1

A Quantitative Look at 1L Fall

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 22, 2009 in The 1L Life

I shamelessly borrowed the concept for today’s post from this entry by Miss Julie Anne Ines (aka the Blawgirl), so if you haven’t checked out her segment of the intarwebs yet, please do so now because it’s Good Stuff™ :)

As my fellow Legal Eagles and I enjoy the agonizing wait for our grades — one section got their Contracts grades back; that section was not mine :mad: — it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve gone down the road to lawyerhood (attorneydom? JDness?).

So to illustrate the point, here’s a quantitative look at the semester :D

—===—

Number of pages read in Civil Procedure with MDG:
~238

—===—

Number of pages read in Torts with Professor Torts:
~360

—===—

Number of pages read in Contracts with Professor Ks:
~439

—===—

Number of pages read in Property with the Traveling Professor:
~187

—===—

Number of useless writing assignments in Legal Reasoning & Analysis:
11

—===—

Number of supplements consulted:
4 (an Emanuel’s for each class)

—===—

Number of visits to the law library since orientation:
-0- (see next item)

—===—

Number of searches on Lexis-Nexis:
212+

—===—

Number of Lexis-Nexis Points earned:
2,630

—===—

Number of times overheard swearing in class at WestLaw/TWEN’s poor website coding:
7+

—===—

Number of days waiting for grades:
12, and counting…

—===—

Imagine where we’ll be 5 more semesters from now :)

Have a great night folks!! :D

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4

Always bring your notebook…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 5, 2009 in Fail

I’ve been enjoying law school so far, and realized around Fall Break that I was griping more than experience warranted. But every now and then things just don’t work out the way I intended. Like today.

As absurd as it probably sounds to y’all, I’m convinced that I’m allergic to the cold. It’s not a bona fide “allergy” per se, but for years now any time the temperature around me drops below 70 or so I end up with the symptoms folks would have for the flu:  stuffy nose, sore throat, burning eyes, etc. It makes for a pretty miserable fall/winter (and even summer — when QuietStorm and I lived together and she insisted on having the AC set to “arctic” 24/7 :beatup: ). I compensate by staying warm, to the point where 雅雅 once teased me that being in my apartment during the summer reminded her of being in Shanghai.

I must not have set the thermostat high enough before going to bed last night, because I woke up at 5am feeling thoroughly wretched. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep, just to wake up again an hour later. I got out of the bed, made some breakfast, read the news, and decided I felt bad enough I was just going to skip Contracts class and go back to sleep.  Then around 7:45 or so I woke up, felt guilty for skipping, once again crawled out of bed and headed for the law school.

Professor Ks is more laid back than the other professors, and let’s folks show up late to class — provided that if you walk in late, you’re “on deck” for all of the questions for the day. I get to the law school about 5 minutes before class is scheduled to start, and skip going to my locker to get my notebook so I can make sure I’m on time. We were starting a new section on the syllabus anyhow (Principles of Interpretation) so I figured I wouldn’t need my old notes for class.

By 8:28am I’m at the classroom… and Professor Ks has already started.

“@#$%.”

Instead of going back to get my notebook, I figure “what the hell, I’ve read everything we’re going over today and understand it. let’s go.” and walk in. Professor Ks greets me with his predictable you’re-going-to-get-grilled-and-better-be-ready smile, and starts to ask me questions about… the Statute of Frauds.

We were starting with a review of the previous section. The section that was in my notes… in my notebook… in my locker… that I skipped getting to be on time and avoid getting grilled.

I couldn’t even bluff my way through because I felt like shit and hadn’t reviewed the SOF material since Tuesday. Professor Ks called on someone else to bail me out on the review, but then instead of coming back to me for the new stuff and giving me a chance to recover (since I knew it backwards and forwards) he picked a few other folks and I was left to sit there in silence.

It was a decidedly not-fun experience, and successfully earned me a “see me after class” admonition from the professor. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be called on next week due to the poor performance…

w00t :beatup:

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5

The §2-207 2-Step

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 17, 2009 in The 1L Life

Thursdays are Contracts days, and for an 8:30am class Professor Contracts keeps the energy level high.  But today stole the show.

We’re going over additional and different terms in contracts, and differences between the common law and the Uniform Commercial Code.  UCC §2-207 governs those additional terms when the UCC applies to a transaction, and Professor Contracts noted there are 2 different 2-step processes to figure out how those additional terms should be treated:  check §2-207(1) to figure out if you have a contract by forms and if so go to §2-207(2) for the additional terms, or check §2-204 if you have a contract by conduct, then go to §2-207(3) for the additional terms.

Fairly simple concept.

But to make extra certain everyone in the class got it down cold, Professor Contracts fired up this video mid-PowerPoint:

And yes, the rumors are true — he even danced a bit :)

This is the type of thing I was talking about when I said I’d fit in better at a NCCU than UNCCH ;) Good night folks! :D

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9

Reflections on Week 1 of “real” class

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 22, 2009 in Weekend Roundup

Thanks for the handful of panicked text messages I got from folks wondering if something was wrong because I hadn’t posted an entry for the night, I’m alive and well :)

Sorry for not posting something in a more timely fashion — my friend 雅雅 and I decided to try and replicate my grandmother’s recipe for spaghetti, and after eating a very large and tasty dinner (the experiment was a success) I ended up falling asleep.  Last thing I remember was watching “Locked and Loaded with R. Lee Ermey” on the History Channel, wondering where I put my laptop so I could write my post for the day… then my cell phone alarm going off at 6am >_<

 

Now that Week 1 of “real class” is finished, there are a few things I’ve realized so far:

  1. Law school isn’t nearly as bad as I expected.  I’m sure it will get worse throughout the semester, but looking at the reading lists the volume of material is easily readable and comprehensible for a typical law student (I can’t speak for non-traditional students like folks raising families or students working 20-hour a week jobs — y’all are better people than I am!)

  2. It’s also a lot of fun.  Having worked in a variety of law-related areas back when I was a college dropout, finally understanding the intricacies of the legal arguments I used to read in briefs or hear in oral arguments is like a bunch of little lightbulbs turning on in your head.  And having classmates who I know are smarter than I am makes the debates that much more fun because of the challenge.

  3. Legal Reasoning & Analysis is going to be my “love/hate” class.  The smaller class size in lab is great to see people’s thought processes up close (including who comes at things from a prosecutorial vs a defense mindset), but the way we’re being taught to break down the applicable rules and case law is totally conflicting with the Computer Scientist in me.  It reminds me of this Dos Equis commercial and “speaking French… in Russian.”  More on LRA in a later entry.

  4. Not sure if it was total coincidence or fate, but having the Gang of Eight in the back with me makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.  If you’re a 1L, find some friends before everyone cliques up — you’ll be glad you did :)

  5. Even though a few more-seasoned students have told me I’m strange for it (including Delta the 2L), I genuinely like all of my professors. They’ve all got strikingly different personalities: Professor Contracts has a ton of energy for an early morning class and an excellent sense of humor, Mean Dean Green has a sarcastic streak almost as wide as mine, and you’ve already read about Professor Torts and her no-nonsense attitude. Throw in the Traveling Professor (my Property I teacher) and Professor LRA, and the group is providing a well-meshed experience for all of us.

  6. The mere possibility of being a good student again is an intense incentive to perform.  By my last couple semesters at N.C. State, I had so many credit hours between my Computer Science major and minors in Economics and Political Science that I could have failed every class and it wouldn’t  have significantly impacted my GPA… and could have gotten an A+ in all of them with similarly negligible effects.  That’s a recipe for the most hellacious case of senioritis one can experience.  Now I actually enjoying studying again (for now).

 

That’s it for this entry.  Going to take Saturday off and try to clean up the apartment a bit… including the spaghetti sauce I left on the stove after falling asleep last night.  Have a great day everybody! :D

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-

Week 0 Retrospective Part III (or, “You can breathe now.”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 18, 2009 in The 1L Life

First let me say these OFF! PowerPad lanterns are a big bundle of fail.  I bought one for the deck where I usually type these blog posts and I swear the mosquitos must be hungrier than a hobo with the munchies because I’ve been getting eaten alive.  Moved it so it’s now right next to me, which probably can’t be good since I’m basically breathing in the fumes… but I figure it can’t be worse than dying of West Nile Virus right? :)

Second note:  these server logs are just plain fun to look at.  I’m still 75% of the site’s traffic, but it looks like I’ve got about a dozen people who aren’t me willing to visit the site on occasion.  And seeing who gets here via a Google search is interesting, with 1 visit apiece from people querying “ncsu” (my alma mater), “tgd 1l blog” (TGD being my nom de guerre), “ave maria law” (noted in this entry), “duquesne university school of law” (ditto), and some poor soul who found me while searching for “mountain dew” (I pity them for ending up here but salute them for our shared caffeinated beverage of choice! :D ).  There are also quite a few folks getting referred from the Facebook Inbox page, meaning the URL is getting passed around in private messages… which kinda worries me since I know who at least a few of the folks sending it are :P

Speaking of Facebook, some of you have been harassing me for current details now that both Day 1 and Day 2 of “real class” are over, so this post will finish the look back on orientation so there can be something fresh here for tomorrow.  I’d skip the rest of orientation entirely, but a certain someone has demanded I explain the rocking chair comment so she can stop trying to figure it out.

—===—

After very firmly planting my size 12 white Adidas with Wolfpack red highlights in my mouth and then pretending like I never said a word, I think the Big Guy Upstairs took some pity on me because the rest of orientation wasn’t that bad at all.  There was a lengthy discussion on financial aid that included questions from a few folks that were the same as ones I had (“Do we count as first-year students as 1Ls with respect to the Dept of Education’s 30-day delay on loan disbursements?”), some questions that lacked a bit of common sense (“On this table there are disbursement dates each week, does that mean you pro-rate our refund and give us a portion of it each week throughout the semester?”), and some that were just plain funny (“You have our money on the 7th but refunds aren’t until the 28th.  Do you think we go home to our mamas or something?”).

And although my memory’s a little bit hazy, I think I knew the guy who asked that last question.  The lady from financial aid looked like she was about to jump over the podium and smack the taste out of his mouth.  I don’t live by many personal rules, but one of them is this:  there are 3 types of people in this world you simply do not try to piss off — people who clean up after you, people who cook your food, and people who control your money.  Had it been someone from the Bursar’s Office standing in front of him, I’d wonder if he’d get his refund on the 28th…

Dr. Psych spoke with us briefly about learning styles and gave us a quiz on the topic, prompting the purchase of that aforementioned rocking chair.  Turns out I’m heavily-tilted toward “tactile” learning (“learning by doing”) with a secondary preference for “visual” learning and no interest at all in “aural” learning.  In talking with Dr. Psych afterwards I found out that’s a likely reason for why I’m good at remembering faces but forgetting names, like being outside on rainy days, and tend to fidget when sitting still (my right leg bounces so bad it shakes the desk and makes it damn near impossible to type on the Mac mini). She suggested a possible solution to my lack-of-furniture-in-the-domicile problem would be to get a cheap rocking chair and put it out on the deck, giving me a chance to study in an environment that lets me enjoy the light movement of the trees out back while also employing that “nervous energy” in a non-distracting pursuit since the laptop screen would end up moving in tandem with the chair.

So far I think she was right.  This has probably been the highlight of my day, carnivorous mosquitoes notwithstanding :)

We also had a presentation by the Police Chief, who happened to be wearing the same NC State polo shirt I have.  One of his memorable comments:  “The odds of you getting a ticket during your 3 years at NCCU are 100%.”  To which I thought “I bought my permit way before school started, I’m good.”  (see the start of yesterday’s entry for the twist).

And then there was the smug joy of watching the IT staff scurry around the room for about 20 minutes trying to coax all the new Lenovo / MS Vista-based laptops the students get to borrow to recognize the wifi network… while my MacBook Pro had been connecting fine since before orientation ever started (yes, I’m one of those sanctimonious Apple-loving bastards you’ve heard about and quite proud of it ;)).

The second day was fun and had me almost convinced law school wouldn’t be that bad at all.  We had an introduction to civil procedure that basically outlined stuff I had picked up during my years as a paralegal and assistant clerk of court, an intro to briefing cases that I probably should have written down in my notes but didn’t when Professor Contracts said he’d post the slides online, and had our pictures taken for what I’m guessing will be a book of the incoming class.  I got my Student ID with a picture that looks like I just got caught doing something illegal.  There was the reception that prompted this exchange on starting law:/dev/null, and a night workshop on ethics and professionalism that prompted my other major realization of the day…

…I am impressively awkward.

If you did a union on a pair of tuples with [large venues, small venues] and [structured format, unstructured format], my natural home is in the [small venues, *] area.  With only comparatively few people to face, folks naturally interact at some point and I have the opportunity to utilize my limited but occasionally witty sense of humor to make friends and win arguments.  I can also handle the [large venues, structured format] as a secondary preference (e.g. speaking in front of a large group of people), a learned skill from spending the past couple years as a student politician at NC State.

But put me in a room with a couple hundred people and no real expectations on what to do or who to talk to, and I tend to gravitate to the edge and talk to people… on my BlackBerry.

The upshot is that I’ve got a few folks now who I can shadow and are far more people-oriented than I am (DMoff) or far better known (Delta the 2L — I’ll talk about this angel of mercy at greater length in a later entry).  So slowly but surely things are coming together :)

—===—

That’s all I’ve got on the orientation rundown — I ended up skipping the last 2 days due to obligations I had to a non-profit board I work with on higher education issues.  That’s a good thing though: imagine how many more entries I’d have to post if I had more… ;)

Off to brief cases for the rest of the night — Wednesday is my hell day in terms of scheduling, with 4 classes I’m thoroughly unprepared for back-to-back-to-back-to-back.  Good night everybody! :D

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