1

“Yes, but…”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 11, 2010 in The 2L Life

Good evening folks! :D

I’ve got a draft entry with a cost-benefit analysis of law school that I’ve been meaning to finish, and depending on how tomorrow turns out it might (maybe?) finally get done. But tonight’s entry is on a somewhat-related variant that I think (hope?) might be useful to someone (anyone?)…

…and at the very least I promise I’ll link you to someone else worth reading if you think this post is subpar :P

Last night I was one of seven students at NCCU Law to serve on a panel entitled “What is law school really like?” — similar to the panel I was on at N.C. State back in the Spring — where we spent a couple hours answering law school-related questions from about two dozen undergrads.

In the middle of the Q&A, a young lady asked if she should just go straight into law school once she graduates from undergrad, or if she should take a few years off to work first. And the first three responses to her question were all along the lines of “I can’t answer your question. You have to know yourself to decide that. Etc.”

It was a perfectly legitimate response, but one that I think strikes too much of a balance — to the point of not being useful. If it’s what you really want to do, my $.02 on the “should I go to law school right away?” question is of the “Yes, but…” variety.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Life doesn’t stop for law school. When we’re in undergrad slaving away in classes, it’s easy for us to discount just how much freedom we have to do what we want. As we get older we not only rack up bigger financial obligations — cell phone payments segueing to car payments segueing to mortgage payments (segueing to student loan payments) — but we also tend to fall in love with a spouse or children or a combination of the two. None of that stuff goes away when you decide to go to law school. I’ve got a number of Legal Eagle colleagues with families and/or sizable monetary responsibilities, forcing them to skip class in an emergency or work a side job to keep the bills paid or take time from studying to be parents / husbands / wives. It’s a testament to their tenacity that they can pull it off, but many folks also conclude the wall is too high for them to scale so they never go to law school at all.
  • “Now” money is more alluring than “later” money. Dove-tailing off the previous point, having readily-accessible cash flow is a comforting feeling. I didn’t make much money during the five years I was a college dropout, but I was making enough that I could keep the lights on in the apartment and food on the table. Any time something went wrong I knew a payday was coming up that could replenish whatever I’d have to pull from savings (or, more often than not, pay on a credit card :beatup: ). Giving that up for a lump-sum financial aid refund twice a year coupled with a ban from the ABA on working more than 20 hours a week is a big lifestyle shift, and makes the transition from the real world back into the academic world more challenging than it needs to be.
  • Law school’s not getting any cheaper. Speaking of challenges, the combined cost of law school tuition / fees / books isn’t going down. You’ve not only got basic economic inflation but also two sets of market pressures driving up rates: the war between law schools to boost their rankings, and the inflated volume of applicants caused by the deflated economy. Even public law schools, the bargains of the legal education arena, will find their tuition rates going through the roof over the next few years as federal stimulus money runs out and states look for ways to balance their ledgers. The longer you wait, the more money you’ll be paying up-front and through student loan interest over the next 20+ years.
  • It’s not getting less populous either. Law schools are also churning out thousands of newly minted lawyers every single year. That’s not going to change — the population might grow or shrink a smidge around the margins, but it’s safe to conclude they’ll continue to churn out thousands of new lawyers. every. single. year. These are the folks you’ll be competing with for jobs in the legal marketplace. Time spent in between undergrad and law school could just as easily be time spent as one of those newly minted lawyers, building experience in what’s going to become your career.

As for the “but…” part, despite everything I just told you, if you’re the type to get burned out it’s probably better to wait.1 Assuming you did a straight run through undergrad (instead of pulling a TDot) you’ll be in school for at least 7 straight years from the start of undergrad through getting your J.D. Remember having that feeling right around the 5th grade that you couldn’t possibly imagine having to go all the way through the 12th? That’s what you’ll be going through.

I also don’t want y’all taking this entry as a knock on the folks who decide (or don’t have a choice) to wait on getting their law degree. There’s a tremendous amount of value in the overly-clichéd topic of “life experience”; The Prophet actually penned an entry on that very subject just a couple days ago. And I can vouch for that reality: even though I absolutely hated being a dropout at the time, when I finally got back into school it definitely made me more appreciative of the education I was getting.2 The work experience I racked up has been a great help with finding employment and deciding what I want to do for a career.

And it gave me all sorts of colorful true-life stories to regale people with at parties :beatup:

But as beneficial as my experience was in hindsight, I’d never wish it on anyone. It wasn’t fun. There were many many days where I felt far-less-than-enthused with my life, where I was, and where I thought I was heading. And you can get just as much “life experience” as an attorney as I got being a random guy who only had a high school diploma ;)

So that’s my $.02 on going to law school now versus doing it later. Take it with the usual caveats, your mileage may very, I could be wrong, no express or implied warranties of any kind, etc etc etc — and have a good night! :)

  1. You could also avail yourself of a 4-year evening program, where you’d go to law school part-time at night and keep the rest of your day for working or being with a family. []
  2. In fact my first semester back was also the first (and only :beatup: ) time I made Dean’s List. []

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Apparently we’re nomnom-licious?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 2, 2010 in Site Stats

That’s the only reason I can think of to explain the search results from last month :beatup:

I wasn’t surprised when “law:/dev/null” turned out to be the most frequent query leading people to law:/dev/null, used by 20 separate visitors from across the web last month. But what was the #2 most frequent search term, used by over a half-dozen?

law:/dev/null Pageviews and Unique IPs over time

“nomnom”

Yeah. I don’t understand it either :crack:

But before we get into the amusement that is our monthly search queries, I wanted to give an über-huge *THANK YOU!!!* to y’all for helping May outpace April as our busiest month yet! :D

An updated graph is on the right for those of you who are visual people.1)

The data this month is interesting, because we had a -2.2% drop in unique IP addresses served — not a surprise given the summer break from school — but somehow still had a +13.6% bounce in average pageviews per day and a +17.3% jump in total pages overall.

I could be wrong here, but to me that means we’ve got more regular visitors who actually enjoy reading this stuff :eek:

Assuming I’m right on that, to all of the new folks I just wanted to say: 1) welcome!, 2) read the disclaimer!, and 3) thanks for visiting! :*

# of unique search terms

Also on the “this was unexpected but still pretty cool” front, we had a real explosion in search queries used to find this site — jumping +76.2% from 84 to 148.

I made a graph for that one too… :beatup:

I’m not entirely sure what prompted the search spike, since most of the terms go to entries that have been indexed by search engines for awhile now. If any of you happen to work for Google (our #1 referrer again) feel free to share some insights!

***

And now for those queries. Here are 20 of the 140+ search terms that brought folks here in May:

  • nomnom: Maybe the folks who tried this one were hungry for Contracts?
  • what is taking nccu so long: There were literally about a dozen different variations on this search, including “how long did it take to receive a decision from nccu law?” and “north carolina central university school of law admissions taking a long time” and “still no decision from nccu law”. All I can say to you folks is this: try not to think about it. In my case I got my acceptance letter from NCCU Law on 05/04/09, one week after I received an email that my application was “complete” and that I’d receive a decision “six to eight weeks” thereafter.2 The admissions staff are dealing with the recurring issue of having thousands more applicants than there are seats, and this year they have an added wrinkle with politics: the N.C. General Assembly has a provision in the House version of its budget currently being considered that would severely restrict enrollment growth at all institutions in the University of North Carolina… which means available fewer seats than anticipated. I know that’s approximately -0- solace to those of you who are waiting, but the admissions folks have a tough and thankless job so it takes awhile :beatup:
  • when does the nccu law packet come in the mail?: I got my packet around June 22nd or so.
  • conservative corporate taglines: Not sure what you’re looking for, but the only mention of taglines here is this entry on Men’s Wearhouse. Sorry.
  • segregated lunch counters: Are thankfully a thing of the past. I wrote some thoughts in this entry on the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins.
  • nccu law school section 102 grades: I’ve been told y’all have 3 of your 6 grades in already :mad: Be thankful you’re not §103 — we’re still waiting
  • mock trial: people v andrew madison: There were several searches related to this one too, looking for opening statements. Can’t help you with the opening, but feel free to check out my closing in the #4 entry of our monthly Top 5 list below.
  • nccu law summer reading list: If you haven’t gotten it already, you should get it around June 30th. I read To Kill A Mockingbird but didn’t read a single other book on the list. In my opinion you’re better off spending your time enjoying your summer ;)
  • blogs about north carolina central university school of law: There are 3 I’m aware of: us here at law:/dev/null, one by Madame Prosecutor, and one by the Prophet. If you find any others let me know!
  • does nccu school of law have midterms?: Yes we do, and with few exceptions they make up 20% of your final grade. That’s not always a good thing :beatup:
  • 3.0 gpa as a 1l: I need to know what school you’re at to give you any meaningful commentary. If you’re attending a law school with a 3.333 curve (like UNCCH Law or Duke Law), that means you’re not doing so hot. If you’re attending a law school with a 2.000 curve (like NCCU Law), it means you get a 100% tuition scholarship.
  • nccu law school trial team: Kicks ass — and that’s just the 1Ls :D
  • ashley yopp: Has been dubbed the Pickle Princess here on the blog. She worked with me last year running the UNC Association of Student Governments after she basically created the Student Senate at East Carolina University.
  • what states still elect clerks of superior court: Don’t know the answer to that question, but I know 100% for certain that North Carolina is one of them :)
  • unc asg stipends: Have been slashed to the lowest point they’ve ever been, and are now at a level where I’m worried it’s going to negatively affect the effectiveness of the organization if they’re not increased. See entry #5 in the monthly Top 5 list below for details.
  • why does nccu school of law have first year orientation: Because when it comes to law you’re not going to know your ass from your elbow when you start school, but you’ll be reading dozens of cases in every class every night for the first several weeks starting on Day 1. Orientation lets you get familiar with the school first, so you can get your locker, grab your ID card, buy your books and such — that way there are no excuses for you when the work gets piled on ;)
  • is nccu law accredited: Yes, as it has been since it was founded in 1939. The better question is: are there any law schools the ABA won’t accredit? :beatup:
  • law school student mental breakdown: Those apparently happen on occasion. NCCU Law has its own full-time psychiatrist for that very reason. Remember to breathe and everything will be fine…
  • how to answer contracts ii final exam: Not like this :cry:
  • people that start drama and then expect apologies: are insane. Just my $0.02.

It’s been an interesting month. Now I kinda want July to hurry up and get here so I can see how the June queries turn out… :spin:

***

And finally, here are the Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of May 2010, including two repeaters at #4 and #5:

  1. On my product-purchasing pathologies: Some signs you might be a law student… (05/04/10)
  2. On last month’s site stats: “You like me, you really like me!” (05/02/10)
  3. On LRP reducing me to tears: Illiteracy FTL (04/22/10)
  4. On my first ever closing argument: Alice in Wonderland (03/24/10)
  5. On political hacks-in-training writing commentary: On UNCASG, $1, and the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel (03/30/10)

*THANK YOU* again for your continued support of this blog, I truly do appreciate it :) I’m heading to bed so I can wake up on time to knock out some class work — have a great night y’all!! :D

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Past Site Stats entries:

  1. Or folks like me who just get a kick out of making graphs and charts and stuff ; []
  2. But I also had a high LSAT score to balance out applying so late in the admission cycle. Long-time readers of law:/dev/null may recall I’d gotten several emails from NCCU Law about a missing reference letter, so my application wasn’t ready for them to review until early April. []

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“You like me, you really like me!”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 2, 2010 in Site Stats

Or, if you don’t like me, y’all were at least kind enough to stop by regularly and make April the busiest month yet for law:/dev/null! :spin:

law:/dev/null Pageviews and Unique IPs over time

Here’s an updated graph of our pageviews-per-day and unique IP addresses. We had a 5.4% increase in unique visitors for the month1 along with 1 additional daily pageview.

But TDot,” you may be wondering, “+1 pageview-per-day is a mere 0.098% increase in traffic. Can you really consider that an increase in traffic beyond any but the most literalist of interpretations?

I certainly can, dear reader — though whether you agree with my rationale is another matter entirely :beatup:

You see March’s numbers were a big 51% jump over February, skewed upwards over just three days of traffic when local folks heard about a mere college student taking on one of the largest think tanks in North Carolina.2

Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with a comparable controversy this month… but the traffic rate held constant. That either means (i) the old political folks who stumbled across this little piece of internet real estate over those 3 days decided to keep reading all month (plausible but not likely), or (ii) new people somehow found law:/dev/null and became regular readers (plausible and less not likely).

Regardless, I’m not one to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth: I truly appreciate y’all being here, regardless of your reason, and I hope you’ll continue to stop by in the future (and spread the word!) :D

In referrer-related news, Google also continues to be our top referring site, sending about 1.5% of the folks who stop by here on a given day. Here are a selection of the 80+ searches that brought folks here in April:

  • decade: We had 4 separate people use this query. I’m guessing you got directed to my thoughts on the 2000s, but my question is this: people actually do searches on single, generic words?? :surprised:
  • nccu law study room reservations: Are done on the NCCU Law intranet. Can’t help you on this one. Sorry.
  • how to get into nccu law: Through the doors ;)
  • nccu law blogs: There are at least 3 of us I know of: myself, Madame Prosecutor, and a brother I’ve started calling the Prophet. If you find any more, let me know and I’ll add ’em to the blogroll.
  • hard work never killed anyone but: why take the chance?
  • student election poster: Take a look at my SBA poster or my SSP poster. You can take a guess at which one worked :beatup:
  • campbell law can 1ls work?: According to Campbell 1Ls at NCSU’s pre-law forum, nope.
  • how long does it take to get a decision from nccu school of law?: As long as it takes ;)
  • t greg tomes: T Greg’s Tomes are my political missives posted on Facebook. Haven’t put many of them on law:/dev/null, but I’ve posted this one and this one.
  • rick ingram unc: You’re probably looking for his SBP endorsement by the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel in that 1st Tome I just listed.
  • nccu law admission by email or mail?: Mail! Email admission notices are tacky :P
  • 5 u.s 137 shepardize: Yes, it’s true — I Shepardize old cases for fun :beatup: (5 U.S. 137 is Marbury v. Madison)
  • c grade law student screwed?: God I hope not, otherwise Contracts has ruined my life
  • best parking spots at nccu school of law?: The ones that are available. Word of advice for the incoming Class of 2013: show up early ;)
  • what classes do you need to become a lawyer at nccu: The same classes you need at every other ABA-accredited school. But you can check out NCCU Law‘s specific course catalog here.
  • law student disclaimer: You can read mine right here.
  • capsule wardrobe for a law student: How did someone looking for fashion tips end up here?? :crack: Check out TRPLS instead :)
  • computer scientist or lawyer: Lawyer
  • 1l memo useless: #truestory
  • attending nccu law: Congratulations! :D

I continue to be amazed at the searches that bring people here… :)

And finally, our Top 5 most-viewed posts for the month of April 2010, including two repeaters at #1 and #5:

  1. On my first ever closing argument: Alice in Wonderland (03/24/10)
  2. On sound principles making sound politics: More vindication! : ) (04/20/10)
  3. On political hacks-in-training writing commentary: On UNCASG, $1, and the UNCCH Daily Tar Heel (03/30/10)
  4. On the never-ending end of the semester: Like a mirage in the desert (04/10/10)
  5. On political hacks writing commentary: Crazy, or just lazy? You be the judge (or, “Erroneous trash masquerading as punditry”) (03/15/10)

*THANK YOU* to everyone for your continued support of the blog — it means a lot :)

I’m heading to bed, gotta be rested for my last final exam as a 1L! Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. Approximately; the logs only measure unique IP addresses, so if multiple people have logged in from the same IP (e.g. using corporate wifi with only 1 publicly-exposed IP) those folks get missed. I think the folks missed are balanced out by the spambots though :beatup: []
  2. Residual traffic to that entry has kept it at #5 in our Top 5 list for April :crack: []

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3

I quit!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 16, 2009 in Technology

Just kidding :)

It does seem to be that time of year though. From new blogs I just discovered this week to that guy who unknowingly got me blogging, it seems to be a post-summer of discontent for law students. My own fingers are firmly crossed that I don’t get hit with the Reality Stick until after the J.D. is mounted on my wall… :beatup:

The thought of getting out of law school did cross my mind earlier today, but it had nothing to do with exams.

Madame Prosecutor wanted to start a new web-based venture (I’ll let her furnish the details at a later date/time) and mentioned it to me a couple days ago. She asked for my help. And since I graduated with a degree in Computer Science, used to build websites professionally1), and already run law:/dev/null, I figured I’d walk her through buying a domain name and set her up with a WordPress installation on one of my own servers since I could do it all at next-to-no cost.

And from the minute she sat down next to me, there was a steady stream of back-and-forth commentary between us over legalese. From figuring out who was going to register the URL (my GoDaddy account, her billing information, and whenever she sets up her own account I’ll transfer the domain to her) to the details over the WordPress installation (I keep root access for emergencies and leave 100% of all daily operations to her) to ownership of the content (she keeps it) to liability for illegal activities taking place (she keeps that too) and more, we hammered out the rudiments of a full-blown contract.

It made me wish I was back in politics.

My travails in the WakeGOP notwithstanding, the political arena largely operates on trust.  Now you can differentiate between what I call “positive” trust and “negative” trust:  the former is where you actively trust someone because you know them / have worked with them / think they’re a good person / etc, and the latter is passive / the basis of economic game theory / “rational people respond predictably to incentives” / you know what someone will do without even meeting them / etc.

But trust is ultimately at the root of the system. It’s the implied foundation of one of my rules of politics: loyalty is more important than competence (in politics at least).

So when I used to build websites for politicians, there were no extensive formal contracts. Somebody told me they needed a website, I’d quote a price, they’d counter-offer if it was too high, we’d settle on an amount, I’d get the site specifics and go to work.  Out of the dozen or so sites I put together there was never a dispute over me getting paid or over the customer being satisfied with the finished product. No one needed or contemplated reducing everything to writing, much less having a choice of venue clause.

And here I was helping out a friend with comparatively miniscule project, and both of us are trying to make sure we formally protect ourselves from getting screwed by the other’s activities :crack:

shootmenowplzkthxu :beatup:

—===—

In other technology-related news, I went ahead and installed a FeedBurner plugin for law:/dev/null. I’m still not sure what it does, but I was told by a fellow blawger I needed to have it — and since Fight the Hypo and No634 used it, I figured it was legit. You can access the “Subscribe” page up at the top of the blog.

And at some point I’ll fix the little “Subscribe” links that show up on each post to actually go where they’re supposed to go… just as soon as I figure out why I can only see them on some posts and not on others :beatup:

Finally, I stumbled upon a blog by one of my fellow Legal Eagles earlier today. It’s not solely law-focused and the updates have been sporadic, but it’s worth checking out. The guy’s got one of the sharpest wits in the class — his Facebook status routinely keeps people rolling, and I’ve jotted down a snippet or two on occasion. Enjoy: http://realgoesright.blogspot.com/

That’s it for tonight folks, I’m off to enjoy the Parol Evidence Rule and more defeasible estate festivities :)  Don’t forget to go watch the Leonid meteor shower around 2am EST! :D

  1. The backend coding at least. I manifestly fail at graphic design, as evidenced by the fact I had to use someone else’s theme for this site ; []

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