W&L vs W&M + General Advice

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moonshooting

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W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:03 pm

General Advice Appreciated!

Background:
Attended UVA undergrad with honors(14'-18'), took LSAT 3 times (could not improve). Have an offer from W&L with $40k per year and and W&M with $18k per year. Currently waitlisted at UVA and waiting on T20 others. I am a Virginia resident and would like to work in corporate law in DC/East-Coast. Would like to transfer up if possible/needed but obviously recognize that's not easy. I understand law is not glamorous or an easy way to make money especially if not from T14 but I really like the work.

W&L is up to #26 on USN 19' but that's only a recent trend and W&M ( #37) has more name recognition (maybe?). I think I can negotiate an offer with W&L to level the cost but not sure if its worth it. I am operating under the assumption that I only get into these two for now. Any advice overall would be great.

*Am a big believer in Ray Dalio's "Radical Transparency" so please give it to me straight. Don't sugar coat.

cavalier1138

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:54 pm

What is your actual LSAT score and GPA? That would help figure out whether you really have reached a point where you can't improve or if you just need to change your approach. However...

moonshooting wrote:I am a Virginia resident and would like to work in corporate law in DC/East-Coast.


Biglaw is hard to get from either of these schools. DC biglaw is even more competitive than NY biglaw. Neither W&L nor W&M are likely to get you biglaw, let alone at a DC firm, if you don't have stellar grades. If your only interest is in corporate law at a big firm, you should not go to either choice.

moonshooting wrote:Would like to transfer up if possible/needed but obviously recognize that's not easy.


It's not just "not easy." You cannot matriculate to a school you wouldn't be happy graduating from. In addition to giving up any scholarship funding, you just can't count on doing well enough in your 1L year to transfer. It's much, much easier to improve your LSAT score than it is to predict your 1L grades.

moonshooting wrote:Have an offer from W&L with $40k per year and and W&M with $18k per year.


If you don't mind working in a smaller firm, you should go to the cheaper option. These schools have practically identical career outcomes, so if there's a difference in scholarship, that should make your decision for you. But if you're looking to practice corporate law at a high level, no amount of scholarship will improve your chances of getting that position from either of these.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby Eggs » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:26 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Biglaw is hard to get from either of these schools. DC biglaw is even more competitive than NY biglaw. Neither W&L nor W&M are likely to get you biglaw, let alone at a DC firm, if you don't have stellar grades. If your only interest is in corporate law at a big firm, you should not go to either choice.

I clearly don't know as much about this process as you do, but I think it's fair to point one thing out. Saying BigLaw is hard is fair. But, it's not that ridiculous from these schools according to LST. William & Mary placed 29% of last year's grads into large firms or federal clerkships. I think it's reasonable to say maybe 2% of top students self select out of BigLaw (could be high on the estimate, but there's no way it doesn't ever happen). So, now we're up to needing to be about top 1/3 to get a highly desireable outcome. I understand that we generally need to assume median, but it doesn't seem like THAT much of a stretch to get to top 1/3.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong, and I'm not telling OP to go anywhere. Just felt it's a contrarian point with some value.

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VirginiaFan

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby VirginiaFan » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:38 pm

Eggs wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Biglaw is hard to get from either of these schools. DC biglaw is even more competitive than NY biglaw. Neither W&L nor W&M are likely to get you biglaw, let alone at a DC firm, if you don't have stellar grades. If your only interest is in corporate law at a big firm, you should not go to either choice.

I clearly don't know as much about this process as you do, but I think it's fair to point one thing out. Saying BigLaw is hard is fair. But, it's not that ridiculous from these schools according to LST. William & Mary placed 29% of last year's grads into large firms or federal clerkships. I think it's reasonable to say maybe 2% of top students self select out of BigLaw (could be high on the estimate, but there's no way it doesn't ever happen). So, now we're up to needing to be about top 1/3 to get a highly desireable outcome. I understand that we generally need to assume median, but it doesn't seem like THAT much of a stretch to get to top 1/3.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong, and I'm not telling OP to go anywhere. Just felt it's a contrarian point with some value.



The problem is, it's equally likely OP is top third as bottom third. There is no way to know in advance how one will do at law school. You should only ever go to a law school where you can achieve your goals at median.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:05 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:What is your actual LSAT score and GPA? That would help figure out whether you really have reached a point where you can't improve or if you just need to change your approach. However...

moonshooting wrote:I am a Virginia resident and would like to work in corporate law in DC/East-Coast.


Biglaw is hard to get from either of these schools. DC biglaw is even more competitive than NY biglaw. Neither W&L nor W&M are likely to get you biglaw, let alone at a DC firm, if you don't have stellar grades. If your only interest is in corporate law at a big firm, you should not go to either choice.

moonshooting wrote:Would like to transfer up if possible/needed but obviously recognize that's not easy.


It's not just "not easy." You cannot matriculate to a school you wouldn't be happy graduating from. In addition to giving up any scholarship funding, you just can't count on doing well enough in your 1L year to transfer. It's much, much easier to improve your LSAT score than it is to predict your 1L grades.

moonshooting wrote:Have an offer from W&L with $40k per year and and W&M with $18k per year.


If you don't mind working in a smaller firm, you should go to the cheaper option. These schools have practically identical career outcomes, so if there's a difference in scholarship, that should make your decision for you. But if you're looking to practice corporate law at a high level, no amount of scholarship will improve your chances of getting that position from either of these.



Additional background: I have a UGPA of 3.7 and a 164 LSAT, softs include president of a large sports organization and death of both parents in 1st two years of college with a strong upward grade trend. It's really a crapshoot if anyone cares about the softs but maybe a T14 will bite, PS was as well written as I can do.

I guess my point is if i have good work ethic and bust my butt for 10+ years can I ever make it to big law? Whether that be via transfer T14, job placement out of law school, or even mid-carreer or am I just doomed to likely statistical outcome of mediocrity in terms of placement in the law community. Honesty appreciated.

moonshooting

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:22 pm

VirginiaFan wrote:
Eggs wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Biglaw is hard to get from either of these schools. DC biglaw is even more competitive than NY biglaw. Neither W&L nor W&M are likely to get you biglaw, let alone at a DC firm, if you don't have stellar grades. If your only interest is in corporate law at a big firm, you should not go to either choice.

I clearly don't know as much about this process as you do, but I think it's fair to point one thing out. Saying BigLaw is hard is fair. But, it's not that ridiculous from these schools according to LST. William & Mary placed 29% of last year's grads into large firms or federal clerkships. I think it's reasonable to say maybe 2% of top students self select out of BigLaw (could be high on the estimate, but there's no way it doesn't ever happen). So, now we're up to needing to be about top 1/3 to get a highly desireable outcome. I understand that we generally need to assume median, but it doesn't seem like THAT much of a stretch to get to top 1/3.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong, and I'm not telling OP to go anywhere. Just felt it's a contrarian point with some value.



The problem is, it's equally likely OP is top third as bottom third. There is no way to know in advance how one will do at law school. You should only ever go to a law school where you can achieve your goals at median.


I 100% hear you on the equal likely idea (bottom third just as probable as top third), and yet my feeling is that if you live life by this philosophy you'll always be just about average. There's clearly a balance between being arrogant enough to assume you'll be in the top 1-5% of your class and also having some belief in yourself. The fact that everyone is approx equally talented to you so separation is extremely difficult is clear to me, but am I crazy to think I'm better than average.

From my perspective rn, the only thing I can control is an exception work ethic, a well planned L1 from sunrise to sunset, and my full effort on everything I do. Somehow I feel like with that kind of focus and attitude the top third is at least a coin toss for me, but if you think this just naive and arrogant tell me.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:49 pm

moonshooting wrote:I guess my point is if i have good work ethic and bust my butt for 10+ years can I ever make it to big law? Whether that be via transfer T14, job placement out of law school, or even mid-carreer or am I just doomed to likely statistical outcome of mediocrity in terms of placement in the law community. Honesty appreciated.


Can you do well enough 1L year to transfer? Sure. But I wouldn't bet on that outcome. Can you get DC biglaw from a decent regional school? Sure. But I still wouldn't bet on it. Can you start out in a small firm and get so good in your niche practice area that you are able to lateral to biglaw years after graduation? Again, I wouldn't bet on it.

All these things are possibilities. But the reality is that everyone thinks they're going to be in the top 10/25/33% of the class until they aren't. And the overwhelming majority of lawyers at big firms started in a big firm (or clerkship) right out of school.

If you have good work ethic, you can raise your LSAT. Check out the forum here for tips on how to study better. If your initial score was around 164, I guarantee you can raise it a few points. Anywhere north of 170 is golden.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:03 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
moonshooting wrote:I guess my point is if i have good work ethic and bust my butt for 10+ years can I ever make it to big law? Whether that be via transfer T14, job placement out of law school, or even mid-carreer or am I just doomed to likely statistical outcome of mediocrity in terms of placement in the law community. Honesty appreciated.


Can you do well enough 1L year to transfer? Sure. But I wouldn't bet on that outcome. Can you get DC biglaw from a decent regional school? Sure. But I still wouldn't bet on it. Can you start out in a small firm and get so good in your niche practice area that you are able to lateral to biglaw years after graduation? Again, I wouldn't bet on it.

All these things are possibilities. But the reality is that everyone thinks they're going to be in the top 10/25/33% of the class until they aren't. And the overwhelming majority of lawyers at big firms started in a big firm (or clerkship) right out of school.

If you have good work ethic, you can raise your LSAT. Check out the forum here for tips on how to study better. If your initial score was around 164, I guarantee you can raise it a few points. Anywhere north of 170 is golden.


Very much appreciate the realism. Will wait for all the results and then reevaluate at that point. Having poured my heart into 500+ hours of LSAT prepbooks/tests can’t say taking it a fourth time is an attractive option. Primary issue was I continually underperformed relative to timed, (very) test-simulated preptest by 5-7 points. I have achieved -1 or -2 on every section of the of the actual exam but have bombed real bad on one random section each time I took it. I know how it’s done, I just have simply failed to excute consistently across the 3 exams I’ve taken. Not sure more prep is going to help improve the score.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby albanach » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:20 am

moonshooting wrote:Attended UVA undergrad with honors(14'-18'), took LSAT 3 times (could not improve).


What did you do to try and improve? Your account is new - have you followed the LSAT forums here? Have you had any tutoring? If so, from what company?

For what you want to achieve, a higher LSAT would make your life easier. Raising your LSAT is an order of magnitude easier than transferring up into the T-14. It also has the potential to save you a small fortune in tuition.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:20 pm

albanach wrote:
moonshooting wrote:Attended UVA undergrad with honors(14'-18'), took LSAT 3 times (could not improve).


What did you do to try and improve? Your account is new - have you followed the LSAT forums here? Have you had any tutoring? If so, from what company?

For what you want to achieve, a higher LSAT would make your life easier. Raising your LSAT is an order of magnitude easier than transferring up into the T-14. It also has the potential to save you a small fortune in tuition.


I’ve just started following the forums. I took a Kaplan course, did mike kim’s LSAT trainer, and then tried the Bible series. Ultimately my theory is that I just had too many philosophies in my head/just am bad at the damn test. I’ve take preptest 40-82, so not much left to study. But it’s crazy to take it a 4th right?

No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:00 pm

moonshooting wrote:No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.


The reason people cite the statistics for law school performance and job expectations is that you have far less control over those things than you do over your LSAT score. The LSAT is a learnable test. It may be frustrating, and no, not everyone can score 170+. But your LSAT score is entirely in your hands. Your law school grades are not.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby albanach » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:12 pm

moonshooting wrote:
albanach wrote:
moonshooting wrote:Attended UVA undergrad with honors(14'-18'), took LSAT 3 times (could not improve).


What did you do to try and improve? Your account is new - have you followed the LSAT forums here? Have you had any tutoring? If so, from what company?

For what you want to achieve, a higher LSAT would make your life easier. Raising your LSAT is an order of magnitude easier than transferring up into the T-14. It also has the potential to save you a small fortune in tuition.


I’ve just started following the forums. I took a Kaplan course, did mike kim’s LSAT trainer, and then tried the Bible series. Ultimately my theory is that I just had too many philosophies in my head/just am bad at the damn test. I’ve take preptest 40-82, so not much left to study. But it’s crazy to take it a 4th right?

No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.


No, it's not crazy to take it a 4th time. I know it might feel crazy, but it's not.

If you can afford a tutor - and I mean a good tutor, not a Kaplan tutor (they may have some decent ones, but it's certainly not the rule), I think that might get you over the plateau. If you can't afford a tutor, look at the stickies on the LSAT forum here and then start posting your questions.

I wouldn't be afraid of reusing LSATs. At least while you get back into the study mindset. And the old ones still have plenty of value.

I understand what you're saying in your final paragraph. I am absolutely not saying the LSAT is easy. What I am saying is that to plateau is very common. And there are techniques to get you to the next stage.

Finally, my biggest LSAT tip. Accuracy comes first, then speed. Way too many try to accomplish both at once and it's a recipe for disappointment. You need to master the techniques slowly, so you truly understand what the question in front of you is asking. Then, once you get good at answering the questions correctly, you can use practice to improve your speed.

Again though, the LSAT has a wealth of information.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:19 pm

albanach wrote:
moonshooting wrote:
albanach wrote:
moonshooting wrote:Attended UVA undergrad with honors(14'-18'), took LSAT 3 times (could not improve).


What did you do to try and improve? Your account is new - have you followed the LSAT forums here? Have you had any tutoring? If so, from what company?

For what you want to achieve, a higher LSAT would make your life easier. Raising your LSAT is an order of magnitude easier than transferring up into the T-14. It also has the potential to save you a small fortune in tuition.


I’ve just started following the forums. I took a Kaplan course, did mike kim’s LSAT trainer, and then tried the Bible series. Ultimately my theory is that I just had too many philosophies in my head/just am bad at the damn test. I’ve take preptest 40-82, so not much left to study. But it’s crazy to take it a 4th right?

No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.


No, it's not crazy to take it a 4th time. I know it might feel crazy, but it's not.

If you can afford a tutor - and I mean a good tutor, not a Kaplan tutor (they may have some decent ones, but it's certainly not the rule), I think that might get you over the plateau. If you can't afford a tutor, look at the stickies on the LSAT forum here and then start posting your questions.

I wouldn't be afraid of reusing LSATs. At least while you get back into the study mindset. And the old ones still have plenty of value.

I understand what you're saying in your final paragraph. I am absolutely not saying the LSAT is easy. What I am saying is that to plateau is very common. And there are techniques to get you to the next stage.

Finally, my biggest LSAT tip. Accuracy comes first, then speed. Way too many try to accomplish both at once and it's a recipe for disappointment. You need to master the techniques slowly, so you truly understand what the question in front of you is asking. Then, once you get good at answering the questions correctly, you can use practice to improve your speed.

Again though, the LSAT has a wealth of information.


All that makes sense. Will see what happens here with the apps I’ve sent out and assuming no surprise acceptances will re-evaluate. Maybe a 4th try isn’t so crazy. Thanks for the help!

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby QContinuum » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:31 pm

moonshooting wrote:No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.

There's three reasons for that.

First, while it certainly takes (a lot of) effort to master the LSAT, mastering the LSAT is still far easier than mastering the 1L curriculum.

Second, the LSAT is predictable. You can accurately assess your own progress and confidently predict how you will score. The same is decidedly not true of law school final exams. You can drill using old practice tests and model answers, but you still can't really predict what grade your professor will assign to you, especially if they grade "holistically." This is further complicated by the fact that your grade is entirely relative to your classmates. You could very well ace a law school final by any reasonable objective standard, yet end up with a bad grade simply because enough of your classmates also aced the final and did a tiny amount better than you did (or not even "better," but the professor liked their writing style more, or graded their exams while in a better mood, or whatever).

Third, and perhaps most importantly, there is no limit to the number of times you can "redo" the LSAT. And schools only consider your highest score. If you bomb the LSAT, the only thing you lose is time (and the testing fee, I suppose). So long as you ace the LSAT once, it doesn't matter whether you previously bombed it three times or four times or even five times. Again, the same is most certainly not true of 1L. Your grades are your grades are your grades. If you end up with a B- on Torts, that's that - there's no "do-over." You are stuck with that B-. You can't "retake" Torts for a higher grade.

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby moonshooting » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:21 pm

QContinuum wrote:
moonshooting wrote:No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.

There's three reasons for that.

First, while it certainly takes (a lot of) effort to master the LSAT, mastering the LSAT is still far easier than mastering the 1L curriculum.

Second, the LSAT is predictable. You can accurately assess your own progress and confidently predict how you will score. The same is decidedly not true of law school final exams. You can drill using old practice tests and model answers, but you still can't really predict what grade your professor will assign to you, especially if they grade "holistically." This is further complicated by the fact that your grade is entirely relative to your classmates. You could very well ace a law school final by any reasonable objective standard, yet end up with a bad grade simply because enough of your classmates also aced the final and did a tiny amount better than you did (or not even "better," but the professor liked their writing style more, or graded their exams while in a better mood, or whatever).

Third, and perhaps most importantly, there is no limit to the number of times you can "redo" the LSAT. And schools only consider your highest score. If you bomb the LSAT, the only thing you lose is time (and the testing fee, I suppose). So long as you ace the LSAT once, it doesn't matter whether you previously bombed it three times or four times or even five times. Again, the same is most certainly not true of 1L. Your grades are your grades are your grades. If you end up with a B- on Torts, that's that - there's no "do-over." You are stuck with that B-. You can't "retake" Torts for a higher grade.


Really appreciate the all the input. Helped me determine that unless I get lucky and get into a T14 school I'm just going change paths. An M.S. in Commerce/Finance at UVA and going into investment banking sounds like a way better choice than middle of the pack law at the moment. One year program and way better employment statistics makes it away better option than W&L even with $120k.

You guys might just have saved me from a very unhappy and frustrated life. Can't thank you all and TLS forum enough!

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Re: W&L vs W&M + General Advice

Postby beinghuman » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:22 pm

That's probably a sensible choice. Keep in mind too that many people at T14's strike out so while prospects are much better at T14s, there are no guarantees.
You can definitely work in the banking industry for a few years and then apply to law school if you still think you'd like to do it. You'd have better work experience and life perspective.

moonshooting wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
moonshooting wrote:No offense, but everyone on here seems to preach how impossible it is to advance in life by citing the stats, yet you act like it’s as easy as snapping your fingers to get a higher LSAT. In my life I have never tried harder at something and failed so miserably. It seems like to me the harder challenge is beating the odds on the lsat.

There's three reasons for that.

First, while it certainly takes (a lot of) effort to master the LSAT, mastering the LSAT is still far easier than mastering the 1L curriculum.

Second, the LSAT is predictable. You can accurately assess your own progress and confidently predict how you will score. The same is decidedly not true of law school final exams. You can drill using old practice tests and model answers, but you still can't really predict what grade your professor will assign to you, especially if they grade "holistically." This is further complicated by the fact that your grade is entirely relative to your classmates. You could very well ace a law school final by any reasonable objective standard, yet end up with a bad grade simply because enough of your classmates also aced the final and did a tiny amount better than you did (or not even "better," but the professor liked their writing style more, or graded their exams while in a better mood, or whatever).

Third, and perhaps most importantly, there is no limit to the number of times you can "redo" the LSAT. And schools only consider your highest score. If you bomb the LSAT, the only thing you lose is time (and the testing fee, I suppose). So long as you ace the LSAT once, it doesn't matter whether you previously bombed it three times or four times or even five times. Again, the same is most certainly not true of 1L. Your grades are your grades are your grades. If you end up with a B- on Torts, that's that - there's no "do-over." You are stuck with that B-. You can't "retake" Torts for a higher grade.


Really appreciate the all the input. Helped me determine that unless I get lucky and get into a T14 school I'm just going change paths. An M.S. in Commerce/Finance at UVA and going into investment banking sounds like a way better choice than middle of the pack law at the moment. One year program and way better employment statistics makes it away better option than W&L even with $120k.

You guys might just have saved me from a very unhappy and frustrated life. Can't thank you all and TLS forum enough!



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