No debt load decision making

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Remnantofisrael
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No debt load decision making

Postby Remnantofisrael » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:31 am

I know so many people make their top-14 or bust remarks based on "not getting a job" otherwise, etc. etc. How much of this is really just based on the lower pay job prospect of a lesser school, rather than there literally being no work in the legal market for graduates of non-t-20 law schools?

What if money wasn't as much an issue- say your grandma offered to pay all law-school fees and living expenses (I wish)- AND you already had a nice resume of executive level success in, say Advertising at a top 200 agency. On top of that you had family connections in law and legal academia in NY, Chi, Wisconsin, DC, etc. that could help get you a job at graduation.

Given ALL of this, how much does that lower the need for a T-14 education?

I know this is a bit strange, so I'd be happy to clarify the hypothetical more. For example, I have a friend who has a 150 LSAT, 3.3 GPA, going to Kansas Law because his father is a federal judge so the actual school, as he's been told, doesn't matter as much.

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homestyle28
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:48 am

Remnantofisrael wrote:What if money wasn't as much an issue- say your grandma offered to pay all law-school fees and living expenses (I wish)- AND you already had a nice resume of executive level success in, say Advertising at a top 200 agency. On top of that you had family connections in law and legal academia in NY, Chi, Wisconsin, DC, etc. that could help get you a job at graduation.

What if unicorns pooped skittles? Seriously, if you had all this, why exactly would you go to LS?

As for me, the t-14 or bust mentality does seem a little over inflated, but as a future LRAP baby, it's where the deep pockets are.

serdog
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby serdog » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:46 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
As for me, the t-14 or bust mentality does seem a little over inflated, but as a future LRAP baby, it's where the deep pockets are.

I think to big question is what do you want to do after you graduate? If you want to work for a small firm in a small town then maybe a good regional school and no/low debt is best. If you want big law then the t-14 is the way to go

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gwuorbust
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:19 pm

Remnantofisrael wrote:I know so many people make their top-14 or bust remarks based on "not getting a job" otherwise, etc. etc. How much of this is really just based on the lower pay job prospect of a lesser school, rather than there literally being no work in the legal market for graduates of non-t-20 law schools?

What if money wasn't as much an issue- say your grandma offered to pay all law-school fees and living expenses (I wish)- AND you already had a nice resume of executive level success in, say Advertising at a top 200 agency. On top of that you had family connections in law and legal academia in NY, Chi, Wisconsin, DC, etc. that could help get you a job at graduation.


enjoy three years of drunken partying ?

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jwrash
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby jwrash » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Remnantofisrael wrote:
What if money wasn't as much an issue- say your grandma offered to pay all law-school fees and living expenses (I wish)- AND you already had a nice resume of executive level success in, say Advertising at a top 200 agency. On top of that you had family connections in law and legal academia in NY, Chi, Wisconsin, DC, etc. that could help get you a job at graduation.

lol

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Grizz
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Grizz » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:43 pm

This hypo sucks.

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Remnantofisrael
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Remnantofisrael » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:53 pm

Ok. Not a hypothetical. I was very successful in my previous career which prolonged my involvement in it instead of going back to school sooner. My intention had always been to go to grad school or law school but starting a family in a great financial situation was the choice my wife and I had made. Now I am choosing to pursue doing something I will be fulfilled in.

I have the benefit of not having to factor in debt as much as the rest of you. I'm also happy in a smaller market so long as compensation allows my family to live comfortably. Frankly, 100k in Kansas City goes a lot farther than 180k in NYC, at least as far as the quality of life you can afford.

I know many of you TLSers only care about money, and that is fine for you. But some people actually consider other factors in their overall quality of life, especially when they have families.

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JazzOne
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby JazzOne » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:57 pm

Remnantofisrael wrote:Ok. Not a hypothetical. I was very successful in my previous career which prolonged my involvement in it instead of going back to school sooner. My intention had always been to go to grad school or law school but starting a family in a great financial situation was the choice my wife and I had made. Now I am choosing to pursue doing something I will be fulfilled in.

I have the benefit of not having to factor in debt as much as the rest of you. I'm also happy in a smaller market so long as compensation allows my family to live comfortably. Frankly, 100k in Kansas City goes a lot farther than 180k in NYC, at least as far as the quality of life you can afford.

I know many of you TLSers only care about money, and that is fine for you. But some people actually consider other factors in their overall quality of life, especially when they have families.

$100K in Kansas is biglaw. The market rate varies somewhat by region. For instance, biglaw firms in San Antonio pay $135K. I was told by someone working biglaw in Cleveland that the pay was $110K. I just don't think your expectations are realistic. Keep reading and asking questions because the answers are downright scary.

If you will not go into debt, how will you finance law school? Regardless of how you pay for it, it's freakin' expensive, and that money is probably better invested elsewhere.

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Grizz
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Grizz » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:03 pm

JazzOne wrote:
Remnantofisrael wrote:Ok. Not a hypothetical. I was very successful in my previous career which prolonged my involvement in it instead of going back to school sooner. My intention had always been to go to grad school or law school but starting a family in a great financial situation was the choice my wife and I had made. Now I am choosing to pursue doing something I will be fulfilled in.

I have the benefit of not having to factor in debt as much as the rest of you. I'm also happy in a smaller market so long as compensation allows my family to live comfortably. Frankly, 100k in Kansas City goes a lot farther than 180k in NYC, at least as far as the quality of life you can afford.

I know many of you TLSers only care about money, and that is fine for you. But some people actually consider other factors in their overall quality of life, especially when they have families.

$100K in Kansas is biglaw. The market rate varies somewhat by region. For instance, biglaw firms in San Antonio pay $135K. I was told by someone working biglaw in Cleveland that the pay was $110K. I just don't think your expectations are realistic. Keep reading and asking questions because the answers are downright scary.

If you will not go into debt, how will you finance law school? Regardless of how you pay for it, it's freakin' expensive, and that money is probably better invested elsewhere.


I'd add that I bet that there's no more that 15-20 SA type positions in that whole city.

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Remnantofisrael
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Remnantofisrael » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:18 pm

Don't lock on to Kansas City. My reason for bringing that up was it is an example of a smaller market. I'm not suggesting that I have no intention of trying for big law. Frankly, the misunderstanding here is 100% my fault. Let me clarify a bit-

I'm really asking about the tangible difference between going to WUSTL/MINNESOTA vs Northwestern/Cornell/UVA type schools. My question revolves around the difference in potential employment etc. between these schools.

To people in the work-force I've spoken with (Bryan Cave for example) they feel that the difference exists but isn't really big. That what it more effects is your opportunities in the biggest firms within the biggest cities. DC, Chicago, LA, and obviously NY will see better placement from Northwestern/Cornell/UVA then from WUSTL/MINNESOTA. But that nationally, the difference is less significant.

BUT this is coming from someone I know in a St. Louis firm, which comes with its own bias. TLS seems to have an equal or even greater bias, stating that T-14 is all there is and as soon as you slip from Cornell to Vanderbilt you might as well slit your wrist.

My hope is to get some more reasoned insight. The reason for framing the question in the way I did is it seems half the fear is that carrying a huge debt and having a slightly more difficult time gaining employment, or making slightly less to begin with, create a lot of the bias. That the difference is likely less significant but blown out of proportion because even a 10% decrease in salary or extra 3 months and legwork to find employment is HUGE to the average person on this board.

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Grizz
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Grizz » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:32 pm

Remnantofisrael wrote:Don't lock on to Kansas City. My reason for bringing that up was it is an example of a smaller market. I'm not suggesting that I have no intention of trying for big law. Frankly, the misunderstanding here is 100% my fault. Let me clarify a bit-

I'm really asking about the tangible difference between going to WUSTL/MINNESOTA vs Northwestern/Cornell/UVA type schools. My question revolves around the difference in potential employment etc. between these schools.

To people in the work-force I've spoken with (Bryan Cave for example) they feel that the difference exists but isn't really big. That what it more effects is your opportunities in the biggest firms within the biggest cities. DC, Chicago, LA, and obviously NY will see better placement from Northwestern/Cornell/UVA then from WUSTL/MINNESOTA. But that nationally, the difference is less significant.

BUT this is coming from someone I know in a St. Louis firm, which comes with its own bias. TLS seems to have an equal or even greater bias, stating that T-14 is all there is and as soon as you slip from Cornell to Vanderbilt you might as well slit your wrist.

My hope is to get some more reasoned insight. The reason for framing the question in the way I did is it seems half the fear is that carrying a huge debt and having a slightly more difficult time gaining employment, or making slightly less to begin with, create a lot of the bias. That the difference is likely less significant but blown out of proportion because even a 10% decrease in salary or extra 3 months and legwork to find employment is HUGE to the average person on this board.


As to the italicized, there is a drop-off. See: http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nlj/law%20schools_charts_page12.pdf

As to the bold, most people in the know here will acknowledge that T14 isn't really a meaningful distinction. T12 or T18, however...

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rayiner
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby rayiner » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:48 pm

Legal hiring is a bit unintuitive. It's not like most professions where the bulk of jobs are around the median salary, with a few jobs paying top salaries and more paying lower salaries. In a place like NYC, there are far, far more jobs paying $160k than ones paying $135k, $115k, etc, until you get down to the $50-60k bracket, which is composed of firms that practice in fundamentally different areas of law.

Indeed, out of the maybe 4,000-7,000 associates hired each year by the biggest 250 law firms (a list which includes almost all of the prominent firms even in smaller cities) a full 15% or so are hired by the top 10 firms on the Vault ranking.

So it's not entirely relevant that partners at Bryan Cave (which, btw, is a Vault 100 firm) consider WUSTL to be just as good as NU. Bryan Cave hired 6 associates in St. Louis last summer. Kirkland hired 30 in Chicago, and Cleary, Simpson, Davis Polk, etc, hired 70+ each in New York. Meanwhile, WUSTL graduates the same ~200-250 as NU. Local reputation aside it's easier to get a job in St. Louis from NU than from WUSTL simply because a lot of your classmates at NU will go to big Chicago and NYC firms that take a ton of people, leaving you with far less competition for the limited spots.

This is why the "lower Tier1 is fine for a $100k job in small market" comments are highly off-base. There are only a handful of such jobs in any given market, and only the very top students at regional schools will get them.

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Grizz
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Grizz » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:07 pm

rayiner wrote:Legal hiring is a bit unintuitive. It's not like most professions where the bulk of jobs are around the median salary, with a few jobs paying top salaries and more paying lower salaries. In a place like NYC, there are far, far more jobs paying $160k than ones paying $135k, $115k, etc, until you get down to the $50-60k bracket, which is composed of firms that practice in fundamentally different areas of law.

Indeed, out of the maybe 4,000-7,000 associates hired each year by the biggest 250 law firms (a list which includes almost all of the prominent firms even in smaller cities) a full 15% or so are hired by the top 10 firms on the Vault ranking.

So it's not entirely relevant that partners at Bryan Cave (which, btw, is a Vault 100 firm) consider WUSTL to be just as good as NU. Bryan Cave hired 6 associates in St. Louis last summer. Kirkland hired 30 in Chicago, and Cleary, Simpson, Davis Polk, etc, hired 70+ each in New York. Meanwhile, WUSTL graduates the same ~200-250 as NU. Local reputation aside it's easier to get a job in St. Louis from NU than from WUSTL simply because a lot of your classmates at NU will go to big Chicago and NYC firms that take a ton of people, leaving you with far less competition for the limited spots.

This is why the "lower Tier1 is fine for a $100k job in small market" comments are highly off-base. There are only a handful of such jobs in any given market, and only the very top students at regional schools will get them.


TITCR

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Remnantofisrael
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Remnantofisrael » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:23 pm

rayiner wrote:Legal hiring is a bit unintuitive. It's not like most professions where the bulk of jobs are around the median salary, with a few jobs paying top salaries and more paying lower salaries. In a place like NYC, there are far, far more jobs paying $160k than ones paying $135k, $115k, etc, until you get down to the $50-60k bracket, which is composed of firms that practice in fundamentally different areas of law.

Indeed, out of the maybe 4,000-7,000 associates hired each year by the biggest 250 law firms (a list which includes almost all of the prominent firms even in smaller cities) a full 15% or so are hired by the top 10 firms on the Vault ranking.

So it's not entirely relevant that partners at Bryan Cave (which, btw, is a Vault 100 firm) consider WUSTL to be just as good as NU. Bryan Cave hired 6 associates in St. Louis last summer. Kirkland hired 30 in Chicago, and Cleary, Simpson, Davis Polk, etc, hired 70+ each in New York. Meanwhile, WUSTL graduates the same ~200-250 as NU. Local reputation aside it's easier to get a job in St. Louis from NU than from WUSTL simply because a lot of your classmates at NU will go to big Chicago and NYC firms that take a ton of people, leaving you with far less competition for the limited spots.

This is why the "lower Tier1 is fine for a $100k job in small market" comments are highly off-base. There are only a handful of such jobs in any given market, and only the very top students at regional schools will get them.


Absolutely the perfect response I was looking for so thank you very much. So this brings up another question. Why would anyone choose to deviate from choosing schools based on the list rayiner sent? I mean, I suppose certain people are hoping for clerkships and what not, but that can't be enough to bring a school like northwestern below Cornell. I suppose certain things like perhaps the overall aggregate earning for those at Cornell was higher than northwestern to makeup for the 15% difference, but still this seems to project a stronger desire to go to northwestern over cornell.

Is there a way I can get access to the basic data? Like this list for the past few years, and the other information teased in the PDF like which schools were favored by which firms?

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rayiner
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby rayiner » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:24 am

Remnantofisrael wrote:
rayiner wrote:Legal hiring is a bit unintuitive. It's not like most professions where the bulk of jobs are around the median salary, with a few jobs paying top salaries and more paying lower salaries. In a place like NYC, there are far, far more jobs paying $160k than ones paying $135k, $115k, etc, until you get down to the $50-60k bracket, which is composed of firms that practice in fundamentally different areas of law.

Indeed, out of the maybe 4,000-7,000 associates hired each year by the biggest 250 law firms (a list which includes almost all of the prominent firms even in smaller cities) a full 15% or so are hired by the top 10 firms on the Vault ranking.

So it's not entirely relevant that partners at Bryan Cave (which, btw, is a Vault 100 firm) consider WUSTL to be just as good as NU. Bryan Cave hired 6 associates in St. Louis last summer. Kirkland hired 30 in Chicago, and Cleary, Simpson, Davis Polk, etc, hired 70+ each in New York. Meanwhile, WUSTL graduates the same ~200-250 as NU. Local reputation aside it's easier to get a job in St. Louis from NU than from WUSTL simply because a lot of your classmates at NU will go to big Chicago and NYC firms that take a ton of people, leaving you with far less competition for the limited spots.

This is why the "lower Tier1 is fine for a $100k job in small market" comments are highly off-base. There are only a handful of such jobs in any given market, and only the very top students at regional schools will get them.


Absolutely the perfect response I was looking for so thank you very much. So this brings up another question. Why would anyone choose to deviate from choosing schools based on the list rayiner sent? I mean, I suppose certain people are hoping for clerkships and what not, but that can't be enough to bring a school like northwestern below Cornell. I suppose certain things like perhaps the overall aggregate earning for those at Cornell was higher than northwestern to makeup for the 15% difference, but still this seems to project a stronger desire to go to northwestern over cornell.

Is there a way I can get access to the basic data? Like this list for the past few years, and the other information teased in the PDF like which schools were favored by which firms?


You misunderstood the data I was talking about. There is a ranking of law firms compiled by Vault.com: http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/ran ... regionId=0

There is also an organization, NALP, that keeps track of firm hiring statistics. Most of the prominent firms in most markets are a member of NALP and submit statistics. These aren't just big NYC shops. For example, 25 Missouri firms are NALP members. Most of these firms hire through a summer associate program after your first year that (ostensibly) leads to a permanent offer at graduation.

The 15% figure is a rough estimate of the percentage of total summer associate positions at NALP-affiliated firms that are at one of the top 10 firms on Vault's rankings. Ie: the top 10 Vault firms (out of the hundreds affiliated with NALP) hire about 15% of the country's summer associates every year. The point is that entry-level hiring is very top-heavy. The big firms hire most of the people. There are about 25,000 T1/T2 students, compared to less than 5,000 T14 students. However, those 25,000 students are competing for very few positions because the big firms will hire from the T14 and then the top students at regional schools. Meanwhile, the smaller firms just don't hire very many people.

It is illuminating to look at the OCI list of a big NYC firm, like Simpson Thacher:

Brooklyn Law School
Columbia University Law School
Cornell Law School
Duke University School of Law
Fordham University School of Law
George Washington University Law School
Georgetown University Law Center
Harvard Law School
Howard University School of Law
New York University School of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
St. John's University School of Law
Stanford Law School
UCLA School of Law
University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
University of Chicago Law School
University of Michigan Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School
University of Southern California Gould School of Law
University of Texas School of Law
University of Virginia School of Law
Yale Law School


The firm hires at the T14 + UT/Vandy/UCLA, GW, and the local NYC schools. By and large, students at other regional schools have no hope of getting a job with the firm. The lists for the other top firms in NYC, Chicago, DC, look similar (though obviously with different local schools).

Now, you might say: "I don't want to work for Simpson Thacher!" That may be so, but look at the hiring dynamic. The T14s have all the big firms recruiting there, and the big firms hire tons of people. Ultimately, that means much less competition for the smaller firms. At a lower-ranked school, you don't have all the national firms recruiting, just the big local firms than the smaller local firms. All of your classmates are targeting that same small list of firms.

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Remnantofisrael
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby Remnantofisrael » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:57 am

makes sense. I wish I had all the hard data. At this point I'm guessing I'll be in with $$ to WUSTL and MINN, WL at NU and GULC. Can anyone point me to statistics about placement? I know there are details in the actual school pages on this site, but I mean any raw data about placement to judicial clerkships, etc. etc. Like percentage of applicants compared to those that get to their chosen destination?

I know schools like Yale have lower big law exits in part because they also have fewer students aiming for big law.

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homestyle28
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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby homestyle28 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:18 am

Remnantofisrael wrote:makes sense. I wish I had all the hard data. At this point I'm guessing I'll be in with $$ to WUSTL and MINN, WL at NU and GULC. Can anyone point me to statistics about placement? I know there are details in the actual school pages on this site, but I mean any raw data about placement to judicial clerkships, etc. etc. Like percentage of applicants compared to those that get to their chosen destination?

I know schools like Yale have lower big law exits in part because they also have fewer students aiming for big law.


Having read through this thread a bit now, it sounds like you're more or less set financially, but "are looking for a more fulfilling" career. So, it seems to me the relevant question is just what do you have in mind? If your looking at PI/gov't work of certain kinds, then take the $$ at WUSTL/Minn/ILL. A lot of the advise here applies to biglaw (and to a lesser extent competitive government positions/clerkships). So are you aiming biglaw/PI/ just some law job?

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Re: No debt load decision making

Postby TatteredDignity » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:43 pm

rad law wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
Remnantofisrael wrote:Ok. Not a hypothetical. I was very successful in my previous career which prolonged my involvement in it instead of going back to school sooner. My intention had always been to go to grad school or law school but starting a family in a great financial situation was the choice my wife and I had made. Now I am choosing to pursue doing something I will be fulfilled in.

I have the benefit of not having to factor in debt as much as the rest of you. I'm also happy in a smaller market so long as compensation allows my family to live comfortably. Frankly, 100k in Kansas City goes a lot farther than 180k in NYC, at least as far as the quality of life you can afford.

I know many of you TLSers only care about money, and that is fine for you. But some people actually consider other factors in their overall quality of life, especially when they have families.

$100K in Kansas is biglaw. The market rate varies somewhat by region. For instance, biglaw firms in San Antonio pay $135K. I was told by someone working biglaw in Cleveland that the pay was $110K. I just don't think your expectations are realistic. Keep reading and asking questions because the answers are downright scary.

If you will not go into debt, how will you finance law school? Regardless of how you pay for it, it's freakin' expensive, and that money is probably better invested elsewhere.


I'd add that I bet that there's no more that 15-20 SA type positions in that whole city.


Is this mostly you talking out of your ass? There are 10-11 firms represented on NALP, and each of them seem to have 5-6 SA positions. I'm truly asking, because I don't know how much those numbers can be trusted, and one of my ideal scenarios is working for one of these firms in KC.




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