Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby holdencaulfield » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:11 am

Sheffield wrote:Has anybody here yet shown up on a weekend yet? In the last two days it has been one assignment piled on the other. Feel frustrated that I am not still at my desk instead of being here with a takeout dinner, ready for a power nap (sad you have to do those at home) and awaiting the Heat game.



What kind of assignments have they been? Are other SA's at your firm also loaded down?

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Sheffield
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Sheffield » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:08 am

holdencaulfield wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Has anybody here yet shown up on a weekend yet? In the last two days it has been one assignment piled on the other.
What kind of assignments have they been? Are other SA's at your firm also loaded down?

It is over-the-top busy. I am underwater with assignments (some short, others not). However, yesterday one of the SAs had none. The SA asked if I would give her one of mine, so I gave her a short one. Not sure what to say if the associate asks where it is, other than I handed it off… probably not cool. Since we do not have a coordinator there is no organized distribution system to speak of.

This has been one of my fasted five weeks ever. Got home and crashed and now awake at 3AM. it's like living in a blur.

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Stonewall
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Stonewall » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:37 am

There is definitely no shortage of work to go around.

NYstate
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby NYstate » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:28 am

Sheffield wrote:
holdencaulfield wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Has anybody here yet shown up on a weekend yet? In the last two days it has been one assignment piled on the other.
What kind of assignments have they been? Are other SA's at your firm also loaded down?

It is over-the-top busy. I am underwater with assignments (some short, others not). However, yesterday one of the SAs had none. The SA asked if I would give her one of mine, so I gave her a short one. Not sure what to say if the associate asks where it is, other than I handed it off… probably not cool. Since we do not have a coordinator there is no organized distribution system to speak of. E

This has been one of my fasted five weeks ever. Got home and crashed and now awake at 3AM. it's like living in a blur.


You should have asked the associate first before handing it off. Also, you should not have taken more assignments than you can do. You need to let that associate know what you did and expect them to be pissed. There is probably a reason you are swamped and the other associate has nothing. It is not up to you to give your work out to other SAs. Come up with a plan to deal with this on Monday.

I know someone upthread said not to turn down work. I disagree. Doing poor work is the fastest way to not get a job. But don't do less work than can reasonably be expected of you. The key here is to communicate about your work. Where a coordinator gives you work, they probably think you should be able to do it. Turning them down without a solid reason as to why is also a mistake.

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mephistopheles
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby mephistopheles » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:31 am

Swamped is an understatement and we have coordinators. As a rising 2l I assumed things would be not that serious but im on all sorts of shit that matters.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:38 am

holdencaulfield wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
holdencaulfield wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is it the consensus that it's better to say no to work, focus on 2 assignments instead of 3, and make sure the 2 are truly polished instead of just alright? The summer coordinator offered me a third assignment today and I felt bad saying no. He sounded disappointed.

In other words, quality over quantity?


2nd year associate here.

I would advise against saying "no" to any assignments. If you have other projects/assignments, tell the coordinator you are currently working on x, y, and z, and let the coordinator determine whether he/she still wants to give a new assignment to you, and if so, what priority it takes.

This will hold true as an associate also. Until you're higher up the food chain, it's not your job to determine the priority of cases. If you try to do so, you may look lazy for turning away work or inefficient when you miss a deadline because you thought another matter was more important.

Original anon, thanks for the response. Do you think sending an email after the fact would do more harm than good? I could let him know that I'll be done with the rest of my stuff at the end of next week.



I think sending an email is a good idea; or just level with her next time you talk to her, but keep it casual. I'd approach it by casually asking "hey, how should I handle new projects if I already have several? Should I ask you which is a priority or should I ask Partner x."

I wouldn't worry though. Your one instance is not a big deal at all.

Got it. Thanks again. I know I sound like a neurotic wreck.

aces
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby aces » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:10 am

NYstate wrote:
Sheffield wrote:
holdencaulfield wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Has anybody here yet shown up on a weekend yet? In the last two days it has been one assignment piled on the other.
What kind of assignments have they been? Are other SA's at your firm also loaded down?

It is over-the-top busy. I am underwater with assignments (some short, others not). However, yesterday one of the SAs had none. The SA asked if I would give her one of mine, so I gave her a short one. Not sure what to say if the associate asks where it is, other than I handed it off… probably not cool. Since we do not have a coordinator there is no organized distribution system to speak of. E

This has been one of my fasted five weeks ever. Got home and crashed and now awake at 3AM. it's like living in a blur.


You should have asked the associate first before handing it off. Also, you should not have taken more assignments than you can do. You need to let that associate know what you did and expect them to be pissed. There is probably a reason you are swamped and the other associate has nothing. It is not up to you to give your work out to other SAs. Come up with a plan to deal with this on Monday.

I know someone upthread said not to turn down work. I disagree. Doing poor work is the fastest way to not get a job. But don't do less work than can reasonably be expected of you. The key here is to communicate about your work. Where a coordinator gives you work, they probably think you should be able to do it. Turning them down without a solid reason as to why is also a mistake.


+1. It is not your responsibility to hand out work to others. You really shouldn't have done that.

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Flips88
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Flips88 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:15 am

mephistopheles wrote:Swamped is an understatement and we have coordinators. As a rising 2l I assumed things would be not that serious but im on all sorts of shit that matters.

Eh. If it really mattered, they wouldn't have a person with one year of law school under their belt doing it.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:49 am

Two spelling errors on two seperate assignments (a few weeks ago now) - rushed both assignments when I didn't really have to. Everything else has been good and I have been taking my time more. Should I be worried at all (firm normally offers 100% or close to it)? My gut is telling me no as long as my work stays solid from here on out, but I can't help wondering.

This is anon. because I have mentioned my school and firm before.

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Sheffield
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Sheffield » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:04 pm

NYstate wrote:
Sheffield wrote:It is over-the-top busy. I am underwater with assignments (some short, others not). However, yesterday one of the SAs had none. The SA asked if I would give her one of mine, so I gave her a short one. Not sure what to say if the associate asks where it is, other than I handed it off… probably not cool. Since we do not have a coordinator there is no organized distribution system to speak of.
You should have asked the associate first before handing it off. Also, you should not have taken more assignments than you can do. You need to let that associate know what you did and expect them to be pissed. There is probably a reason you are swamped and the other associate has nothing. It is not up to you to give your work out to other SAs. Come up with a plan to deal with this on Monday. Where a coordinator gives you work, they probably think you should be able to do it. Turning them down without a solid reason as to why is also a mistake.

I agree with everything you said. I should mention that we do not have a coordinator. What I stated occurred mid-Friday afternoon (people are gone or super busy… with no one to contact). So, I deal with whatever comes, which is usually, “I know you are swamped but I need…”
aces wrote:+1. It is not your responsibility to hand out work to others. You really shouldn't have done that.

I know. If it happens again, I’ll (theoretically) be better prepared to handle it (no idea how, but hopefully I’ll come up with a velvet hammer way of saying “can’t”).

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Two spelling errors on two seperate assignments (a few weeks ago now) - rushed both assignments when I didn't really have to. Everything else has been good and I have been taking my time more. Should I be worried at all (firm normally offers 100% or close to it)? My gut is telling me no as long as my work stays solid from here on out, but I can't help wondering.

This is anon. because I have mentioned my school and firm before.

Have these errors been specifically pointed out to you? If not, I would just be super duper careful the next time.

NYstate
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby NYstate » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:11 pm

Sheffield wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Sheffield wrote:It is over-the-top busy. I am underwater with assignments (some short, others not). However, yesterday one of the SAs had none. The SA asked if I would give her one of mine, so I gave her a short one. Not sure what to say if the associate asks where it is, other than I handed it off… probably not cool. Since we do not have a coordinator there is no organized distribution system to speak of.
You should have asked the associate first before handing it off. Also, you should not have taken more assignments than you can do. You need to let that associate know what you did and expect them to be pissed. There is probably a reason you are swamped and the other associate has nothing. It is not up to you to give your work out to other SAs. Come up with a plan to deal with this on Monday. Where a coordinator gives you work, they probably think you should be able to do it. Turning them down without a solid reason as to why is also a mistake.

I agree with everything you said. I should mention that we do not have a coordinator. What I stated occurred mid-Friday afternoon (people are gone or super busy… with no one to contact). So, I deal with whatever comes, which is usually, “I know you are swamped but I need…”
aces wrote:+1. It is not your responsibility to hand out work to others. You really shouldn't have done that.

I know. If it happens again, I’ll (theoretically) be better prepared to handle it (no idea how, but hopefully I’ll come up with a velvet hammer way of saying “can’t”).



Here's a way to work this: be specific. Say this project I'm working on is due to [ whoever] by [date]. I can either get this done when I finish that or you can ask [ whoever] if I shouldgive your assignment priority. If there is more than one person ahead of them- tell them.

This is where you need to be super organized and know all your deadlines. Be sure to build enough time in to do a good job.

Don't take everything if you can't do it and don't put yourself in the middle. Let them set the priority. Remember the associates and partners can do this work too. The world isn't going to end if you can't do something.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Two spelling errors on two seperate assignments (a few weeks ago now) - rushed both assignments when I didn't really have to. Everything else has been good and I have been taking my time more. Should I be worried at all (firm normally offers 100% or close to it)? My gut is telling me no as long as my work stays solid from here on out, but I can't help wondering.

This is anon. because I have mentioned my school and firm before.

Have these errors been specifically pointed out to you? If not, I would just be super duper careful the next time.

Yes, they were. The partner wasn't yelling or mad, but pointed them out. I've gotten plenty of work since and the partner doesn't check everything I am sending directly to clients, so I don't know how much it has meant. Obviously, I want to be extra careful for this not to happen again, which I am.

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Flips88
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Flips88 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Two spelling errors on two seperate assignments (a few weeks ago now) - rushed both assignments when I didn't really have to. Everything else has been good and I have been taking my time more. Should I be worried at all (firm normally offers 100% or close to it)? My gut is telling me no as long as my work stays solid from here on out, but I can't help wondering.

This is anon. because I have mentioned my school and firm before.

Have these errors been specifically pointed out to you? If not, I would just be super duper careful the next time.

Yes, they were. The partner wasn't yelling or mad, but pointed them out. I've gotten plenty of work since and the partner doesn't check everything I am sending directly to clients, so I don't know how much it has meant. Obviously, I want to be extra careful for this not to happen again, which I am.

Do you have a legal assistant who can proofread things?

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:01 pm

Flips88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Two spelling errors on two seperate assignments (a few weeks ago now) - rushed both assignments when I didn't really have to. Everything else has been good and I have been taking my time more. Should I be worried at all (firm normally offers 100% or close to it)? My gut is telling me no as long as my work stays solid from here on out, but I can't help wondering.

This is anon. because I have mentioned my school and firm before.

Have these errors been specifically pointed out to you? If not, I would just be super duper careful the next time.

Yes, they were. The partner wasn't yelling or mad, but pointed them out. I've gotten plenty of work since and the partner doesn't check everything I am sending directly to clients, so I don't know how much it has meant. Obviously, I want to be extra careful for this not to happen again, which I am.

Do you have a legal assistant who can proofread things?

I do. She has been since. Also, I have been printing everything out and reading them extremely carefully - word by word. Although inefficient, nothing you get as a summer is that "pressing" that you can't do this - unless there is an explicit deadline. I failed to realize this in the beginning, but now understand.

TooOld4This
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I do. She has been since. Also, I have been printing everything out and reading them extremely carefully - word by word. Although inefficient, nothing you get as a summer is that "pressing" that you can't do this - unless there is an explicit deadline. I failed to realize this in the beginning, but now understand.


Text to speech. Have the computer read what you have written (use earphones). This will also help with comma placement and awkward sentence formation.

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:57 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I do. She has been since. Also, I have been printing everything out and reading them extremely carefully - word by word. Although inefficient, nothing you get as a summer is that "pressing" that you can't do this - unless there is an explicit deadline. I failed to realize this in the beginning, but now understand.


Text to speech. Have the computer read what you have written (use earphones). This will also help with comma placement and awkward sentence formation.

Just checked that out. Very cool. Thank you!

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Stonewall
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Stonewall » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:57 pm

I guess it varies from firm to firm but my primary partner just told me to put "draft" on everything and then pass it off to the paralegal team.. So you could always try to do something along those lines if you are making minor typos. Seriously though, I've seen motions filed that were egregiously messed up and no one gave a single shit about it

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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Skye » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:17 am

Stonewall wrote:I guess it varies from firm to firm but my primary partner just told me to put "draft" on everything and then pass it off to the paralegal team.

I guess that is one of the differences between BL and [boutique] semi -BL. We have paralegals except our work goes directly to the assigner (in some cases an associate that hands it off to a partner).

Another difference I have noticed is that my LS SA BL friends are not required to dress “business formal” for work. Actually, when they see me they ask “why are you dressed up?” At my boutique we are expected to be good-to-go to meet with clients, attend a deposition or discovery. Granted I’ve only been to two, nevertheless, I appreciated the experience and the departure from the everyday routine. I am guessing that both BL/Boutique have many things in common, but those are two exceptions I have noticed. One other is that boutique associates will likely be in court a year or before a BL associate and the partner track is a year or two sooner (as I hear it).

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UVAIce
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby UVAIce » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:23 am

You people are going crazy. Just take a step back, take a deep breath, and do your best work.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:28 am

UVAIce wrote:You people are going crazy. Just take a step back, take a deep breath, and do your best work.


Seriously. Stop being fuckin' neurotic about stupid bullshit. Make a decent work product, work hard and learn to take criticism. Any pressure you are feeling right now is entirely self-created.

Goddamn you people need to chill out. You should be focused on not sucking rather than worrying about whether you suck or not. Put that energy elsewhere.

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Renne Walker
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Renne Walker » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:11 am

I write this with wine glass in hand. It is interesting reading these posts (keep 'em coming). They remind me of last year. I remember that it was difficult to totally chill during 1L SA.

The second year is very different inasmuch as things are more relaxed and there is more humor. Unfortunately it is not the type of hilarity that is easily described on a message board, but what goes on would make a great “reality” show. The other day one of the attorneys harassed an SA to the point where the SA was stuttering and as he walked out he turned and gave me a wink. Or when they gave me tickets to the Mets game, I looked up, “so it’s true, you really do hate me”… not the kind of thing I would have dared said as a newbie. Or say to one to one of my less favorite attorneys… “so this is what, your impersonation of Louis Lit.”

The other night an SA was totally bummed at a social because he was in mid-sentence when the partner turned and walked over to another SA. The point, if you are anxious because of one of the thousand things that will go wrong, not to worry, it’s expected. Shit happens. Just roll on to tomorrow.

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alicrimson
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby alicrimson » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:28 am

Skye wrote:
Stonewall wrote:I guess it varies from firm to firm but my primary partner just told me to put "draft" on everything and then pass it off to the paralegal team.

I guess that is one of the differences between BL and [boutique] semi -BL. We have paralegals except our work goes directly to the assigner (in some cases an associate that hands it off to a partner).

Another difference I have noticed is that my LS SA BL friends are not required to dress “business formal” for work. Actually, when they see me they ask “why are you dressed up?” At my boutique we are expected to be good-to-go to meet with clients, attend a deposition or discovery. Granted I’ve only been to two, nevertheless, I appreciated the experience and the departure from the everyday routine. I am guessing that both BL/Boutique have many things in common, but those are two exceptions I have noticed. One other is that boutique associates will likely be in court a year or before a BL associate and the partner track is a year or two sooner (as I hear it).


I think the dress thing varies by firm. I'm working BL and everyone, partners included, dresses up every day. Some of our other branch offices go business casual during summer months, but others are like us. I'd wager it's more of an office by office kind of thing.

Stinson
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Stinson » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I write this with wine glass in hand. It is interesting reading these posts (keep 'em coming). They remind me of last year. I remember that it was difficult to totally chill during 1L SA.

The second year is very different inasmuch as things are more relaxed and there is more humor. Unfortunately it is not the type of hilarity that is easily described on a message board, but what goes on would make a great “reality” show. The other day one of the attorneys harassed an SA to the point where the SA was stuttering and as he walked out he turned and gave me a wink. Or when they gave me tickets to the Mets game, I looked up, “so it’s true, you really do hate me”… not the kind of thing I would have dared said as a newbie. Or say to one to one of my less favorite attorneys… “so this is what, your impersonation of Louis Lit.”

The other night an SA was totally bummed at a social because he was in mid-sentence when the partner turned and walked over to another SA. The point, if you are anxious because of one of the thousand things that will go wrong, not to worry, it’s expected. Shit happens. Just roll on to tomorrow.


Yes to all of this, just echoing as a former SA. SA's spend a lot of time worrying about what partners think of them, so let me spoil it.

They don't think anything about you.

They don't like you, they don't dislike you. There are like fifty things on their priority list permanently above you, which is good. They will periodically be brusque with people because that is pretty much the personality of people who are very busy and are used to having things their way. The things they do that scare you don't even occur to them as scary. But they really don't think of you, and it's totally fine. All you need is for them not to hate you, and it's hard to get them to hate you.

So chillax.

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Sheffield
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Re: Summer Associate: Thoughts, Anxieties, Experiences, etc.

Postby Sheffield » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:45 pm

The preceding post was great, both of you accurately spelling it out. To me, this has been the most helpful thread ever. I believe you may recall the reasons for SA anxiety is because so much is on the line. If 3L SA wasn’t deemed as such a long shot then 2L would be a lot less melodramatic. Hopefully, all of us here will put this experience in our rear view mirror —in a good way.

As far as the humor. Not quite all the way there with that. Recently I was given passes to a Broadway play and my first inclination was to ask, where are the backstage passes… but I held back.

I looked up who Louis Lit is … funny but for sure not there with that yet. Perhaps someday. Thanks.




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