Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

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sanpiero
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Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby sanpiero » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:16 pm

I'll be spending this summer at a firm that specializing in asbestos lit on the plaintiffs' side. Is there anyone out there with experience in this area? If so, what classes would you recommend I take next semester to help prepare for the summer? I've taken evidence (and all the 1L courses) and I'm registered for complex lit in the spring. What is it like working in this area? Are there any treatises/other publications that would be useful to read? How can I further prepare myself for the type of legal writing I'll be asked to do (affidavits, pleadings, etc.)?

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20160810
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby 20160810 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:20 pm

I was going to suggest complex lit, but you're way ahead of me. You'll probably get some shit for this because TLS tends to have an anti-personal-injury bias, but this actually sounds like pretty interesting and satisfying work if you can make the $ add up at the end of the day.

bdubs
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby bdubs » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:33 pm

I would imagine this depends on what type of asbestos lit you will be doing. Are you working for a firm that specializes in mesothelioma cases, or are you working for a firm that does more of the large volume lung cancer and asbestosis cases?

Aqualibrium
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:45 pm

An advanced Torts or Products Liability type class would be helpful. Maybe even a discovery course...

2LLLL
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby 2LLLL » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:47 pm

We have a Comparative Mass Torts seminar at my school- might be worth taking if they offer it at yours.

scribblehead
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby scribblehead » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:56 pm

Weitz & Lux? Or another miserable settlement mill?

I did 2 months in this gutter of a practice area on defense side back in 2006 at a downtown shop. Here's the deal:

Mostly you go out on depositions where some 85 year old geezer is dying of Stage IV lung cnacer. Often the depos take place in a hospital or nursing home. Usually there are like 7 to 10 defense lawyers present. Usually one of these dorks takes the lead and just runs down a huge list of products that the geezer might have used in his job along with the manufactuers names etc. Mostly its a complete waste of time since the paitient is senile and can't remeber anything anyway. The other lawyers present just wait around for hours listening to see if the products they are defending ever mentioned. "Boring" doesn't begin to describe this shit. Most of the younger lawyers bring ipods/ video games to play or just doze off reading the NY Post or whatever.
Turnover at my old firm was measured in weeks (or sometimes even days). Salaries were and are abysmal- any chimp can do this stuff. I got 45 K back in 2006. I have a friend who's a 3rd year associate at Bivona & Cohen right now and makes 60 K for about 55 hours a week. His bonus last year was a whopping $500 bucks.

Good luck man- in this market you gotta take whatever gutter work you can get, but be warned that asbestos work makes auto accident/slip n fall shitlaw look like a Mardi Gras

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20160810
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby 20160810 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:00 pm

scribblehead wrote:Weitz & Lux? Or another miserable settlement mill?

I did 2 months in this gutter of a practice area on defense side back in 2006 at a downtown shop. Here's the deal:

Mostly you go out on depositions where some 85 year old geezer is dying of Stage IV lung cnacer. Often the depos take place in a hospital or nursing home. Usually there are like 7 to 10 defense lawyers present. Usually one of these dorks takes the lead and just runs down a huge list of products that the geezer might have used in his job along with the manufactuers names etc. Mostly its a complete waste of time since the paitient is senile and can't remeber anything anyway. The other lawyers present just wait around for hours listening to see if the products they are defending ever mentioned. "Boring" doesn't begin to describe this shit. Most of the younger lawyers bring ipods/ video games to play or just doze off reading the NY Post or whatever.
Turnover at my old firm was measured in weeks (or sometimes even days). Salaries were and are abysmal- any chimp can do this stuff. I got 45 K back in 2006. I have a friend who's a 3rd year associate at Bivona & Cohen right now and makes 60 K for about 55 hours a week. His bonus last year was a whopping $500 bucks.

Good luck man- in this market you gotta take whatever gutter work you can get, but be warned that asbestos work makes auto accident/slip n fall shitlaw look like a Mardi Gras

Well that's your problem right there...

scribblehead
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby scribblehead » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:18 pm

sanpiero wrote:I'll be spending this summer at a firm that specializing in asbestos lit on the plaintiffs' side. Is there anyone out there with experience in this area? If so, what classes would you recommend I take next semester to help prepare for the summer? I've taken evidence (and all the 1L courses) and I'm registered for complex lit in the spring. What is it like working in this area? Are there any treatises/other publications that would be useful to read? How can I further prepare myself for the type of legal writing I'll be asked to do (affidavits, pleadings, etc.)?



BTW don't worry about writing at all- this stuff is 100% cut n' paste boilerplate. I used to complete 30+ page motions using nothing but the mouse- never had to touch the keyboard once! For the salaries these places pay associates they're lucky anyone even speaks English or knows how to read/write period. AS I said, this crap is pretty much the lowest of the low besides no-fault auto claims or traffic court garbage.

bdubs
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby bdubs » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:21 pm

scribblehead wrote:BTW don't worry about writing at all- this stuff is 100% cut n' paste boilerplate. I used to complete 30+ page motions using nothing but the mouse- never had to touch the keyboard once! For the salaries these places pay associates they're lucky anyone even speaks English or knows how to read/write period. AS I said, this crap is pretty much the lowest of the low besides no-fault auto claims or traffic court garbage.


Despite the horribly condescending tone and lack of tact, I have to agree that I think you won't need to do much original writing. Most of the filings are pretty cut and paste, I have supervised a few insurance suit doc reviews.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:22 pm

What do yo do now scribblehead?

scribblehead
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby scribblehead » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:46 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:What do yo do now scribblehead?




I got out of insurance defense altogether about 2 years ago and now run a small law practice on the side part-time for several small business clients and work as a HS history teacher as my main gig.
I did my time in NYC insurance defense hell at 4 different firms. Mostly auto accident/trip fall defense and some construction accidents too & med mal. Worst thing is that the little firms expect Biglaw type hours for the 45 or 50 K they pay you, and the work is mindless and repetitive. Morale at these firms is super-low and turnover is very high.

The reason why asbestos work sucks so much is the depositions are so long and boring. Do you really wanna spend 6 hours a day listening to some pathetic 50 K a year insurance defender grilling a geezer who's wheezing thru a cancer box? Do you wanna cut/paste the same identical makework discovery demands together over & over? Forget about ever making decent money- the big firms like W&L have the loot to run the TV ads and get all the cases, and have no reason to pay associates anything more than a token wage to churn and burn these crappy files. In fact, many of these places can people once they reach a certain salary level (like 65 K) and bring in fresh newbies for 45 K. A few miunutes is all it really takes to "learn" what little you need to know in crap areas like asbestos/auto accident/trip n slip/med mal.

Trials? Please understand that about 1 out of every 5000 civil tort cases actually go to trial. Trial skills are not terribly valuable in insurance/tort work because most small plaintiff firms already have a partner who does the trials (of which there are very few anyway). Also, a lot of semi-retired lawyers still do trials per-diem, so there's little reason to ever train a newbie for trial work since there's a ready supply of people who can already do it and do it well.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby SteelReserve » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:42 am


Aqualibrium wrote:
What do yo do now scribblehead?




I got out of insurance defense altogether about 2 years ago and now run a small law practice on the side part-time for several small business clients and work as a HS history teacher as my main gig.
I did my time in NYC insurance defense hell at 4 different firms. Mostly auto accident/trip fall defense and some construction accidents too & med mal. Worst thing is that the little firms expect Biglaw type hours for the 45 or 50 K they pay you, and the work is mindless and repetitive. Morale at these firms is super-low and turnover is very high.

The reason why asbestos work sucks so much is the depositions are so long and boring. Do you really wanna spend 6 hours a day listening to some pathetic 50 K a year insurance defender grilling a geezer who's wheezing thru a cancer box? Do you wanna cut/paste the same identical makework discovery demands together over & over? Forget about ever making decent money- the big firms like W&L have the loot to run the TV ads and get all the cases, and have no reason to pay associates anything more than a token wage to churn and burn these crappy files. In fact, many of these places can people once they reach a certain salary level (like 65 K) and bring in fresh newbies for 45 K. A few miunutes is all it really takes to "learn" what little you need to know in crap areas like asbestos/auto accident/trip n slip/med mal.


WELCOME BACK SCOTTY B! Major fan, I've missed you since you took a blog posting hiatus as a result of your starting the new firm. How is business? Is practicing law a great deal better when you have your own firm? Congrats on the history professor gig.

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sanpiero
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby sanpiero » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:47 am

scribblehead wrote:Weitz & Lux? Or another miserable settlement mill?

I did 2 months in this gutter of a practice area on defense side back in 2006 at a downtown shop. Here's the deal:

Mostly you go out on depositions where some 85 year old geezer is dying of Stage IV lung cnacer. Often the depos take place in a hospital or nursing home. Usually there are like 7 to 10 defense lawyers present. Usually one of these dorks takes the lead and just runs down a huge list of products that the geezer might have used in his job along with the manufactuers names etc. Mostly its a complete waste of time since the paitient is senile and can't remeber anything anyway. The other lawyers present just wait around for hours listening to see if the products they are defending ever mentioned. "Boring" doesn't begin to describe this shit. Most of the younger lawyers bring ipods/ video games to play or just doze off reading the NY Post or whatever.
Turnover at my old firm was measured in weeks (or sometimes even days). Salaries were and are abysmal- any chimp can do this stuff. I got 45 K back in 2006. I have a friend who's a 3rd year associate at Bivona & Cohen right now and makes 60 K for about 55 hours a week. His bonus last year was a whopping $500 bucks.

Good luck man- in this market you gotta take whatever gutter work you can get, but be warned that asbestos work makes auto accident/slip n fall shitlaw look like a Mardi Gras


You're right, in this market you gotta take whatever you can get. It's a paid position, and pays fairly well at that, so I'm more than happy to go and learn whatever I can about PI litigation. I'm sure at least some of the stuff I'll see will be transferable to other areas of PI lit.

Your experience sounds terrible. Thanks for sharing. With that as my baseline, I can't imagine this summer will be a let down. I think that at the very least, working on the plaintiff side will be much more rewarding. Hopefully my work doesn't involve sitting through the kind of depos you described.

I'm in a secondary market, so 45k actually doesn't sound so bad.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:03 am

sanpiero wrote:
scribblehead wrote:Weitz & Lux? Or another miserable settlement mill?

I did 2 months in this gutter of a practice area on defense side back in 2006 at a downtown shop. Here's the deal:

Mostly you go out on depositions where some 85 year old geezer is dying of Stage IV lung cnacer. Often the depos take place in a hospital or nursing home. Usually there are like 7 to 10 defense lawyers present. Usually one of these dorks takes the lead and just runs down a huge list of products that the geezer might have used in his job along with the manufactuers names etc. Mostly its a complete waste of time since the paitient is senile and can't remeber anything anyway. The other lawyers present just wait around for hours listening to see if the products they are defending ever mentioned. "Boring" doesn't begin to describe this shit. Most of the younger lawyers bring ipods/ video games to play or just doze off reading the NY Post or whatever.
Turnover at my old firm was measured in weeks (or sometimes even days). Salaries were and are abysmal- any chimp can do this stuff. I got 45 K back in 2006. I have a friend who's a 3rd year associate at Bivona & Cohen right now and makes 60 K for about 55 hours a week. His bonus last year was a whopping $500 bucks.

Good luck man- in this market you gotta take whatever gutter work you can get, but be warned that asbestos work makes auto accident/slip n fall shitlaw look like a Mardi Gras


You're right, in this market you gotta take whatever you can get. It's a paid position, and pays fairly well at that, so I'm more than happy to go and learn whatever I can about PI litigation. I'm sure at least some of the stuff I'll see will be transferable to other areas of PI lit.

Your experience sounds terrible. Thanks for sharing. With that as my baseline, I can't imagine this summer will be a let down. I think that at the very least, working on the plaintiff side will be much more rewarding. Hopefully my work doesn't involve sitting through the kind of depos you described.

I'm in a secondary market, so 45k actually doesn't sound so bad.


It seems the term "lemming" doesn't only apply to 0L's.

And what I mean by that is you somehow managed to find good in all the bad of scribblehead's posts.

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20160810
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby 20160810 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:57 am

Aqualibrium wrote:
sanpiero wrote:
scribblehead wrote:Weitz & Lux? Or another miserable settlement mill?

I did 2 months in this gutter of a practice area on defense side back in 2006 at a downtown shop. Here's the deal:

Mostly you go out on depositions where some 85 year old geezer is dying of Stage IV lung cnacer. Often the depos take place in a hospital or nursing home. Usually there are like 7 to 10 defense lawyers present. Usually one of these dorks takes the lead and just runs down a huge list of products that the geezer might have used in his job along with the manufactuers names etc. Mostly its a complete waste of time since the paitient is senile and can't remeber anything anyway. The other lawyers present just wait around for hours listening to see if the products they are defending ever mentioned. "Boring" doesn't begin to describe this shit. Most of the younger lawyers bring ipods/ video games to play or just doze off reading the NY Post or whatever.
Turnover at my old firm was measured in weeks (or sometimes even days). Salaries were and are abysmal- any chimp can do this stuff. I got 45 K back in 2006. I have a friend who's a 3rd year associate at Bivona & Cohen right now and makes 60 K for about 55 hours a week. His bonus last year was a whopping $500 bucks.

Good luck man- in this market you gotta take whatever gutter work you can get, but be warned that asbestos work makes auto accident/slip n fall shitlaw look like a Mardi Gras


You're right, in this market you gotta take whatever you can get. It's a paid position, and pays fairly well at that, so I'm more than happy to go and learn whatever I can about PI litigation. I'm sure at least some of the stuff I'll see will be transferable to other areas of PI lit.

Your experience sounds terrible. Thanks for sharing. With that as my baseline, I can't imagine this summer will be a let down. I think that at the very least, working on the plaintiff side will be much more rewarding. Hopefully my work doesn't involve sitting through the kind of depos you described.

I'm in a secondary market, so 45k actually doesn't sound so bad.


It seems the term "lemming" doesn't only apply to 0L's.

And what I mean by that is you somehow managed to find good in all the bad of scribblehead's posts.

lol dude it's his job? What's he supposed to do, just throw himself off a bridge?

ITE, if it pays, it's got LLP in the name, and it wants to pay YOU, you don't ask questions.

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sanpiero
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby sanpiero » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:13 am

Aqualibrium wrote:It seems the term "lemming" doesn't only apply to 0L's.

And what I mean by that is you somehow managed to find good in all the bad of scribblehead's posts.


You, sir, are a douchebag. What good would it possibly do me to dwell on scribblehead's shitty experience working in asbestos defense? I'm not working in defense, and it is a summer job. "No thank you, esteemed local PI attorney, I'd rather not sit through 6-hour depositions. Thanks anyway." ITE, you take what you are offered, especially when that offer is paid work in the geographic and professional areas (civil lit) in which you'd like to practice.

It might surprise you, but not everyone here is self-entitled T14 attendee. Some of us aren't deterred by having to start at the very bottom of the food-chain and work our way up from there.

perspective
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby perspective » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:27 am

sanpiero wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:It seems the term "lemming" doesn't only apply to 0L's.

And what I mean by that is you somehow managed to find good in all the bad of scribblehead's posts.


You, sir, are a douchebag. What good would it possibly do me to dwell on scribblehead's shitty experience working in asbestos defense? I'm not working in defense, and it is a summer job. "No thank you, esteemed local PI attorney, I'd rather not sit through 6-hour depositions. Thanks anyway." ITE, you take what you are offered, especially when that offer is paid work in the geographic and professional areas (civil lit) in which you'd like to practice.

It might surprise you, but not everyone here is self-entitled T14 attendee. Some of us aren't deterred by having to start at the very bottom of the food-chain and work our way up from there.


Served. If it advances your career prospects and pays, do it.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:31 am

sanpiero wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:It seems the term "lemming" doesn't only apply to 0L's.

And what I mean by that is you somehow managed to find good in all the bad of scribblehead's posts.


You, sir, are a douchebag. What good would it possibly do me to dwell on scribblehead's shitty experience working in asbestos defense? I'm not working in defense, and it is a summer job. "No thank you, esteemed local PI attorney, I'd rather not sit through 6-hour depositions. Thanks anyway." ITE, you take what you are offered, especially when that offer is paid work in the geographic and professional areas (civil lit) in which you'd like to practice.

It might surprise you, but not everyone here is self-entitled T14 attendee. Some of us aren't deterred by having to start at the very bottom of the food-chain and work our way up from there.



I do understand the "this is what I've got, so I need to make the best of it" attitude. I also wasn't expecting you to dwell on scribbleheads experience. It just struck me how remarkably similar something like this:

Your experience sounds terrible...With that as my baseline, I can't imagine this summer will be a let down. I think that at the very least, working on the plaintiff side will be much more rewarding.


Is to what the 0L's say or the 1L's who are giving career advice and talking about their school's career prospects and oci results say.

Same general pattern: a glancing acknowledgment of the bad, an immediate conclusion that things for you will be good, and no experience on which to stake that claim.

I didn't say you did anything wrong, and I understand your situation; I just noted what I saw as a similarity. I'm free to do that, and you are free to call me a douchebag if it makes you feel good.

Also, it doesn't surprise me that not everyone here is self-entitled T14 attendee. Some, like me, don't go to t14's or t25's and just have to work hard and do our best with what we've got.

scribblehead
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby scribblehead » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:35 am

Good for you OP. I hope you have a good experience with plaintiff asbestos work. The best thing about P side is not having to keep any timesheets since everything is on contingency. Also, the guys who do plaintiff work tend to be among the most "normal" and even "cool" people in the law. Insurance defenders, on the other hand, are a pretty pathetic crew that you wouldn't want to socialize with or even speak to outside of work. Good news is that nowadays the carriers are so cheap that they mostly just use per-diems for court and depo appearances. The per diems are real bottom feeders- they only get about 250 bucks to do a 6 hour depo. There was one guy who used to cover Kings (Brooklyn) County who lived in a YMCA and had his sport coat held together with safety pins. I kid you not.

There's another guy in the Bronx who smells like a cat litter box and gets only 45 bucks per court appearance- he has 7 kids and probably lives on food stamps. That's insurance defense, the McJob of the law!

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Bosque
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Bosque » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:22 pm

If your school offers it, I would take products liability.

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nealric
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby nealric » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:13 pm

I was going to suggest complex lit, but you're way ahead of me.


I've always been amused by this term. Does anybody ever say they practice simple litigation?

Anonymous User
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:52 am

I spent two years working as a paralegal for a P's mass tort firm that had a significant asbestos unit. I recommend that you learn about mesothelioma and asbestos. Understand the science, the treatments, all the symptoms, etc.

I agree that you will likely not need to have a very sophisticated knowledge of tort doctrine for your summer position. The documents you write will be boilerplate, cut and paste, as scribblehead said. I would imagine that you will spend a lot of time reviewing medical records, screening new clients, and perhaps, if you're lucky, answering interrogatories or prepping attorneys for depositions, possibly attending a deposition.

Maybe brush up on statute of limitations. Oh, here's a good one: take a course on trusts and estates. Your clients are old and sick, and it is likely that you will have to arrange for an estate representative to take over your deceased client's claim and receive disbursements. So take Trusts and Estates. Yeah, a class on mass torts or product liability would also be relevant. Also wouldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the history of asbestos litigation in general.

The part of the work I liked the most was working on contingency, being able to interact closely with clients and hear their life stories (occassionally this was the worst part of it), and the medical/science stuff was sometimes interesting. Take pride in your craft and in doing a good job, and you will be satisfied; if you start thinking about bullshit like "prestige" or saving the world or showing off your intellect, then you will be disappointed and bitter.

Enjoy the summer. Congrats on landing a job!

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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:09 pm

I work in this area on the other side. I would suggest using some outside credit allowance and take a toxicology class.

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sanpiero
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby sanpiero » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work in this area on the other side. I would suggest using some outside credit allowance and take a toxicology class.


I looked into this. To take the toxicology class offered at my school you need to have a few prereqs that I don't have, like chem 1 and 2. Thanks anyway for the suggestion. Maybe I'll just pick up a book on toxicology.

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sanpiero
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Re: Plaintiffs Asbestos Work

Postby sanpiero » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:21 pm

Thanks a lot for the input, everyone...very helpful




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