So you think you want BigLaw?

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FrogNToad
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by FrogNToad » Mon May 07, 2018 10:25 am

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 10:27 am
Unless you're at S&C, where having the S&C bag was a point of pride, otherwise no.
Has anyone ever seen the legendary S&C shoulder bag? I'm super curious what it looks like.

aeloine
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by aeloine » Tue May 08, 2018 3:06 pm

I have a(n almost stupid) question: is there enough work to bill those hours? I work at a F500 firm and rarely have enough work to fill up 30 hrs, let alone 60.

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Danger Zone
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Danger Zone » Tue May 08, 2018 3:23 pm

aeloine wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:06 pm
I have a(n almost stupid) question: is there enough work to bill those hours? I work at a F500 firm and rarely have enough work to fill up 30 hrs, let alone 60.
Yeah, there is. Part of the misery of biglaw is the volatility of the work and not knowing when those hours are going to come though. So you'll be stressed working a 70 hour week and then also stressed working a 20 hour week, and in any event you won't know in advance what kinda week it's gonna be. Good times.

chroniwhatcles
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by chroniwhatcles » Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm

Pleb question - how does supply (in terms of people who want to be)of litigation associates compare to that of transactional?

Given that while also strenuous, litigation offers a more predictable schedule, and is not entirely back-end work (which may be more interesting), is it more competitive if you signal interest in lit over transactional during OCI?

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MKC
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by MKC » Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm

chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.

chroniwhatcles
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by chroniwhatcles » Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm

MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.
Referencing prior comments in this thread - that you at least know trial dates ahead of time and which months will be wrecked, rather than dealing with the volatility of M&A deals, for example

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by SmokeytheBear » Tue May 08, 2018 7:20 pm

chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm

is it more competitive if you signal interest in lit over transactional during OCI?
You have to do your research on the office you're applying to. If the office only has a couple litigation partners but a ton of transactional parters, well, you do the math.

But if you're applying to an office like, say OMM LA or Skadden NY or Sidley Chicago or other full service firms, it shouldn't matter since the summer program is usually a rotation.

chroniwhatcles
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by chroniwhatcles » Tue May 08, 2018 7:26 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:20 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm

is it more competitive if you signal interest in lit over transactional during OCI?
You have to do your research on the office you're applying to. If the office only has a couple litigation partners but a ton of transactional parters, well, you do the math.

But if you're applying to an office like, say OMM LA or Skadden NY or Sidley Chicago or other full service firms, it shouldn't matter since the summer program is usually a rotation.
Was just curious about NYC market in general, but this was helpful, thanks. Do you generally get what practice area you want after the rotational summer program or is it also demand-driven?

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MKC
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by MKC » Tue May 08, 2018 7:40 pm

chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.
Referencing prior comments in this thread - that you at least know trial dates ahead of time and which months will be wrecked, rather than dealing with the volatility of M&A deals, for example
Dealing with discovery can wreck your life on fairly short notice.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by SmokeytheBear » Tue May 08, 2018 7:42 pm

MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:40 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.
Referencing prior comments in this thread - that you at least know trial dates ahead of time and which months will be wrecked, rather than dealing with the volatility of M&A deals, for example
Dealing with discovery can wreck your life on fairly short notice.
Same for M&A work. Have been on several deals where the bankers say, "we need a diligence issues list in 72 hours" after they just provided credentials to the dataroom.

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MKC
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by MKC » Tue May 08, 2018 7:49 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:42 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:40 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.
Referencing prior comments in this thread - that you at least know trial dates ahead of time and which months will be wrecked, rather than dealing with the volatility of M&A deals, for example
Dealing with discovery can wreck your life on fairly short notice.
Same for M&A work. Have been on several deals where the bankers say, "we need a diligence issues list in 72 hours" after they just provided credentials to the dataroom.
Like I said, I have no transactional experience so I can't speak to it, but I wouldn't pick litigation seeking work life balance or predictability.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by SmokeytheBear » Tue May 08, 2018 7:53 pm

MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:49 pm
SmokeytheBear wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:42 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:40 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 pm
MKC wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
chroniwhatcles wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:09 pm
litigation offers a more predictable schedule
I don't know what transactional work looks like, but litigation is far from predictable, except maybe in the broadest sense of the word. Lit is quite capable of wrecking your life for months at a time.
Referencing prior comments in this thread - that you at least know trial dates ahead of time and which months will be wrecked, rather than dealing with the volatility of M&A deals, for example
Dealing with discovery can wreck your life on fairly short notice.
Same for M&A work. Have been on several deals where the bankers say, "we need a diligence issues list in 72 hours" after they just provided credentials to the dataroom.
Like I said, I have no transactional experience so I can't speak to it, but I wouldn't pick litigation seeking work life balance or predictability.
Agreed.

I wouldn't pick biglaw seeking balance or predictability. While one group might give you slightly more predictability over another, it's only marginal, which means relative to any other career path it's still not balanced or predictable at all.

I've seen on other threads people say, for example, that being a specialist (e.g. tax, exec comp, etc) provides more predictability. But I can't think of how many times I've had to get one of those specialists on a deal-related task, very short notice, that might require a decent chunk of their time while they already had other long standing tasks on their plate.

chroniwhatcles
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by chroniwhatcles » Tue May 08, 2018 7:56 pm

Definitely not in the general sense, what I’m sensing from earlier portions of this thread is that purely in terms of being able to anticipate the worst periods and plan ahead, lit may have a slight advantage. But perhaps that difference is negligible

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by SmokeytheBear » Tue May 08, 2018 7:57 pm

Negligible.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Tue May 08, 2018 8:40 pm

As a lit first year, I can assure you that there is no balance. Do whatever interests you, undergirded by the assumption you're willing to burn work-life balance on a pyre of your dreams.

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Johannes
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Johannes » Thu May 10, 2018 2:20 am

lit = unpredictable travel the more senior you get. almost every lit sr associate i knew was 100k mileagers and a couple had already hit 1 million miles before age 35, with im guessing about 750k coming over 7 (but really 5) years of biglaw.

Borges_and_barbells
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Borges_and_barbells » Thu May 10, 2018 5:04 pm

Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:25 pm
Nebby wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm
181plz wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:14 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:13 pm
And it’s a common question, but I’ve done work at a midlaw firm, and the hours expectation wasn’t so demonstrably different than the market biglaw firms to say its good money for less work. In fact, the firm I worked at had the exact same billable (and paid the same initially as big firms in the market but then had a more compressed pay scale after that). Maybe that makes it less like the midlaw you’re imagining, but if you want quality work experience and the coinciding exit opportunities that come with that experience, you’re going to get worked pretty hard no matter the size of the firm. Some of the highest billing associates in the market actually work at boutiques because of the leaner staffing model.
So, is there any realistic job for me out of law school where I can make 6 figures for 50hours of work a week? Or do I just have to suck it up and live at work?

Edit: that is, 50 hours of my time; not 50 hours billed.
Jobs like that basically don't exist
I want to stress; jobs like that basically don't exist, anywhere.

Even if we put everything on a level playing field. Consultants/accountants/engineers/ whatever other field will not offer you 6 figures 3 years out for 2000hours worked. That's unfortunately just not the corporate work schedule that America has been sold anymore
Isn't federal government work 40-50 hours a week for 100k+ on the GS schedule?

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proteinshake
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by proteinshake » Thu May 10, 2018 8:01 pm

Borges_and_barbells wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:25 pm
Nebby wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm
181plz wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:14 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:13 pm
And it’s a common question, but I’ve done work at a midlaw firm, and the hours expectation wasn’t so demonstrably different than the market biglaw firms to say its good money for less work. In fact, the firm I worked at had the exact same billable (and paid the same initially as big firms in the market but then had a more compressed pay scale after that). Maybe that makes it less like the midlaw you’re imagining, but if you want quality work experience and the coinciding exit opportunities that come with that experience, you’re going to get worked pretty hard no matter the size of the firm. Some of the highest billing associates in the market actually work at boutiques because of the leaner staffing model.
So, is there any realistic job for me out of law school where I can make 6 figures for 50hours of work a week? Or do I just have to suck it up and live at work?

Edit: that is, 50 hours of my time; not 50 hours billed.
Jobs like that basically don't exist
I want to stress; jobs like that basically don't exist, anywhere.

Even if we put everything on a level playing field. Consultants/accountants/engineers/ whatever other field will not offer you 6 figures 3 years out for 2000hours worked. That's unfortunately just not the corporate work schedule that America has been sold anymore
Isn't federal government work 40-50 hours a week for 100k+ on the GS schedule?
based on my research, you can eventually get there, but that’s not starting pay. I think it’s more like 70K.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Thu May 10, 2018 8:15 pm

proteinshake wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:01 pm
Borges_and_barbells wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:25 pm
Nebby wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm
181plz wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:14 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:13 pm
And it’s a common question, but I’ve done work at a midlaw firm, and the hours expectation wasn’t so demonstrably different than the market biglaw firms to say its good money for less work. In fact, the firm I worked at had the exact same billable (and paid the same initially as big firms in the market but then had a more compressed pay scale after that). Maybe that makes it less like the midlaw you’re imagining, but if you want quality work experience and the coinciding exit opportunities that come with that experience, you’re going to get worked pretty hard no matter the size of the firm. Some of the highest billing associates in the market actually work at boutiques because of the leaner staffing model.
So, is there any realistic job for me out of law school where I can make 6 figures for 50hours of work a week? Or do I just have to suck it up and live at work?

Edit: that is, 50 hours of my time; not 50 hours billed.
Jobs like that basically don't exist
I want to stress; jobs like that basically don't exist, anywhere.

Even if we put everything on a level playing field. Consultants/accountants/engineers/ whatever other field will not offer you 6 figures 3 years out for 2000hours worked. That's unfortunately just not the corporate work schedule that America has been sold anymore
Isn't federal government work 40-50 hours a week for 100k+ on the GS schedule?
based on my research, you can eventually get there, but that’s not starting pay. I think it’s more like 70K.
Other bigfed employees can chime in, but most attorney gigs start at GS-11 for entry level (right out of law school), which is a little under 70k in high COL areas. (It's adjusted based on location.) If you come in laterally, you might start at a higher GS level or step. There are policies about how fast you can move up steps at each level, and how fast you can move up levels. And how it works out in practice varies by agency and division within that agency.

Source: briefly researching it when I interned at federal agencies during law school and talked to attorneys there. Not currently a fed gov employee.

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Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash » Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm

Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.

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proteinshake
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by proteinshake » Fri May 11, 2018 12:47 am

Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.
I THINK you almost definitely cannot get there in three years. my supervisor makes a bit over 6 figures and she has been practicing for a long time.

Sloansabbith24
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Sloansabbith24 » Fri May 11, 2018 12:53 am

proteinshake wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:47 am
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.
I THINK you almost definitely cannot get there in three years. my supervisor makes a bit over 6 figures and she has been practicing for a long time.
Would working in a major biglaw firm for 3 years first accelerate this trajectory, or not make a difference?

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Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash » Fri May 11, 2018 1:27 am

proteinshake wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:47 am
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.
I THINK you almost definitely cannot get there in three years. my supervisor makes a bit over 6 figures and she has been practicing for a long time.
this was my assumption but have no actual experience so I hedged

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Nony
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Nony » Fri May 11, 2018 8:07 am

Sloansabbith24 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:53 am
proteinshake wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:47 am
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.
I THINK you almost definitely cannot get there in three years. my supervisor makes a bit over 6 figures and she has been practicing for a long time.
Would working in a major biglaw firm for 3 years first accelerate this trajectory, or not make a difference?
Generally moving up the grades is based on years of experience in practice, not on years with that particular agency, so working elsewhere won't accelerate it any more than working for the agency will (but you'd make more money in a firm of course). I think there are usually expectations of satisfactory performance, but barring actual performance problems (and this is at least in a lot of agencies and for a certain period), you advance based on years of experience rather than what you've done. So you can (again, for a lot of agencies) actually move up to GS-14 relatively quickly. When you hit the agency's cap (say that's GS-14) then you don't get the same kind of raises, though you can advance within your grade. So once you hit a certain level of experience your salary tends to plateau. (Under this scenario proteinshake's supervisor may have actually been at this salary for a fairly long time.)

My caveat to this is that different agencies can handle this differently, so some agencies won't move people up as quickly, and someone with more specific info should definitely correct anything I've got wrong. In my agency, at least, you move up according to years of experience (unless you are a serious problem child) and so hit 6 figures relatively quickly, but cap out relatively quickly too (unless you become a supervisor).

Also two last points: proteinshake, is your supervisor an attorney? and I think the quote above is overlooking locality pay, which goes into your salary on top of the basic GS scale - for instance, in San Francisco you hit 6 figures at GS-13, because COL.

Borges_and_barbells
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Re: So you think you want BigLaw?

Post by Borges_and_barbells » Fri May 11, 2018 11:24 am

Nony wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:07 am
Sloansabbith24 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:53 am
proteinshake wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:47 am
Dr.Degrees_Cr.Cash wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Got scooped but yeah, seems most start at gs11

14 is the first range that includes 6figs (step 5)

I don't think you'll get to that point in 3 years, but ymmv.
I THINK you almost definitely cannot get there in three years. my supervisor makes a bit over 6 figures and she has been practicing for a long time.
Would working in a major biglaw firm for 3 years first accelerate this trajectory, or not make a difference?
Generally moving up the grades is based on years of experience in practice, not on years with that particular agency, so working elsewhere won't accelerate it any more than working for the agency will (but you'd make more money in a firm of course). I think there are usually expectations of satisfactory performance, but barring actual performance problems (and this is at least in a lot of agencies and for a certain period), you advance based on years of experience rather than what you've done. So you can (again, for a lot of agencies) actually move up to GS-14 relatively quickly. When you hit the agency's cap (say that's GS-14) then you don't get the same kind of raises, though you can advance within your grade. So once you hit a certain level of experience your salary tends to plateau. (Under this scenario proteinshake's supervisor may have actually been at this salary for a fairly long time.)

My caveat to this is that different agencies can handle this differently, so some agencies won't move people up as quickly, and someone with more specific info should definitely correct anything I've got wrong. In my agency, at least, you move up according to years of experience (unless you are a serious problem child) and so hit 6 figures relatively quickly, but cap out relatively quickly too (unless you become a supervisor).

Also two last points: proteinshake, is your supervisor an attorney? and I think the quote above is overlooking locality pay, which goes into your salary on top of the basic GS scale - for instance, in San Francisco you hit 6 figures at GS-13, because COL.
So if you joined an agency like Treasury or FBI after law school, or clerked for a year then joined, after 3 or so years of employment and good performance you could be at GS-14? Then you would move up a step every year or something unless you are promoted to GS-15? This is my ideal career trajectory so I'm very curious. Thank you!

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