2

Going out on a W

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 1, 2012 in NotFail

It’s been a great night!

This past week has been our annual Law Week activities at the North Carolina Central University School of Law,1  capped tonight with our annual Law Week Banquet where “The Big Five”2 announce the winners of their respective competitions and the SBA elections, praise their outgoing executive boards, listen to the outgoing President give his remarks, and so on.

The banquet this year was notable from the start for completely and totally shattering every single attendance record in existence at the law school over its 73-year history :D

Best-attended banquet in 73 years!

Last semester my Vice President and I came up with some new ideas for improving the event,3 she then put together a stellar agenda/program for the event then she and her planning committee made things happen. With over 210+ people in attendance, we had about 70 or so more people than the previous banquet attendance record.

We were charging folks $20 apiece for tickets ($35 for alumni/faculty/staff) and still had to turn people away! :crack:

The student speakers ran a bit long so a good chunk of those 210+ were gone by the time I gave my (abbreviated) farewell address at the end of the night, but it didn’t matter because my night was made earlier that night…

BECAUSE I FINALLY WON SOMETHING! :spin:

After 2.5 years, I finally got 1st place!

After coming in 3rd place my 1L year with my “Alice in Wonderland” closing, then clawing up to 2nd place last year despite a horrible ambulance-chaser-inspired fact pattern, I finally made it to the top of the dog pile in our 3L closing argument competition (even after screwing up a guy’s last name)! :D

And I didn’t just make it to the top in the trial advocacy stuff — I somehow also got the best oral advocate and best overall awards for our Fall moot court competition, named after Judge TP…

…yes, that’s the same guy who held me in contempt during my final trial in trial practice :beatup:

I’m probably one of the few people who has honestly enjoyed his entire law school career, but after my grades last semester I was bitterly disappointed that I probably won’t be able to graduate with honors. As shallow as it probably sounds, coming in 1st in both of these competitions coupled with having an incredibly successful year at the helm of the SBA helps to lessen the sting ;)

The dog’s pestering me to go outside so I’ll have to cut this entry here, but more to come at some point in the near-term future now that my SBA obligations are winding down. Have a great night y’all! :D

—===—

From the law:/dev/null competition-related archives:

  1. A crazy week indeed — my birthday on Monday, a rally that same day about the Trayvon Martin homicide attended by about 250 people from both the law school and undergrad, our annual 1L/2L/3L basketball tournament, nearly a dozen different student organization events including Speed Networking II and symposiums for both of our law reviews, our SBA and class elections on Thursday, and more stuff I’m probably forgetting… :crack: []
  2. The Student Bar Association and the 4 organizations who provide academic credit to their participants: our “regular” law review, our biotechnology and pharmaceutical law review, our Moot Court Board, and our Trial Advocacy Board. []
  3. Including bulk table sales for student organizations: selling 10 seats as a block to the organization itself, then letting the organization resell the tickets to their members at whatever price point they want and keeping whatever they can raise. Capitalism works y’all! []

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2

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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2

Not quite according to plan…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 15, 2011 in Fail

Hey everybody :)

I just realized it’s been a week now since I posted that I’d be trying to catch up on old law:/dev/null entries “in the coming day or two”. And in the 7 days since then I’ve only managed to get two of those entries posted, one on my summer school schedule and the other on my 3L Fall schedule :beatup:

As you can probably guess, I completely overestimated the degree of “done”-ness of my semester. On the academic side of things, even with liberally skipping my Business Associations and Criminal Procedure classes to catch up elsewhere, my Fridays have been eaten up with trials for Trial Practice and my paper for Scientific Evidence has turned out to be a bigger deal than I originally thought.

Outside of that, on a personal note the issues with my family have flared up again, and one of my (formerly close) “friends” has essentially decided I’m not worth the time of day now that she no longer needs me around for moral support. And of course the state budget is shaping up to be a disaster for the UNC system and UNCASG continues to be MIA, so I’ve been diving in to start some advocacy work from my vantage point here within the law school.1

One day I’ll get back to updating the blog regularly. Seriously. Until then I’d recommend using our RSS feed so you can get updated whenever new entries get posted instead of waiting for me to get my life together ;)

Thanks for still reading, and have a great weekend! :D

  1. I’ve got a separate entry on it in the works, but I won the Presidency of our Student Bar Association for next year. []

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2

G[F]ail (or “F*ck the Cloud, Day 2”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 28, 2011 in Technology

Another day on the internet, another day with no access to anything Google-affiliated :mad:

Now at least it says Google is trying to fix things...

After sporadically checking Gmail throughout Trial Practice and Business Associations this morning, I finally just gave up. Still no email. Still no docs.  Nothing. Nil. Nada.

At least Google was kind enough to put a new redirect in place when I tried to access my account. Now it tells me explicitly why I can’t access my account, instead of sending me to a page saying I violated their Terms of Service.

After winging AAJ trial team practice tonight since I didn’t have any of my docs, I made my way home from the law school around 11ish when I discovered I now at least (it appears) have access to my non-Gmail services.

I also noticed Google had posted an update on their blog making it out like there was never really an issue.  Here’s the copy/paste, but you can read the original at this URL:

Gmail back soon for everyone
Monday, February 28, 2011 | 6:30 PM
Posted by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24×7)

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we’re making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue.

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

As always, we’ll post a detailed incident report outlining what happened to the Apps Status Dashboard, as well as the corrective actions we’re taking to help prevent it from occurring again. If you were affected by this issue, it’s important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren’t delivered.

Thanks for bearing with us as we fix this, and sorry again for the scare.

A “scare”? Really??

I realize Google has a vested interest in downplaying this situation — after all, they’re trying to convince major corporations to entrust their networks to The Cloud — but I’m almost offended that they’re acting like (i) losing access to my email for 2 days now (potentially permanently), complete with (ii) redirects to a page saying I violated the Terms of Service, alongside (iii) cryptic and thoroughly uninformative status updates on the Google Apps Status Dashboard, and (iv) no substantive response from the company until after the media catches on to what’s going on, is all merely a “scare.” :roll:

Then there’s the rest of the content in this non-apology apology. They’re backing up my email from tape archives but it’s somehow still all there? I call bullsh*t: the sheer volume of tape cartridges they’d need to use to back up all their users is too huge to believe they do these backups daily. A more likely explanation is that they’ve got a monthly or quarterly tape archive that they’re going to use to restore my account (assuming they actually restore it), which would mean I’ll have permanently lost anything recent.

We’ll see what happens over these next 48 hours that they’re supposedly working. But for now I’m drifting toward becoming one of those anti-GOOG partisans…

[Postscript: And to those of you thinking “But TDot, Gmail is free! You shouldn’t complain!”: I’ll stop complaining about losing my access when Google decides to give me the advertising $$$ they made from ads targeted based on heuristic analysis of my email messages ;) All the “free” users are paying for Gmail service, exchanging the privacy of our email correspondence for cloud storage and reliable access.]

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1

Über-huge mini-update on life

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 7, 2011 in The 2L Life

Evening y’all! :D

I’ve been gone from the blawgosphere for what seems like an eternity — I looked at the little calendar thing on the right for January, and for the first time since I started law:/dev/null there were more days without entries posted than with them :beatup:

As you can probably guess, I had totally overcommitted myself this semester. But I’ve started paring back and hope to get back into the swing of things here starting now ::fingers crossed::

Here’s a quick update on my life, which encompasses most of the dozen-ish entries I had queued up but never got around to posting:

====================
I. ACADEMICS
====================

The academic vibe this semester is totally different from last semester. Thus far I’ve got no real interest in any of my classes… plus I’m behind in pretty much all of them :(

Trial Practice is boring because all the stuff we’re going over — openings / closings / directs / crosses / objections — has already been beaten into my brain from trial team practice (see Part II below). Business Associations would probably be a fun class, if not for the fact I’m about 4 lectures behind in the reading.

Same deal with Scientific Evidence; I’ve got high hopes for enjoying it as the semester progresses, but between falling behind in the reading and class being at 8:30am, I’ve been very “blah” every day. As for Criminal Procedure, I finally managed to get caught up last week just to fall behind again by the next class.

I’ve basically been keeping my head down in all of my classes praying I don’t get called on :beatup: God willing I’ll be able to get everything caught up tomorrow and Tuesday…

====================
II. EXTRACURRICULAR STUFF I’M IN
====================

Trial team has essentially consumed my life. Back in early January during our first practice I was worried I’d be blown out by my teammates in our draft closing arguments, so I did a lot of prep on mine… and ended up giving the best one :surprised:

That netted me the team captain spot for the 2Ls with the designation as “swing” counsel. Since TYLA teams are either 2 or 3 people, in our case we’ve got 1 person solely doing prosecution, 1 solely doing defense, and the “swing” (me) doing both :crack:

So there have been multi-hour practices 4-5 days a week for a month now. On the off days I’m tweaking things and updating my trial binder and thinking about possible curveballs that could be tossed at us by the competition. Add in the fact I’d never actually questioned a witness before — abjectly failing on the first couple attempts as a result — and you get what’s been an awful loooong month.

For several days I’d get to the law school at 8am and not leave until 10pm, a scenario I assiduously avoided during 1L year and now can’t escape :beatup:

On the SBA end, Treasury work has been a mess too. All NCCU Law school students pay a fee to the main campus student union, which goes into a programming fund to which different organizations can submit requests for event funding. At some point years and years ago, the administrators on main campus decided it would be more efficient to just give the SBA that $$$ paid by law school students and letting us distribute it (since our folks almost never use main campus facilities) instead of having the law school groups submit a boatload of requests to main campus.

Turns out this was all a totally unofficial arrangement. With catastrophic budget cuts looming, the folks on NCCU’s main campus decided a few weeks ago they’re not going to give the SBA that money — months after the fiscal year started and we had adopted a budget including it. So I got to spend a good chunk of late January working with the SBA Exec Board and law school administrators to fill a ~$90K budget hole with only a few months left in our terms.

Fortunately we wrote a very austere budget back in September so we were able to pull it off, but at the cost of having to cancel our Spring appropriations process and trim back a bunch of other expenditures.

My campaign logo+slogan for SBA President

The whole situation’s roots in budget cuts has also persuaded me to run for SBA President in March. The impending cuts being handed down by the state legislature are truly mind-boggling in their enormity. Consider, for example, that for every $1 in state funding that’s eliminated from North Carolina’s university system, tuition has to be raised by $3 to make up the difference. The NCGA is currently talking about cutting $400,000,000.00+ from the UNC system. That means we’re facing $1.2B+ (yes, “billion” with a “b”) in tuition increases just to stay where we are — increases of roughly $5,600 per student.

Those kind of increases lead to mass dropouts like we had back in the early part of this millennium — including your humble author — and it makes for horrible public policy. Our SBA this year had to focus on rebuilding its internal credibility with the Student Body and faculty, and now it’s time for us to focus our sights elsewhere. I think (hope?) my experiences can make me a solid advocate for this university and law school in the year ahead.

I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes :)

====================
III. EXTRACURRICULAR STUFF I’M NOT IN
====================

Speaking of student advocates, UNCASG has been in the news quite a bit lately — and it seems for all the wrong reasons.

My successor and his administration pushed me out of the group and ran as far away from my way of doing things as quickly as his legs could carry him. I can’t really complain because that’s how politics goes and I certainly did the same thing when I took over.  The difference between then and now, though, is that I discarded things that didn’t work and found ways that did.

On the other hand, the new kids on the block have basically taken a timewarp back to 2006-07 :crack:

First there was a controversy over the President threatening Executive Officers who support local SG candidates who “disagree with the ‘ASG vision'”. This kind of institutional arrogance is precisely what alienated campuses from UNCASG in the past and led to the withdrawals in the year before I was elected. How anyone thought it was a good idea is beyond my limited mental faculties to comprehend; in my world, if you’re going to have to fire someone… you just don’t hire them in the first place.

The UNCCH Carolina Review decided to make hay from the issue with a piece of their own of course. You might recall the folks at the Carolina Review are the self-proclaimed conservatives cited by the Pope Center in the Center’s hit piece on my tuition views last March.1

I can’t blame the Carolina Review for trying to boost their readership with a timely article on a manufactured controversy, but pegging it as a conservative issue struck me as amusing — once upon a time conservatives opposed non-local people getting involved in local affairs. Instead the Review encourages it, as long as the involvement coincides with their own political views.

The whole situation is a mess, and one that should have been avoided. When I originally wrote UNCASG’s Ethics Act 2.5 years ago, I included this provision:

§1-2.5. Electioneering Prohibited.
(a) No Executive Officer receiving compensation funded by student fees shall knowingly engage in election-related advocacy or other campaign activities on behalf of any candidate for elective office at a constituent member of the Association.
(b) No Executive Officer shall allow his or her name and/or official title to be used to further the candidacy of any candidate for elective office at a constituent member of the Association.
(c) This section shall not be construed to prevent an Executive Officer from filing for elective office at a constituent member of the Association and from campaigning on his or her own behalf.

The section was removed in committee, at the urging of students from… UNCCH.2

The folks at the Carolina Review have also been circulating a petition to have a referendum on UNCCH’s participation in ASG put on their Student Government ballot in an effort to have the University remove itself. As the guy who created N.C. State’s student fee referenda from scratch back when I was Student Senate President, I’m actually in total support of having this particular referendum… but (unsurprisingly) they haven’t yet collected enough signatures to get it on the ballot. If they did, it would deprive them of an issue to carp about :roll:

“But TDot,” you say, “all of the stuff you’re talking about is small potatoes. None of this matters when a group is doing meaningful work and making a difference.” And you’d be right — but that’s not what’s actually going on.

Instead of focusing on the impending tuition battle I mentioned in Part I above, the leadership of UNCASG has focused instead on getting the President a vote on the university system’s Board of Governors — an utterly useless power on a Board where almost all votes are unanimous, and doubly useless when reaching out to the 215,000+ students the ASG President represents can carry more power than any vote. The last ASG meeting produced a total lack of consensus on a legislative agenda, leading to a factually-inaccurate DTH editorial touting a student vote as a good thing to try and fix the total dysfunction currently gripping the group.

The DTH (unsurprisingly) is wrong. Unfortunately the ASG leadership is wrong too.

Then there are the upcoming campus elections which will produce the next salvo of anti-ASG fireworks when new SBPs take office in a few months. Among the amusing candidacies is Rick Ingram, the odds-on favorite to become Student Body President at UNCCH. You might remember Ingram as the Kerry-esque flip-flopper who voted in favor of the UNCASG budget before he decided it would be more beneficial politically to oppose it. He’s been aggressively courting students for their votes — apparently so much so that the campus’s Board of Elections has already fined him for violating campaign rules and is now debating having him disqualified.3

Ingram also proclaimed on his website that “The simple truth is this — the days of fighting against tuition increases are over.”… an odd proclamation from a student and aspiring student leader in light of $1.2B+ in upcoming tuition hikes, and one which (1) the media (unsurprisingly) never covered and (2) promptly disappeared from his website when it became a political liability. Ingram’s victory would speak volumes about the UNCCH electorate, but more ominously it would ensure UNCASG wastes all of next year fighting pointless internal battles instead of serving students.

With all of this drama going on, for some unknown reason I made the mistake of heading to the NC General Assembly to catch up with some old colleagues and ask a few legislators of their thoughts on the situation. To say UNCASG has lost nearly all the credibility we built for it over two years would be putting it mildly :mad:  If I had any doubt that things were really as bad as they seemed, I actually got calls from several campuses asking me to come back and run for the organization’s Senior Vice President position.4 It’s disheartening that I’m actually considering it…

====================
IV. PERSONAL LIFE
====================

The saying “when it rains, it pours” was a pretty good epitaph for January 2011.

I was sick for the first week. My sister was committed to a mental institution the second week. QT’s dad unexpectedly died of a heart attack the week after. That very same day in trial team practice I found out a friend of mine was killed in a car accident.

At some point around that portion of the month I discovered both of my parents are either currently having or recently had affairs (I was sufficiently disappointed in both of them that I didn’t bother to inquire further) and the situation with my sister has them contemplating divorce. My dad was laid off from his job. My sister got released from the mental hospital and within the week was off her meds and smoking weed like she had nothing better to do with her time. At which point my parents discovered she had been stealing my mom’s jewelry to sell in an effort to finance her drug habit. Etc etc etc ad nauseum.

I’m pretty sure there was other crazy sh*t going on last month too but I did my best to forget as much of it as possible :beatup:  I’m trying to be a supportive friend to QT and her brother as best I can, trying to avoid the quagmire that is my family and their attendant refusal to make the tough decisions necessary to actually improve their lives, and otherwise trying to avoid having my generally sunshine-y disposition rained out on a near-daily basis like it did last month.

====================
V. PROFESSIONAL STUFF
====================

Things are at least marginally better on the professional side. I’ve started my tutoring sessions with the 1Ls in Criminal Law, and so far I’ve got the highest-attended tutorial and office hours out of the 15 different 1L classes (3 each in CrimLaw, CivPro, Torts, Property, and Ks). It’s too early to tell if that trend’s going to continue, but the feedback has been very positive and it really boosts my spirits :spin:

My internship with I-Cubed was also going really well. The people are great, the company culture is cool, the issues are interesting, and I was turning in sterling work product (even earning the praise of an attorney at another tech company). I was also getting addicted to the four-figure paychecks…

…but I walked away :surprised:

Between trial team consuming my time, my personal life being a crucible, and trying to keep up with academics, I just wasn’t able to give the company the 20 hours a week they needed. So I met with the CEO last week (my boss) and basically quit for now. I’m still part of the company and available for non-time-sensitive ad hoc projects as needed, but I’ve otherwise wound down to -0- hours a week until summer when the company will re-assess if I’m still useful to them.

It was the first time I’ve left a job since 2002, when I quit the State Bar to go take a leadership spot in the Wake County Clerk’s Office. There’s a part of me that’s terrified I made the wrong choice, especially with all the doom and gloom about the economy and law school employment stats and etc. But honestly I’d rather put everything out on the table and take my chances down the road than either (1) being miserable every day as I’m stretched too far in too many directions, or (2) start failing at things, turning in below-par work, and ending up getting fired anyway ;)

It was an awesome opportunity and I’m thankful for it, and I’ve got faith everything will work out exactly how it’s supposed to work out :)

====================
VI. BLAWG LIFE
====================

Spam combat on the backend of this blog has been continuing apace. My edition of the (badly-delayed) Law School Roundup will be coming up this week so I can punt the ball back over to Katie Luper :)

And oddly enough we had a real explosion in Google searches last month, so even though I had almost no entries in January we still had fairly decent traffic :crack:

I’ve also got a piece on tap for Beyond Hearsay that should be going live some time over the next couple weeks, and one for The True Verdict that I’m working on in my spare time — hopefully you’ll like them both ;)

—===—

That’s it for this entry y’all! I’m sorry for being gone as long as I was, but I’m gonna make a serious effort to get back in the game.

Until next time, have a great week! :D

  1. Views they fabricated from whole cloth despite five years’ worth of publicly-available commentary to the contrary. []
  2. Conservative UNCCH students at that, who saw an opportunity to back one of their own SBP candidates with ASG EOs. []
  3. Ingram’s response to the potentially-disqualifying allegations is quite entertaining. Anyone who’s taken the “Detection of Deception” CLE should be able to spot several items where he’s being dishonest with the Board; see if you can find them :) []
  4. I wrote term limits into the ASG Constitution so I’m ineligible to serve as President ever again. []

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1

When “honesty is the best policy” goes awry

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 24, 2011 in The 2L Life

Hey everybody! :D

I promise y’all I really truly do have a bunch of entries to get posted. Really. It’s just been an über-insane couple weeks and the backlog just kinda keeps growing.

But I figured tonight’s entry is sufficiently brief and/or fail-worthy that it merited posting in a timely fashion ;)

One of the few character traits I closely guard is my reputation for candor. Love me or hate me, most folks I know will agree that I’m a “no bullsh*t” guy — I’ll tell you exactly what I’m thinking, even if it means you’re not gonna like me afterward as a result. I’d rather have an honest enemy than a fraudulent friend.

99.9% of the time that works out in my favor, like it did with my late critiques in my ADR Clinic class this summer.

Today was the other 0.1% :beatup:

I’d fallen behind in the reading for Business Associations, and I know from experience that if Prof Ks calls on you and you’re unprepared, you’ll be called on again — needless to say, not a 1L experience I care to repeat. And it’s not like I was going to miss anything terribly riveting in Trial Practice. We’re going over how to create a closing argument, something I’ve got a little experience doing already.

So I decided to skip Trial Practice to catch up on the readings. Easy decision.

For whatever reason, I thought it would be appropriate to stop by the Judge’s office after class to see what I had missed. The conversation started like this, verbatim:

Judge TP: “What happened to you?”
TDot: “Well, sir, I was behind in Business Associations and I didn’t want to insult your intelligence by showing up to your class and not paying attention.”
Judge TP: ::blank stare::

And of course there were a pair of 1Ls sitting outside a professor’s office barely a foot away to watch the whole thing :beatup:

After looking at me like I was batsh*t crazy for a solid 30 seconds, he asked me if I knew the next assignment and then walked off. Here’s hoping I didn’t just nuke my Trial Practice grade…

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-

Here we go again

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 10, 2011 in The 2L Life

Good evening y’all! :)

First day of the my 2L Spring semester was today, and I’ve got a feeling this is going to be one rollercoaster of a semester. As one might expect from some of my past entries, it wouldn’t be the first day of class without a mini-disaster of some kind :roll:

Usually my car doesn’t like to start up in the cold weather, so I get up early and crank it until it starts, then sit there until it warms up, then leave for class. Well this morning it started on the second try (which was weird) so I let it warm up and headed to class a bit earlier than usual… and no sooner do I get into the inner lane of the major thoroughfare outside my apartment, in the middle of morning rush hour traffic, when the whole car just randomly dies.

No gas. No brakes. No steering. Nada.

Luckily for me I wasn’t going that fast and coast to a stop, so with cars barreling down on me I frantically hit the hazard lights switch, open the door and jump out of the car to start flagging other drivers to go around. I eventually get the car to start again and make my way to school…

…but not before I’m solidly late for Trial Practice class :beatup:

In hindsight it was probably a good thing though, because the first day of class was about as exciting as watching grass grow. It covered the basic mechanics and stages of a trial from voir dire through final judgment, stuff I had already picked up between my past professional experience and spending last year on the 1L trial team.

But the class is taught by a judge though and is practically-oriented (all future classes involve different pairs of us going through different parts of the trial) so I’m hoping the excitement level will crank up soon :)

Then I talked with Professor FRE about the Evidence exam and found out I deserved the grade I got, but for totally different reasons than I expected. I’ll save the details on that for the grade rundown once I get all of mine in (still missing 3 :mad: ).

And then I had Business Associations, which will have me terrified for at least the near-term future. Prof Ks (who also teaches BA) got his timeslots mixed up and was late for class, and for whatever reason I decided to do the responsible student thing and go get him — then got rewarded by being the first person called on to brief a case :beatup:

I feel like I held my own so there’s an ever-so-slim I might actually do well with the material this year, but let’s just say I’m glad the class period only lasted about 50 minutes ;)

While I was in class I got a handful of emails from my internship, including docs I need to get reviewed ASAP. The schedule was posted for my tutoring gig so I’ve gotta get rolling on that. Plus there’s a 15-minute closing argument to write for trial team practice tomorrow night, and somewhere between now and then need to read about 80 pages for BA and Criminal Procedure ::headdesk::

The only real upside to today? We’re currently in the middle of a snow + freezing rain + ice storm, so morning classes got canceled :spin:

Expect me to have no hair left by the end of the semester ;) But hopefully it’ll be some fun :D

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2

Snark FTW

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 19, 2009 in The 1L Life

My friend Delta the 2L is taking the Trial Practice course this semester, and asked me a few days ago to be a witness for a mock trial that was held earlier today. I enjoyed myself. Immensely :)

The fact pattern for the trial centers on a high school delinquent-turned-professional baseball player with a cocaine addiction, who bumps into me (an old friend and fellow delinquent) at a rock concert and asks me to procure some illicit substances on his behalf. He robs a jewelry store to pay the $16K expense I quote him for a half-kilo. The cops find the drugs in my car after I’m pulled for suspicion of DUI, so I offer details I know about the jewelry store heist in exchange for only getting straight probation on the DUI.

Since this is a mock trial for a class, the “witnesses” are either fellow Legal Eagles or the parents thereof. We were all given three basic directives: 1) be truthful in all your responses; 2) where the fact pattern is silent, feel free to improvise; and 3) be as uncooperative with opposing counsel as possible.  The lack of “uncooperative”-ness wasn’t terribly exciting though since most of the witnesses read straight from their fact pattern materials on the stand.

Not I… ;)

Since I was doing this for Delta the 2L — a person who’s helped guide me through law school thus far — I figured I’d have some fun with it for her benefit. That led to a handful of exchanges that were mildly amusing for the jury, mildly annoying for the defense counsel, or a combination of the two.

An example:

[From the fact pattern: I’ve been convicted of filing a false police report, included in the fact pattern to provide an opportunity for the defense to attack my credibility]

Defense Counsel: On January xx, you were convicted of filing a false police report, were you not?

Me: I can explain that. ::turns to the jury:: I was doing my Christmas shopping, see, and I had this lady friend. Gorgeous. And she had this kid. So I figured I’d buy her kid the last Tickle Me Elmo they had at Wal-Mart. And then this porcine-looking guy pushed me out of the way and grabbed the last one off the shelf. So I was mad and told the police he threatened to kill me. It was a mistake. But for her it was worth it.

::laughter::

And…

[From the fact pattern: I’ve previously been in prison and don’t want to go back]

Defense Counsel: You have an intense incentive to lie today don’t you?

Me: No sir. If I testify untruthfully I get sent back to prison.

Defense Counsel: And you don’t want to go back to prison, do you?

Me: Hell no I don’t want to go back. Last time I was in there were these 2 guys, Bubba and Pookie. Those guys were hungry, and I don’t mean for Big Macs.

::laughter::

And…

[From the fact pattern: I occasionally read the Sports section of the local newspaper]

Defense Counsel: Do you read the Courant sir?

Me: Every now and then I read the Sports section, yes sir.

Defense Counsel: So you read the news story about the robbery in which my client was identified? Could that have influenced your identifying him today?

Me: I don’t think they print robbery stories in the Sports section…

::laughter::

Part of me felt like an ass afterwards for subjecting the defense counsel to it, but technically it was my job. And it was fun :D

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