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Things TDot Likes: Flattery

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 24, 2010 in Things TDot Likes

Just kidding!

Sort of :beatup:

OK let me at least try to explain with a quick prefatory note before continuing: despite assiduously projecting an ego more-than-once described as “outrageously oversized,” underneath the cocksure exterior I’m essentially the total opposite. And because of that I never really learned how to take a compliment gracefully; most of the time I just get embarrassed, my face turns red, and I quickly change the subject.

Yes, I’m socially awkward. </surprise>

But like a well-trained puppy, I still like knowing when I’ve done something good / positive / cool / etc. I’m not talking about the gratuitous puffery over trivial stuff that passes for complimenting folks nowadays — “You color-coordinated your attire today! Here’s a cookie!” — but the comments made when folks genuinely appreciate something for whatever reason.

For example, back during 1L Orientation two weeks ago I was selling NCCU Law paraphernalia for the SBA and met a 1L student in the evening program who was browsing the merchandise. We talked for a bit about what SBA did, what 1L year was going to be like, and so on… and then she asks “Do you happen to know who it is who does the blog? He did computer science or something like that before law school? I love reading it, it’s so funny!”

Absolutely nothing could have erased the smile I had on my face for days after that remark :spin:

That’s the type of stuff I’m talking about. So now that that’s clear, </prefatory note>. Moving on…

We’re in ConLaw today, which as of Week 1.5 is still my favorite class. We’ve finished the core basics on judicial review, including a quick discussion on Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821) and a corresponding mention that only a government/state actor can violate someone’s constitutionally-enumerated rights.

So Prof ConLaw pitches an open question to the class: if one person can’t violate another person’s constitutional rights, how is the federal government able to regulate such huge swaths of private conduct?

For folks who follow politics — or who just happen to enjoy ConLaw :beatup:  — answers that jump out might include Congressional authority under the “necessary and proper” clause. Or maybe Congress’s taxing and spending powers. Or the 800-lb gorilla in the Constitution, the power to regulate interstate commerce.

But instead we had like 5-6 folks in a row who offered up answers that… well… weren’t correct, let’s put it that way. So I raise my hand and bring up the Commerce clause, then go back to surfing the web. I check out my Facebook wall and see this from a classmate:

Totally made my day :D And definitely a better specialty than being Mr. Tech Support ;)

Have a great night y’all! :)

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5

2L Year: Initial Impressions

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 16, 2010 in The 2L Life

Good evening y’all! :D

The first day of my 2L year at NCCU Law is officially done! ::happy dance::

It’s interesting how much different everything feels as a no-longer-1L. Several of the 3Ls were walking around with a “we have class?” look on their faces, while the 1Ls had that “we have class!!!” look instead. The 2Ls were somewhere in the middle, my guess reflecting a new level of comfort with the law school and the whole educational process.

I figured I’d jot down some initial impressions to see how they stack up once the semester is over…

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: HISTORY, LAW & PRACTICE
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NCCU Law was one of the first law schools in the country (and the first HBCU) to develop a clinical program dealing with domestic violence issues. This class is the prereq for working in the clinic and is my first class of the day on Mondays and Thursdays — and several 3Ls tell me the course has a reputation as being the most-work-per-credit-hour-earned at the school :surprised:  Professor DVLaw seems personable though, so that should makes it more bearable.

The material is another story. The background details aren’t necessary for a family-friend blog like law:/dev/null, but let’s just say I’ve developed a very visceral impulse reaction toward people who abuse others. And I can already tell trying to learn the law and apply it rationally will be a challenge.

For example, today we were given an in-class exercise featuring three trial themes often used by both the prosecution and the defense in real life domestic violence cases: framing it as (i) an issue of personal choices, (ii) an issue of luck/chance, or (iii) an issue of social standing. We were then given the basic facts of an actual Durham DV case we chose at random: a man attacked a woman, pulled her hair, knocked her (1-year-old) child to the ground, and when the police arrived he verbally threatened to kill both her and her other (7-years-old) child when he got out of prison.

Our task? Come up with an argument on the spot as though we were the defense attorney, and then afterwards do the same as though we were the prosecutor. I had the “personal choices” theme with 2 of my classmates, and I totally failed at coming up with anything defense-oriented. All I kept wondering is what “choice” the 1-year-old had in getting knocked to the ground, or what “choice” the 7-year-old had in being threatened. Thinking about the fact pattern just really pissed me off, and I was in a dour mood for most of the class because of it.

My displeasure must have been written on my face or something, because when we switched over to the prosecution side Prof DV points to me saying “this will probably make you feel better.” :beatup:

Definitely going to be a challenge…

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EVIDENCE
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Evidence is next in the schedule, and the first thing I noticed is how f*cking PACKED the room was — I swear every 2L and their sister must have signed up for this section of this class. There were even a trio of students who showed up late and had to spend the entire class sitting on the steps because we didn’t have enough desks left in the room :crack:

Even though Professor FRE teaches CrimLaw for one of the other 1L sections (not mine), I did talk with him on a couple occasions during summer school and he seems like a quality guy. Good sense of humor, movie buff, former basketball player, etc. Should keep things interesting.

The class itself started with some preliminaries, then we watched the first 10 minutes of the 2000-remake edition of Shaft and discussed how a prosecutor would build a case within the confines of the Federal Rules of Evidence based just on the information in those first few minutes. Then we just jumped straight into the rules themselves, covering a half-dozen of them before class was out.

I’m actually a little nervous about this class because there are so many rules to remember — and usually with several facets to each one. We’ll see how it turns out :)

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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I
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NCCU Law switches things up from our nearest law school neighbors at UNCCH Law and Duke Law, teaching ConLaw I and II as 2L courses rather than covering them in the first year…

…but when we take it doesn’t matter for me though, because barring something totally unexpected I can guarantee this will be my favorite class ;)

Today was just a historical overview lecture from Professor ConLaw, who has a reputation for being a challenging professor (and also teaches Torts for one of the other 1L sections). I don’t know if I’ve got the work ethic to earn an A for the class, but as a guy who used to quote passages from Marbury v. Madison and other Supreme Court decisions way back in high school I will definitely enjoy it one way or the other :spin:

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ZOMBIELAW (DECEDENTS ESTATES I)
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Class today was mind-numbingly boring. Professor ZombieLaw herself is hilarious — she refers to the course as “Dead People’s Stuff 101” — so that should make it a little bit better I hope…

…but it’s basically just like Property for dead people :(

Upside: it gives me a chance to get caught up on Twitter and Facebook? :beatup:

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That’s the rundown on Day 1 of classes :) Tomorrow is the first day for Legal Letters, then more ConLaw and ZombieLaw before I’m done for the day.

For anyone else reading this who’s already started classes, I hope you have an excellent week! And to everyone else, have a great night! :D

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