally, here are the Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of July 2010, quite a bit different from past Top 5s due to the new indexing changes:

  1. On avoiding contract enforcement: Mmm Ks nom nom nom (02/16/10)
  2. On inexpensive résumé websites: Things TDot Likes: Persona Non Obscura (12/08/09)
  3. On post-1L class ranks: Learning what I already knew (07/12/10)
  4. On having a shadow: Spreading the (Law School) Gospel (02/17/10)
  5. On saving money: TDot’s Tips: Tips for the pre-L’s on $$$ (05/29/10)

*THANK YOU* as always to each of you for your continued support of us here at law:/dev/null! :D

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Past Site Stats entries:

  1. My understanding is that some international students who have never attended a U.S. school previously get included, but I don’t know enough people (translation: none) who fall into that category to know if that’s accurate :beatup:   []

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2

Revisiting class rank

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 5, 2010 in The 1L Life

Last month I posted a pie chart for y’all with class rank info on the Class of 2012 at NCCU Law, except that there wasn’t really much class rank info actually in it. The only thing I knew for certain at the time was that my GPA was the cutoff for the 40th percentile… because I happened to be the guy at the 40th percentile1 :beatup:

Fast forward a month, and several of my Legal Eagle colleagues were wondering if I had gathered any additional details given my penchant for graphs, tables and other data.

Slightly more 1L class rank data

And of course the answer is: of course ;)

After talking with about a dozen folks about their own grades/ranks, I tweaked the class rank chart to what you see here.

I know the GPA cutoffs for the 15th and 25th percentiles are solid. The Top 10% minimum GPA is just an estimate though; I haven’t really mingled with the super-smart folks in law school, and the only one I know 100% for certain who’s in that group decided to be coy and would only say the chart data “might be pretty close” :beatup:

I also added in my estimate of how many people fell below NCCU Law’s strict-C threshold and got academically dismissed at the end of the semester. It’s a very rough guess on my end, basically just taking the number of people I know personally who didn’t make it multiplied by the number of sections, taking a multi-year average of our historical 1L attrition data minus the folks who had already dropped, then weighting each of those two separate numbers and adding them together. I have -0- confidence that it’s an accurate count but I’m reasonably sure I’m ±5, so I included it anyway for informational purposes.

In the unlikely-but-possible scenario that my guess is a close approximation to the actual number of folks who will be gone, the attrition data highlights the challenge those of us in the middle of the pack academically are going to have trying to improve our class ranks this upcoming year. For example, being 62 of 157 puts me at the 40% mark now, but starting next week I’ll be 62 of ~139 (or less) — instantly dropping me down to 45%. It’s definitely a steep hill to climb.

Upside: at least I won’t have Contracts anymore :spin:

Have a great night y’all! :D

  1. Even though it’s not going to net my any academic excellence awards, I do appreciate my class rank being a nice round number :beatup: []

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