Bankruptcy Clerkship

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needajob
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Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby needajob » Fri May 04, 2012 4:58 pm

Just looking for anecdotal responses (hopefully from 3Ls or recent graduates into the current economy) -- What kind of grades does a student from a top 20-30 school need to have a realistic shot at a bankruptcy clerkship?

USAIRS
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby USAIRS » Fri May 04, 2012 5:58 pm

My second-hand anecdotal stuff is pre ITE (or at least on the cusp of it), but I've seen bottom of the class at T10 and middle of the class practically everywhere else land BK clerkships. I think taking whatever bankruptcy classes are offered and doing well in them, and having real commitment to the field, are really important. Those kinds of people are hard to find, actually.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri May 04, 2012 7:16 pm

Really depends on the district. A ridiculously high fraction of all large corporate bankruptcies are handled in two districts (SDNY and D. Del.) - these are actually quite hard to get, since top students who are interested in restructuring work go after them. There are also relatively few judges (compared to district courts), and each judge only takes two clerks (most places).

Anecdotally, of the two people I know doing SDNY bankruptcy clerkships, one is T6 LR, and the other is T6 not LR, but very good grades.

If you're not fixated on SDNY or D. Del., probably significantly less competitive. But keep in mind you'll get a lot of personal/small business bankruptcies in other districts, which is less helpful if your goal is big firm bankruptcy/restructuring practice.

012grad
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby 012grad » Fri May 04, 2012 10:36 pm

Definitely true what the other poster said about SDNY and Del. These districts are I am sure more competitive than the rest, and the same can probably be said for particularly well-known judges in other big-city districts like N.D. Illinois.

Here is my anecdote from my application process:

Top 3% T70-90
Law Rev. Board Member, not published.
Best Grades from BK relevant classes: BK, Commercial law.
Good relationships/strong recommendations from profs in those classes.
Summer Associate in Small Law [It would be "small law" in this forum, anyway] for 2L summer.
Judicial Externships--one was a BK externship with a pretty well known judge.

I applied to maybe 60 or so BK judges through OSCAR during the September rush and got about 10 interviews before I finished the process, from a good variety of cities (not SDNY or Del. or N.D. Ill.) I was very satisfied, considering my school's rank. Got an offer about half-way through my interviews.

I have heard from 2 or 3 consumer districts the total number of applications they got, and what I heard was between 170-400 applications per opening. I'm no expert (ask, say, the poster GTL Rev.), but I think these numbers are way lower than the numbers any Art. III judge would receive. It would be interesting to know what the numbers are for the big-time Ch. 11 districts, though.

From my experience, when going after these jobs your interest in BK is crucial, and this is one area of employment where proven subject matter interest may get you past a weak school rank. If OP is a 1L or 2L and wants to go after this, I would recommend seeing if you can do an externship with a BK judge who has some name recognition, for example maybe somebody who has written well known opinions, done a big-name Ch. 11, or is active in ABI, NCBJ, or similar organizations.

It's possible that the St. John's BK LLM will give you a leg up for these jobs, but I really don't know. LLMs are a whole other subject but I just thought I'd mention that.

I look forward to more anecdotes on this thread.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 05, 2012 10:10 am

I seriously doubt a St. Johns LLM in bankruptcy will help with the SDNY/DDel bankruptcy judges; maybe it would help with other districts, but I doubt it. The St Johns LLM is a joke because of the school that offers it, regardless of the substance. It's a shame that, say, Chicago (they easily have the highest-powered bankruptcy faculty out there these days--at least for corporate BK--especially after having hired the guy from Columbia), doesn't do one.

I'm not sure a bankruptcy clerkship outside of SDNY/DDel would be particularly useful for anyone who isn't planning to do consumer bankruptcy. A magistrate clerkship would probably be more helpful (for skill development) for someone who isn't biglaw-bound.

I thought really hard about doing a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY/DDel instead of an appellete clerkship. I'm going into bankruptcy at a large firm, blah blah. When I was applying for clerkships, I still wasn't sure if I was going to do litigation or bankruptcy, so I ended up sticking with appellete judges. Had I made up my mind about bankruptcy by the application deadline, I may have switched over to SDNY/DDel (or withdrawn from the clerkship market entirely). The firm noted that no clerkship--including BK clerkships in SDNY/DDel--really helps much with bankruptcy work, because so much of the important stuff is on the transactional side of things. Anything outside of SDNY/DDel would be seen as a complete waste--even, say, Judge Wedoff in Chicago.

Another thing to consider applying for: Judge Ambro in the 3rd Circuit is (I believe, though I could be wrong here) the only former bankruptcy judge on the court of appeals. He's seen as an incredible bankruptcy mind. He hires way, way in advance, though (i.e., he's probably hiring--or has already hired--for 2014-15 right now).

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 05, 2012 2:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I seriously doubt a St. Johns LLM in bankruptcy will help with the SDNY/DDel bankruptcy judges; maybe it would help with other districts, but I doubt it. The St Johns LLM is a joke because of the school that offers it, regardless of the substance. It's a shame that, say, Chicago (they easily have the highest-powered bankruptcy faculty out there these days--at least for corporate BK--especially after having hired the guy from Columbia), doesn't do one.

I'm not sure a bankruptcy clerkship outside of SDNY/DDel would be particularly useful for anyone who isn't planning to do consumer bankruptcy. A magistrate clerkship would probably be more helpful (for skill development) for someone who isn't biglaw-bound.

I thought really hard about doing a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY/DDel instead of an appellete clerkship. I'm going into bankruptcy at a large firm, blah blah. When I was applying for clerkships, I still wasn't sure if I was going to do litigation or bankruptcy, so I ended up sticking with appellete judges. Had I made up my mind about bankruptcy by the application deadline, I may have switched over to SDNY/DDel (or withdrawn from the clerkship market entirely). The firm noted that no clerkship--including BK clerkships in SDNY/DDel--really helps much with bankruptcy work, because so much of the important stuff is on the transactional side of things. Anything outside of SDNY/DDel would be seen as a complete waste--even, say, Judge Wedoff in Chicago.

Another thing to consider applying for: Judge Ambro in the 3rd Circuit is (I believe, though I could be wrong here) the only former bankruptcy judge on the court of appeals. He's seen as an incredible bankruptcy mind. He hires way, way in advance, though (i.e., he's probably hiring--or has already hired--for 2014-15 right now).


Interesting perspective. Wedoff is a very well-recognized judge, so I'm surprised that working for him would be seen as a "waste." But I suppose it is all a matter of perspective and what a person's goals and possibilities are.

Just FYI, two other former BK now COA judges who come to mind are Bernice Donald (6th Cir.) and Conrad Cyr (1st Cir. senior).

Info about consumer districts may still be what OP is interested in given his situation. I would add that there do exist business cases even in districts that are mostly consumer districts, though it varies depending on the district. Exit options should be a concern for anyone, of course, depending on your ambitions.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 05, 2012 2:26 pm

Sure, Wedoff is recognized as a very good bankruptcy judge. Still, unless you happen to catch a year where he's focused on corporate cases, there just aren't a lot of large corporate filings in NDIL. The seventh circuit is not seen as a debtor-friendly circuit, for a number of reasons. No one files there unless they have to, or unless they're a small enough company that the "debtor advantages" (and, probably more importantly, "debtor's advsiors advantages") in SDNY and DDel aren't as relevant.

needajob
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby needajob » Sat May 05, 2012 7:22 pm

Thank you all -- It has been pretty tough to find much information about this elsewhere.

012grad
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby 012grad » Sat May 05, 2012 8:34 pm

I think you're right. It's hard to find info on this topic because it is not a very popular or well known path, unlike the Art. III clerkships. This is especially true for TLS people, who often have Art III credentials and/or biglaw jobs in hand--you'll notice there is a very informative and enormous TLS thread about Art. III clerkships, but very little posted on BK courts.

One of the reasons I have posted on this thread is that I was in a similar spot of not knowing anything about how things stood for these jobs, and I think it would be a benefit for people to have more info. Maybe you can try talking to your BK prof at your school about what kind of grades people at your school need.

Do you like BK law? Do you like clerk-type work? Attracted to federal clerk salary? There are a lot of things to think about.

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IAFG
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby IAFG » Sat May 05, 2012 10:55 pm

My issues with BK clerkships is 1) lots of judges only want career clerks and 2) firms inconsistently pay clerkship bonuses. Aside from the opportunity cost, that's a bad sign IMO about how firms are going to value that experience.

Also, as has been alluded to, BK courts are going to be doing mostly personal 7s and 13s.

The firm noted that no clerkship--including BK clerkships in SDNY/DDel--really helps much with bankruptcy work, because so much of the important stuff is on the transactional side of things.


While I know some firms do look at it this way, I don't think I agree with it as a sweeping statement.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 06, 2012 10:30 am

I'm completing a bankruptcy clerkship right now and have multiple friends in them as well. Can I answer any questions for you?

Your OP was asking about stats from a T20-30 school--that's the range of school I am in. The stats of the kids I know from my school that have bankruptcy clerkships were approx. top third-top 25%, generally with at least one bankruptcy internship, and obviously a journal. All of my friends in bankruptcy clerkships are published (and I am too). Not sure if these stats are common across the board. I'm class of 2011 btw.

Mainly I work on Chapter 11s (and occasionally more complex Ch 7s and 13s). Of my judge's former clerks (that I know what happened after their clerkship): 2 are in Biglaw as bankruptcy associates, 1 is an AUSA.

012grad
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby 012grad » Sun May 06, 2012 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm completing a bankruptcy clerkship right now and have multiple friends in them as well. Can I answer any questions for you?

Your OP was asking about stats from a T20-30 school--that's the range of school I am in. The stats of the kids I know from my school that have bankruptcy clerkships were approx. top third-top 25%, generally with at least one bankruptcy internship, and obviously a journal. All of my friends in bankruptcy clerkships are published (and I am too). Not sure if these stats are common across the board. I'm class of 2011 btw.

Mainly I work on Chapter 11s (and occasionally more complex Ch 7s and 13s). Of my judge's former clerks (that I know what happened after their clerkship): 2 are in Biglaw as bankruptcy associates, 1 is an AUSA.



Any suggestions as to looking for a job at a new firm post-clerkship? Does one reach out directly to bankruptcy practice group heads in the region? Are there bankruptcy specific job search resources for BK clerks looking to make the next move?

Anonymous User
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 07, 2012 6:13 pm

012grad wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm completing a bankruptcy clerkship right now and have multiple friends in them as well. Can I answer any questions for you?

Your OP was asking about stats from a T20-30 school--that's the range of school I am in. The stats of the kids I know from my school that have bankruptcy clerkships were approx. top third-top 25%, generally with at least one bankruptcy internship, and obviously a journal. All of my friends in bankruptcy clerkships are published (and I am too). Not sure if these stats are common across the board. I'm class of 2011 btw.

Mainly I work on Chapter 11s (and occasionally more complex Ch 7s and 13s). Of my judge's former clerks (that I know what happened after their clerkship): 2 are in Biglaw as bankruptcy associates, 1 is an AUSA.



Any suggestions as to looking for a job at a new firm post-clerkship? Does one reach out directly to bankruptcy practice group heads in the region? Are there bankruptcy specific job search resources for BK clerks looking to make the next move?



I haven't seen any bankruptcy specific job search resources for bankruptcy clerks. My judge helps a lot--giving you contacts and recommendations depending on what city you're looking in. And several of the former clerks will let us know if they hear of any jobs to apply for, but basically you pretty much mass mail a bunch of firms around Feb.-Mar. and start interviewing. If they ever start hiring again, DOJ honors (U.S. Trustee Program) is another great thing to apply for coming from a bankruptcy clerkship.

This year my career services actually emailed me to let me know that a firm had approached them looking for a new bankruptcy associate coming out of a clerkship, and there have actually been multiple job postings at large firms in my area looking specifically for bankruptcy associates coming from bankruptcy clerkships.

Again, no clue if any of this is common across the board, this is just what I've experienced. It really has seemed to me that bankruptcy clerkships can be a backdoor into biglaw if you just barely missed it the first time around. Obviously nothing will help if you have terrible grades, but if you were really close and for some reason didn't get it and happen to have an aptitude for bankruptcy, it's not a bad choice.

needajob
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby needajob » Mon May 07, 2012 6:33 pm

Thanks -- That's really helpful. I don't have any questions the moment but I'm sure I'll have some as the hiring period opens up. Thanks again!

Anonymous User wrote:I'm completing a bankruptcy clerkship right now and have multiple friends in them as well. Can I answer any questions for you?

Your OP was asking about stats from a T20-30 school--that's the range of school I am in. The stats of the kids I know from my school that have bankruptcy clerkships were approx. top third-top 25%, generally with at least one bankruptcy internship, and obviously a journal. All of my friends in bankruptcy clerkships are published (and I am too). Not sure if these stats are common across the board. I'm class of 2011 btw.

Mainly I work on Chapter 11s (and occasionally more complex Ch 7s and 13s). Of my judge's former clerks (that I know what happened after their clerkship): 2 are in Biglaw as bankruptcy associates, 1 is an AUSA.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 8:42 am

The St. John's bankruptcy LL.M. is pretty helpful in terms of getting bankruptcy clerkships -- half of the current class has bankruptcy clerkships lined up, and about half a dozen of the current Bankr. SDNY law clerks are grads of the program.

I dislike thinking of bankruptcy clerkships as Bankr. SDNY/Del. or bust, but those two districts will make getting a job with a big law firm much easier. However, I've seen people from very small and consumer-oriented districts obtain large firm jobs (albeit during times of significant bankruptcy filings). The other thing is that clerking in a smaller district is good if you'd like to work in a medium-sized or small law firm in the region where you're clerking.

Of course, the caveat to all of this is that the bankruptcy associate job market isn't good right now, even for law clerks in Bankr. SDNY/Del. Perhaps that'll change if there's an uptick in business bankruptcy filings.

As far as the required qualifications to get a bankruptcy clerkship, for me it's been about personal connections and work experience. I'd give details about me to back this up, but the bankruptcy community is small enough that it'd be too easy to figure out who I am.

Per my experience, judges can be quirky in terms of what they're looking for. Sometimes they want to hire somebody who is local or who'll stay in the area after the clerkship (which is why two judges hired someone besides me haha). Sometimes they want a person that they feel get along with on a personal level. I once heard an Art. III judge say that s/he hired people just outside the top of the class because the top of class people felt they were doing you a favor by working for you.

I'm not sure if bankruptcy clerkships are wholly irrelevant to transactional bankruptcy practice. Don't forget that settlements, DIP loans, and the like need to be approved by the judge, and it's the law clerk (for the most part) who'll be scrutinizing the documents. It's not the same as negotiating the deal terms or drafting the documents, but it's something.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 9:40 am

I interviewed for several bankruptcy clerkships (and accepted one). I am at a T100 Top 5-15%, journal, published, strong resume. The judges I interviewed with seemed to have around 200-600 applications (desirable areas). NY and DE are very prestigious, but there are some other busy Chapter 11 dockets in places you might not initially think of (for example-Dallas). I sense that it is harder than one might think to obtain these clerkships, but then again look at the employment numbers overall for graduates.

peter2009
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby peter2009 » Thu May 10, 2012 4:19 pm

I'm graduating from a top 25 law school this semester and am doing a bankruptcy clerkship next year. I had an interview for Del. Bkr. and a few others, but got a clerkship elsewhere.

I'm top 1/3, worked at a midsized bankruptcy firm last summer, was a RA for a bankruptcy professor, and interned one semester with a bankruptcy judge. I think a demonstrated interest in bankruptcy is really important for bankruptcy judges.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 17, 2012 12:45 pm

I know someone (i promise not me) who really wants to get a bankruptcy clerkship in So. Cal. Preferably LA, but would consider other areas. How competitive is it? The person is at a T25, roughly at the top 20% of her class.

Would the St. John's LLM help to get that clerkship assuming she does not get one this year? (not sure about the marketability of the LLM nationally)

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 17, 2012 1:30 pm

The St. John's LL.M. doesn't have many (any?) alums in LA, but that's b/c people self-select out of LA rather than the LA market being tough to crack. One of the 2012 LL.M. grads got a clerkship there in Bankr. C.D. Cal.

I have no clue how competitive it is to get a bankruptcy clerkship in LA. There are only so many openings each year though, so your friend should apply to the bankruptcy judges in Riverside, Woodland Hills, etc. Your friend also needs to show a demonstrated interest in bankruptcy and it's better if she's local or has ties to LA. The judges get so many applications that some discard apps from people who don't have bankruptcy experience or lack local ties. I'd imagine that 20% shouldn't get your friend dinged b/c of grades, though.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 18, 2012 1:02 am

My law school (Top 15) - clerks in the bankruptcy court average about a 3.45

needajob
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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby needajob » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:18 pm

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Last edited by needajob on Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:45 pm

Glad I found this thread - I have become increasingly interested in bankruptcy and I have a few questions:

First things first: Just finished 2L, top 15% at a T25 - secondary journal (not published), I got the highest grade in my Bankruptcy class and the highest grade in my Commercial Law class, and I'm working for a mid sized bankruptcy firm this summer. The most of the rest of my stuff is fairly typical (Gov. job last summer, moot court, etc.) - what are my chances at SDNY or D Del for a post grad clerkship? Do these clerkships depend a little less on stats and more on fit/interest? Are they a little more of a black box (because there is comparatively less info out there)?

Also how to the SDNY/D Del bankruptcy clerkships compare to a Federal District Court clerkship in terms of prestige? I have gathered that magistrate/bankruptcy clerkships in general are considered to be less prestigious but would SDNY/D Del be considered on par with a District Court clerkship? More prestigious? Not really a prestige whore or anything like that but I just really have no idea how the two would be compared.

Thanks!

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby peter2009 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Glad I found this thread - I have become increasingly interested in bankruptcy and I have a few questions:

First things first: Just finished 2L, top 15% at a T25 - secondary journal (not published), I got the highest grade in my Bankruptcy class and the highest grade in my Commercial Law class, and I'm working for a mid sized bankruptcy firm this summer. The most of the rest of my stuff is fairly typical (Gov. job last summer, moot court, etc.) - what are my chances at SDNY or D Del for a post grad clerkship? Do these clerkships depend a little less on stats and more on fit/interest? Are they a little more of a black box (because there is comparatively less info out there)?

Also how to the SDNY/D Del bankruptcy clerkships compare to a Federal District Court clerkship in terms of prestige? I have gathered that magistrate/bankruptcy clerkships in general are considered to be less prestigious but would SDNY/D Del be considered on par with a District Court clerkship? More prestigious? Not really a prestige whore or anything like that but I just really have no idea how the two would be compared.

Thanks!


Always hard to predict a person's chances, but IMO you have a decent shot at an interview (after that it depends on the interview for an offer), especially if you have good rec letters that might be able to speak more about your interest/experience in bankruptcy.

One thing to know about SDNY is that many of the judges like to hire clerks with post-law school experience. I don't think this is as much the case with D Del.

As for prestige, bankruptcy clerkships are normally less prestigious than district court clerkships in the same district. But if you compare a district court clerkship in a smaller district to a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY or Del, then I think the bankruptcy clerkship would be better (assuming the clerk wants to do bankruptcy). As proof of this I am pretty sure most big NY firms will pay clerkship bonuses for a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY or Del like they would for a federal district court clerkship.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:25 am

peter2009 wrote:As for prestige, bankruptcy clerkships are normally less prestigious than district court clerkships in the same district. But if you compare a district court clerkship in a smaller district to a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY or Del, then I think the bankruptcy clerkship would be better (assuming the clerk wants to do bankruptcy). As proof of this I am pretty sure most big NY firms will pay clerkship bonuses for a bankruptcy clerkship in SDNY or Del like they would for a federal district court clerkship.


This almost goes without saying, but it also depends on what you want to do. If you want to do bankruptcy/restructuring practice, a bankruptcy clerkship is going to be viewed more positively than most if not all district court clerkships. If you just express a generalized interest in corp or lit, a bankruptcy clerkship, even in SDNY or D. Del., isn't really that helpful since it's not directly applicable.

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Re: Bankruptcy Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:31 pm

Anybody received a bankruptcy clerkship for the 13-14 term? It's early, but I'm interested if any judges are hiring off-plan yet?




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