S&C Questions

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've been lurking the last few days just to see how people responded to a recent callback dinner I went to . . . but I can't let this crap hang out there.
Let's start with the usual disclaimers. I'm an associate at S&C, and I love my job and feel very lucky to be here. I'm not particularly hooked up with recruiting, and I'm not shilling because I couldn't really care less, from a selfish point of view, if 2Ls come here. I just hate, HATE to see folks make the same mistakes some of my friends did, and go to a place like Latham for the culture and end up being a credit/high-yield monkey, working as hard as I do and getting half as much out of it. Don't make that mistake please.

(a) I have no hours-based billing pressure. My first year, things were slow (it was the crisis) and I billed, gosh, couldn't have been more than 1800 hours. Not a word. It is strictly a project-based workload. Work fast and efficiently, and you'll work less than half the folks you know at other firms. Waste time, and it will suck. But it is up to you, not the clock, to determine when you leave. This alone justifies going to S&C (or the one or two peer firms with a similar setup) over places lower down the food chain.

(c) There is real effort put into training you. You're not pigeon-holed into a practice area. You're constantly pushed, assigned to new matters in areas you've never done before. People monitor your experience and you receive assignments to plug holes in your knowledge.

(d) As a result, you LEARN here, constantly, and you become a damn good lawyer. You'll have 90% of the credit knowledge as your friend doing ONLY credit at Simpson; you'll have 90% of the high yield knowledge as your friend doing ONLY high yield work at Cahill; oh, and you'll ALSO know how to do registered offerings and you'll have worked on a projects deal, etc.



I agree that S&C is a great firm to work at -- at the same level as other V5+STB -- but I don't agree that these points fairly support the idea that S&C is superior to the aforementioned peer firms.

For point (a), you actually believe that associates who get ahead are not billing many many more hours than that bare minimum level? I'm not debating whether you can coast by at a top corporate law firm doing bare minimum hours -- I know that's possible and doable for several years if you're smart about it -- but it's fallacious, even intuitively, to say that you will get ahead billing so few hours but working very efficiently. That just doesn't seem like an honest assessment of how the Big Law model works, and I doubt S&C is immune to it.

To legitimately support points (c) and (d) vis-a-vis S&C's peer firms you have either needed to work at multiple firms or have solid (not anecdotal data from friends) cross-firm evidence supporting these points. I think these are typical advertising points that S&C is very good at using to market its general corporate practice flexibility (which I definitely like), but you're not going to be a master of several corporate practice areas just because you've done 3 or 4 assignments in them vs. someone who has spent 9-12 month focusing on one particular area in a traditional rotation system. I also don't see why S&C is exceptional at teaching its associates vis-a-vis its peer firms -- all these firms have talented individuals working at them, and they all benefit from teaching their associates properly.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:32 am

Kirkland/Weil may be a "bankruptcy factory" when compared to S&C's 3 partners and 6 associates, but if you look at the numbers, the practice groups are actually quite small for the amount of work they get, and I'd say things are about just as "leanly staffed" as S&C cases (considering the only major ch. 11 S&C has is Kodak).

Source: Interviewed at all three and looked up numbers

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:46 am

My answers to this are as follows (based on my experience, my experience of my friends, and my experience of my uncle, who is a partner at a V20 firm in NYC):

You do not need deep, specialized experience to do corporate work. Outside of a very small number of practice areas (comp & benefits, maybe some aspects of bankruptcy, public company M&A) most transaction work is universal and ports over. Someone up thread made some motions about how drafting a DoN is highly technical and difficult, which is true, except that if you're used to negotiating covenants for other, similar transactions, its very, very similar. Generally speaking, that's true of all basic corporate / cap markets / credit work - its 90% the same and 10% unique for each subset of transaction; the reason you work with a partner is that he/she teaches you the 10% and expects you to bring the 90% that you already have to bear on the work.

So why do other firms force you to specialize? To make money! The more you specialize, the less partner / counsel guidance is required. The less guidance that's required, the more deals a partner can handle at once. The more deals a partner can take on at once, the more money that can be made. Do they particularly care that if you're a one-trick pony and that pony dies in a horrible equestrian accident, the associates are left with nothing? Not really. Is that an irrational concern if you're picking a firm? Ask any of the pre-2008 structured finance associates, if you can find ones that haven't jumped off a bridge or left the profession.

It should say something to any prospective 2L that S&C and Cravath force you to generalize (albeit, different mechanics, but the end result is the same) and lesser firms don't. IMO, generalization is a non-monetary compensation for you, the associate, that the best firms can afford because they have higher margins and can eat the higher cost. The market for laterals / in-house attorneys should allay any concerns that working at S&C or Cravath turns you into a "master of none"; folks want to hire lawyers that have been trained generally. Generalizing hedges your risk against the collapse of a practice area. It is highly desirable.

Now, certainly general practice is HARDER than specializing. That's why places like Cravath and S&C weigh grades so heavily, and its certainly just a more difficult day-to-day job compared to repeating similar deals over and over until you can do them in your sleep. But in terms of building skills for a career as a lawyer, its well worth the investment.

Anonymous User wrote:To legitimately support points (c) and (d) vis-a-vis S&C's peer firms you have either needed to work at multiple firms or have solid (not anecdotal data from friends) cross-firm evidence supporting these points. I think these are typical advertising points that S&C is very good at using to market its general corporate practice flexibility (which I definitely like), but you're not going to be a master of several corporate practice areas just because you've done 3 or 4 assignments in them vs. someone who has spent 9-12 month focusing on one particular area in a traditional rotation system. I also don't see why S&C is exceptional at teaching its associates vis-a-vis its peer firms -- all these firms have talented individuals working at them, and they all benefit from teaching their associates properly.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:My answers to this are as follows (based on my experience, my experience of my friends, and my experience of my uncle, who is a partner at a V20 firm in NYC):

You do not need deep, specialized experience to do corporate work. Outside of a very small number of practice areas (comp & benefits, maybe some aspects of bankruptcy, public company M&A) most transaction work is universal and ports over. Someone up thread made some motions about how drafting a DoN is highly technical and difficult, which is true, except that if you're used to negotiating covenants for other, similar transactions, its very, very similar. Generally speaking, that's true of all basic corporate / cap markets / credit work - its 90% the same and 10% unique for each subset of transaction; the reason you work with a partner is that he/she teaches you the 10% and expects you to bring the 90% that you already have to bear on the work.

So why do other firms force you to specialize? To make money! The more you specialize, the less partner / counsel guidance is required. The less guidance that's required, the more deals a partner can handle at once. The more deals a partner can take on at once, the more money that can be made. Do they particularly care that if you're a one-trick pony and that pony dies in a horrible equestrian accident, the associates are left with nothing? Not really. Is that an irrational concern if you're picking a firm? Ask any of the pre-2008 structured finance associates, if you can find ones that haven't jumped off a bridge or left the profession.

It should say something to any prospective 2L that S&C and Cravath force you to generalize (albeit, different mechanics, but the end result is the same) and lesser firms don't. IMO, generalization is a non-monetary compensation for you, the associate, that the best firms can afford because they have higher margins and can eat the higher cost. The market for laterals / in-house attorneys should allay any concerns that working at S&C or Cravath turns you into a "master of none"; folks want to hire lawyers that have been trained generally. Generalizing hedges your risk against the collapse of a practice area. It is highly desirable.

Now, certainly general practice is HARDER than specializing. That's why places like Cravath and S&C weigh grades so heavily, and its certainly just a more difficult day-to-day job compared to repeating similar deals over and over until you can do them in your sleep. But in terms of building skills for a career as a lawyer, its well worth the investment.

Anonymous User wrote:To legitimately support points (c) and (d) vis-a-vis S&C's peer firms you have either needed to work at multiple firms or have solid (not anecdotal data from friends) cross-firm evidence supporting these points. I think these are typical advertising points that S&C is very good at using to market its general corporate practice flexibility (which I definitely like), but you're not going to be a master of several corporate practice areas just because you've done 3 or 4 assignments in them vs. someone who has spent 9-12 month focusing on one particular area in a traditional rotation system. I also don't see why S&C is exceptional at teaching its associates vis-a-vis its peer firms -- all these firms have talented individuals working at them, and they all benefit from teaching their associates properly.


I'm familiar with Cravath, and have heard a lot about S&C from friends. I think it's difficult for associates who don't work at Cravath/S&C to understand/appreciate the generalist approach. They have drank the Kool-Aid about how specialization benefits associates that other firms propagate. They don't realize that most skills needed for transactions are transferable, while the technical details that set different types of transactions apart can be mastered quickly (by anyone who's smart) or supplemented by experts/partners. The belief that S&C/Cravath associates being "jack of all trades, master of none" is false. S&C/Cravath associates are "jack of all trades, master of specific topics when need be." Granted, since S&C/Cravath associates are generalists, they may forget the specifics after a transaction, but they can pick it up again very quickly the next time.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My answers to this are as follows (based on my experience, my experience of my friends, and my experience of my uncle, who is a partner at a V20 firm in NYC):

You do not need deep, specialized experience to do corporate work. Outside of a very small number of practice areas (comp & benefits, maybe some aspects of bankruptcy, public company M&A) most transaction work is universal and ports over. Someone up thread made some motions about how drafting a DoN is highly technical and difficult, which is true, except that if you're used to negotiating covenants for other, similar transactions, its very, very similar. Generally speaking, that's true of all basic corporate / cap markets / credit work - its 90% the same and 10% unique for each subset of transaction; the reason you work with a partner is that he/she teaches you the 10% and expects you to bring the 90% that you already have to bear on the work.

So why do other firms force you to specialize? To make money! The more you specialize, the less partner / counsel guidance is required. The less guidance that's required, the more deals a partner can handle at once. The more deals a partner can take on at once, the more money that can be made. Do they particularly care that if you're a one-trick pony and that pony dies in a horrible equestrian accident, the associates are left with nothing? Not really. Is that an irrational concern if you're picking a firm? Ask any of the pre-2008 structured finance associates, if you can find ones that haven't jumped off a bridge or left the profession.

It should say something to any prospective 2L that S&C and Cravath force you to generalize (albeit, different mechanics, but the end result is the same) and lesser firms don't. IMO, generalization is a non-monetary compensation for you, the associate, that the best firms can afford because they have higher margins and can eat the higher cost. The market for laterals / in-house attorneys should allay any concerns that working at S&C or Cravath turns you into a "master of none"; folks want to hire lawyers that have been trained generally. Generalizing hedges your risk against the collapse of a practice area. It is highly desirable.

Now, certainly general practice is HARDER than specializing. That's why places like Cravath and S&C weigh grades so heavily, and its certainly just a more difficult day-to-day job compared to repeating similar deals over and over until you can do them in your sleep. But in terms of building skills for a career as a lawyer, its well worth the investment.

Anonymous User wrote:To legitimately support points (c) and (d) vis-a-vis S&C's peer firms you have either needed to work at multiple firms or have solid (not anecdotal data from friends) cross-firm evidence supporting these points. I think these are typical advertising points that S&C is very good at using to market its general corporate practice flexibility (which I definitely like), but you're not going to be a master of several corporate practice areas just because you've done 3 or 4 assignments in them vs. someone who has spent 9-12 month focusing on one particular area in a traditional rotation system. I also don't see why S&C is exceptional at teaching its associates vis-a-vis its peer firms -- all these firms have talented individuals working at them, and they all benefit from teaching their associates properly.


Some fair points here, but I'd like to note a couple things. First, S&C does not force you to generalize -- you can work in one area the entire time (and I know successful M&A associates who do just that). Second, I hope you aren't still denigrating other V5 + STB as "lesser firms." Some of these firms may not force you to generalize, but neither does S&C. Cravath has such a long rotation that in nearly 4.5 years at the firm you will be exposed to only three different practice areas (likely the core ones, but three nonetheless). At DPW and STB, which I both believe have 3 rotations each lasting less than a year, you can get the same exposure in less than half that time and without the risk of being stuck in something you do not even want (imagine being assigned to capital markets for 18 months when you know from experience that you hate the work -- hell on earth right there).

For what it's worth, associates at these firms have spoken fondly to me of their rotations because it provides a more well-rounded view of a transaction.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:21 pm

To the poster above who said that S&C weighs so heavily on grades because generalizing is harder: I hope you don't actually believe that high grades correlate to someone who will be able to handle "harder" work. That's just not true and even though S&C has that silly grade requirement that's not why they do it. They have the grade requirement because they (like WLRK) want to be able to say they take the "top" kids at each school and generally people with higher grades tend to be on journals, order of the coif, etc. which makes S&C look better.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To the poster above who said that S&C weighs so heavily on grades because generalizing is harder: I hope you don't actually believe that high grades correlate to someone who will be able to handle "harder" work. That's just not true and even though S&C has that silly grade requirement that's not why they do it. They have the grade requirement because they (like WLRK) want to be able to say they take the "top" kids at each school and generally people with higher grades tend to be on journals, order of the coif, etc. which makes S&C look better.


so . . . you got average grades and are upset that s&c didn't think you could handle complex work?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To the poster above who said that S&C weighs so heavily on grades because generalizing is harder: I hope you don't actually believe that high grades correlate to someone who will be able to handle "harder" work. That's just not true and even though S&C has that silly grade requirement that's not why they do it. They have the grade requirement because they (like WLRK) want to be able to say they take the "top" kids at each school and generally people with higher grades tend to be on journals, order of the coif, etc. which makes S&C look better.


so . . . you got average grades and are upset that s&c didn't think you could handle complex work?

Please tell me this is the S&C associate who wrote this.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:10 pm

I don't know how firm their grade cut-offs actually are. I'm dead median at my CCN and just accepted an offer from them. No LR

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don't know how firm their grade cut-offs actually are. I'm dead median at my CCN and just accepted an offer from them. No LR


Judging by previous data, their cut-offs are very firm. Of the approx 30ish offers S&C gave out to my CCN school last year, there was only 1 who wasn't top 1/3 of class. Congrats on being the only one this year.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know how firm their grade cut-offs actually are. I'm dead median at my CCN and just accepted an offer from them. No LR


Judging by previous data, their cut-offs are very firm. Of the approx 30ish offers S&C gave out to my CCN school last year, there was only 1 who wasn't top 1/3 of class. Congrats on being the only one this year.

Median at CCN and I got an offer. Turned it down, but maybe that's part of it. People who have the personalities to outperform their grades go elsewhere.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know how firm their grade cut-offs actually are. I'm dead median at my CCN and just accepted an offer from them. No LR


Judging by previous data, their cut-offs are very firm. Of the approx 30ish offers S&C gave out to my CCN school last year, there was only 1 who wasn't top 1/3 of class. Congrats on being the only one this year.

Median at CCN and I got an offer. Turned it down, but maybe that's part of it. People who have the personalities to outperform their grades go elsewhere.


Mind sharing where you decided?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't know how firm their grade cut-offs actually are. I'm dead median at my CCN and just accepted an offer from them. No LR


Judging by previous data, their cut-offs are very firm. Of the approx 30ish offers S&C gave out to my CCN school last year, there was only 1 who wasn't top 1/3 of class. Congrats on being the only one this year.

Median at CCN and I got an offer. Turned it down, but maybe that's part of it. People who have the personalities to outperform their grades go elsewhere.


Mind sharing where you decided?


Don't wanna out myself, but somewhere with a more "fratty"/social atmosphere. I realize this sounds kind of douchey, but I think S&C is somewhere where people find value in their work rather than their relationships, and that's totally okay--but it's just not for me.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby psach44 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:11 pm

Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Previous anon. It's not Skadden. Not sure why you're abusing anon to talk smack on Skadden/me, though.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby psach44 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Previous anon. It's not Skadden. Not sure why you're abusing anon to talk smack on Skadden/me, though.



Haha, abusing anon. Relax.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby legends159 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Plenty of people choose Skadden over s&c every year and plenty do the reverse. What's so surprising about not being a blind vault slave?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:32 pm

legends159 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Plenty of people choose Skadden over s&c every year and plenty do the reverse. What's so surprising about not being a blind vault slave?


Basically this. I chose a lower-ranked v15 because exit options are actually better in my desired practice area at that firm and prestige isn't as important to me as enjoying my job and the people I will work with.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:51 am

legends159 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Plenty of people choose Skadden over s&c every year and plenty do the reverse. What's so surprising about not being a blind vault slave?


At one of HYS, S&C's offer yield rate is 3x that of Skadden's.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby legends159 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:
legends159 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Plenty of people choose Skadden over s&c every year and plenty do the reverse. What's so surprising about not being a blind vault slave?


At one of HYS, S&C's offer yield rate is 3x that of Skadden's.


Ok but skadden is also much larger than s&c so they have to give out more offers. I don't think your statement has much value given the difference in firm size and small sample size.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:20 am

legends159 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
legends159 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ha oh ok totally didn't out yourself. Can we say Skadden?

Skadden over S&C...INTERESTING...


Plenty of people choose Skadden over s&c every year and plenty do the reverse. What's so surprising about not being a blind vault slave?


At one of HYS, S&C's offer yield rate is 3x that of Skadden's.


Ok but skadden is also much larger than s&c so they have to give out more offers. I don't think your statement has much value given the difference in firm size and small sample size.


They gave fewer offers than S&C at the HYS in question. Yield for Skadden has consistently been low.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:39 am

Maybe it's because s&c offers socially awkward people who have high grades but can't get offers at peer firms. I say this as someone who has interviewed with these peer firms recently and so far has only an offer from s&c from those firms. As you said yourself, skadden offered fewer people at your school than s&c despite lower grade cutoffs.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:43 am

S&C runs their recruiting department like a machine, it isn't a surprise their yield is higher because if their sales tactics didn't work they wouldn't use them. It's sad though because being told by some well trained laterals that their first 2 years at the firm were amazing and getting a call from the hiring partner should not be very persuasive reasons to make a career choice.


Also at my CCNP know multiple people at median with S&C offers, at least one below.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:S&C runs their recruiting department like a machine, it isn't a surprise their yield is higher because if their sales tactics didn't work they wouldn't use them. It's sad though because being told by some well trained laterals that their first 2 years at the firm were amazing and getting a call from the hiring partner should not be very persuasive reasons to make a career choice.


Also at my CCNP know multiple people at median with S&C offers, at least one below.


If you don't want people to know what school you go to, probably best not to group them weirdly...

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:Maybe it's because s&c offers socially awkward people who have high grades but can't get offers at peer firms. I say this as someone who has interviewed with these peer firms recently and so far has only an offer from s&c from those firms. As you said yourself, skadden offered fewer people at your school than s&c despite lower grade cutoffs.


My impression was that Skadden had a lot of socially awkward people as well (2/4 interviewers at CB). If you have the grades (top 15% at HYS), you will be getting an offer not only from S&C but also from most of its peer firms. S&C (though filled with law review nerds) isn't desperate for people with high grades. It offers less than a third of the people who met their grade cut-offs (HYS). I'm sure most of the other 2/3 did screeners with them as well.




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