Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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bl1nds1ght

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby bl1nds1ght » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:BigLaw Healthcare Associate

There is no such thing as a typical day, though all I do is healthcare all day, every day. Since healthcare is neither exclusively litigation or exclusively transactional, I find my days dotted with a smattering of reviewing documents for compliance/contract negotiations (whether property acquisitions, clinical trial agreements, research proposals, informed consent forms, etc.), preemptive compliance analysis of the myriad healthcare acronyms and issues (HIPAA, HITECH, FCA, EMTALA, QHP, Medicare, Medicaid, Stark, 501(c)(3) inurement), and litigation research.

Because I'm am junior, though I was allowed to pick a specialty on day one, I am expected to avail myself to every feasible issue. This means I arrive around 8am and leave around 7pm, with a 6 minute lunch break long enough to heat my meal and eat at my desk. Otherwise, I am billing all day long, every day. However, given the nature of healthcare, I rarely work weekends and have only worked past 8pm twice in two years. Consistent urgency gets exhausting, but a reliable 6-8 hours of sleep is something I will not bite my thumb at. A couple more years and I will have more time to cultivate clients, though I have tried to use my early departure to start greasing those wheels where I do have relationships in place.

Summary for someone interested in healthcare: you will be consistently busy, but will have zero difficulty meeting your billable hours. Those light days when you have nothing to do at 2pm, you can leave with impunity! However, if you are not sure about healthcare, there is no such thing as dabbling. Healthcare is a practice group of its own and requires people who recognize that fact. The secret seems to be landing a large hospital or physician practice group and taking impeccable care of them. Healthcare professionals are fiercely loyal, but quick to depart if they aren't seeing you jump when they snap their fingers. To bastardize a few healthcare analogies, during the weekend, everything is Code Blue. On the weekend, a bandage and aspirin suffices.

Wondering if you can comment a little more about how you got started in this practice area. Did you have any prior background in the health industry, or did you just choose this path from day 1 at your firm? Really appreciate your rundown! Thanks.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Healthcare Associate again

Anonymous User wrote:^anon: Can you PM me? I have some questions RE: BigFirm health law, as I am a junior in-house for a health provider, and was wondering whether I should/could make the jump to BigLaw as a junior health associate.

Now's the time if ever there were a time. There are tons of firms trying to establish a healthcare presence and a 2-5 year associate with proven healthcare legal experience seems to be a very hot commodity. I would envision that a firm would find great utility in leveraging your institutional knowledge, particularly if you can practice in the same city where you in-housed (and it's not a conflict).

bl1nds1ght wrote: Wondering if you can comment a little more about how you got started in this practice area. Did you have any prior background in the health industry, or did you just choose this path from day 1 at your firm? Really appreciate your rundown! Thanks.

I have both past work experience and an advanced health degree and set my sights on healthcare law the first day of law school. To break into the field I think you need to have a good reason for why health, at least that's what it seems from my exposure to biglaw recruiting. Health law has become a bit of a "flavor of the month" because of the Affordable Care Act. But clients are quick to call BS on someone who doesn't speak the language. One of the worst possible things you can do is mix up Medicare and Medicaid, say you want to practice health law because you are interested in medmal defense, or, god forbid, misspell "HIPPA" in your cover letter.

whatsyourdeal

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby whatsyourdeal » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:^anon: Can you PM me? I have some questions RE: BigFirm health law, as I am a junior in-house for a health provider, and was wondering whether I should/could make the jump to BigLaw as a junior health associate.


Sorry that was me. Clicked the wrong response button by mistake. Anon RE: BigLaw Healthcare Associate, can you PM me?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby calvinwidget » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:44 pm

TAG

Briney Spring Gun

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Briney Spring Gun » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:01 am

Any antitrust attorneys care to chime in?

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BlueLotus

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:19 pm

I'd appreciate any insights from immigration attorneys working at small firms.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:13 pm

Can I get a rundown on a day in the life at Chicago Biglaw Litigation or small offices (<20) of big firms?

SFB222

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby SFB222 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:25 pm

So I posted a comment regarding the nature of a lawyer's work that I personally thought was insightful and wanted to copy/paste it here:

"I had an epiphany today at work (i'm a fourth year associate): here's what sucks about working at a firm, to meet your hours you pretty much have to work the WHOLE time while you're at work. Day after day, this starts to grind on you and you feel bad about yourself on days you're less efficient--"oh i've been here all day but only billed 4 hours, how??" Anecdotally, I hear that most other jobs aren't like this--rather, you can zone out, chat it up with co-workers, etc. even if you have to be there for a set amount of time."

I think that sums up every lawyer job.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:27 pm

Only those with billable hours.

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fats provolone

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby fats provolone » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:33 pm

having an incentive to be slow and inefficient is one of the most annoying things for me

SFB222

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby SFB222 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:40 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Only those with billable hours.


Yes, correct.

SFB222

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby SFB222 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:45 pm

fats provolone wrote:having an incentive to be slow and inefficient is one of the most annoying things for me


Maybe with doc review. In most cases, I'm expected to do most kinds of work very efficiently. After all, a client doesn't want to pay 2 hours worth for an associate's paragraph long memo to file. Which in this case, if you want to get your hours in AND leave at say 7pm, you're cranking it hard all day long. At least thats how it is as a litigator.

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84651846190

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby 84651846190 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:32 am

9:30 AM: Exit grand central terminal after 79 minute train ride from my heavily mortgaged home in CT.

9:45 AM: Grab coffee and nervously walk past the office door of better looking, more outgoing rainmaker partner. Shoot him a thumbs up in hopes that he will feed me work.

11:00 AM: Read some legal industry publications in desperate hopes for an in-house opportunity, or at least some client development opps I can try to track down.

Noon: Shuffle downstairs and pay $14 for a salad. Return upstairs and open my Chase account on browser. Pay $8K credit card bill I racked up trying to keep up with the Jones. Note the $4.5K automatic monthly deduction for my ex-wife's alimony.

Afternoon: Text my kids. Daughter is a junior at Elon University and has been withdrawing a lot of money at the ATM. I fear she may be developing a cocaine habit. Son is a freshman at Vassar. He is puny, and it is my fault for never being there to teach him sports. Neither kid texts back.

5:30 PM: Train ride back to CT. Pick up a cheap bottle of wine and takeout at the deli near the metro north station. Log into my home office and hope to God that a rainmaker gives me work, or a meteor fortuitously ends it all.

ymmv

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ymmv » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:03 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:9:30 AM: Exit grand central terminal after 79 minute train ride from my heavily mortgaged home in CT.

9:45 AM: Grab coffee and nervously walk past the office door of better looking, more outgoing rainmaker partner. Shoot him a thumbs up in hopes that he will feed me work.

11:00 AM: Read some legal industry publications in desperate hopes for an in-house opportunity, or at least some client development opps I can try to track down.

Noon: Shuffle downstairs and pay $14 for a salad. Return upstairs and open my Chase account on browser. Pay $8K credit card bill I racked up trying to keep up with the Jones. Note the $4.5K automatic monthly deduction for my ex-wife's alimony.

Afternoon: Text my kids. Daughter is a junior at Elon University and has been withdrawing a lot of money at the ATM. I fear she may be developing a cocaine habit. Son is a freshman at Vassar. He is puny, and it is my fault for never being there to teach him sports. Neither kid texts back.

5:30 PM: Train ride back to CT. Pick up a cheap bottle of wine and takeout at the deli near the metro north station. Log into my home office and hope to God that a rainmaker gives me work, or a meteor fortuitously ends it all.


Jesus, dude. Your life reads like a New Wave nightmare sequence.

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Johann

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Johann » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:12 am

Earlier today I was thinking about which lawyers hate their lives the most or appear to. V20s posts pack way more lunch than df or fat duck. He is the real type of miserable. Ifeel for you man, though. Keep plugging away at work and the kids and hopefully one day they'll come around.

Danger Zone

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:30 pm

ymmv wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:9:30 AM: Exit grand central terminal after 79 minute train ride from my heavily mortgaged home in CT.

9:45 AM: Grab coffee and nervously walk past the office door of better looking, more outgoing rainmaker partner. Shoot him a thumbs up in hopes that he will feed me work.

11:00 AM: Read some legal industry publications in desperate hopes for an in-house opportunity, or at least some client development opps I can try to track down.

Noon: Shuffle downstairs and pay $14 for a salad. Return upstairs and open my Chase account on browser. Pay $8K credit card bill I racked up trying to keep up with the Jones. Note the $4.5K automatic monthly deduction for my ex-wife's alimony.

Afternoon: Text my kids. Daughter is a junior at Elon University and has been withdrawing a lot of money at the ATM. I fear she may be developing a cocaine habit. Son is a freshman at Vassar. He is puny, and it is my fault for never being there to teach him sports. Neither kid texts back.

5:30 PM: Train ride back to CT. Pick up a cheap bottle of wine and takeout at the deli near the metro north station. Log into my home office and hope to God that a rainmaker gives me work, or a meteor fortuitously ends it all.


Jesus, dude. Your life reads like a New Wave nightmare sequence.

Methinks this was satire.

ymmv

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ymmv » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:51 pm

Too real if so.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:00 am

PD in a huge market

8:15am - Walk into my office and review the docket to see if anyone is likely to need a public defender
8:30am - Walk to the courtroom and give the PD speech to the unrepresented clients.
8:45am-3pm - Sit in court and play on my phone or read the statute because court is long and boring. If I have clients present I try to get them in and out. If someone wants to sign up for the public defenders I try to tell them not to if the offer is a withhold and court cost.
3:15pm -6:30pm - Office work. Writing motions. Returning calls. Prepare for calendar call.

Very routine.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:37 pm

Lit associate. I have a few general *kinds* of days, most commonly:

1) Days when I have a time-sensitive brief or pleading I'm focusing on. These days usually are longer (anywhere from 11-16 hrs in the office), and I spend the vast majority of my day working on that one thing. If it's a brief, I might be doing a lot of legal research, if it's a pleading, I'll be doing more fact/news-based research if the subject requires it, including a lot of time poring over SEC filings if required. My firm is pretty good about clearing my plate if there's something huge and immediate I need to get done, which is nice -- they tend to manage firm workflow.

2) Days when I have a bunch of miscellaneous items -- any combination of tasks like draft a subpoena for one of my cases, do a quick one-off research question for a partner on a case I'm not assigned to, draft a letter to opposing counsel, participate in a strategy call on a case, maybe a couple hours on a brief that's not due for a long time, a cursory examination of a potential new matter, etc. Sometimes these days are jam-packed, sometimes they're light and I do a lot of web goofing off in between, just depends how busy I am.

3) Days when I'm heavily document review focused, especially if under expedited review.

4) Occasionally, I spend half or all of the day at a deposition, or at court, or at a mediation.

That's pretty much it. Once in a long while I also have a meeting with a client or potential client or an expert or something like that.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:34 pm

Briney Spring Gun wrote:Any antitrust attorneys care to chime in?


I'm an antitrust attorney outside of DC. Most of my cases are litigation, but our clients also come to us when they have a merger that will need filings and review (particularly if it's more likely to be challenged). When I work on a merger my days are probably more similar to those of an M&A attorney in terms of the pace and nature of the work. The litigation work is very similar to that of other litigators, particularly those who do class actions or other complex work. The common thing between them is the antitrust law and the questions that it generates. Because this thread gives people a pretty good idea of what litigators and M&A attorneys days are like, I'll focus on the areas that are specific to antitrust.

A day where I do a lot of antitrust related work looks like this:

9 AM: Get in to the office, read e-mails and news. Respond to messages from others in the joint defense group (almost all of our cases have multiple defendants who are generally cooperative).

9:30: Review key documents from client's business regarding pricing and strategy concerns. Prepare questions related to them and call client contact to discuss issues. Understanding our client's business, particularly how it prices, is usually the most important issue in making our case.

11:00: Review expert report in light of the conversation I just had with client. Review for any areas of inconsistency or any arguments that were missed.

12:30: Grab lunch and eat at my desk

1:00: Call expert's supporting consulting firm to review comments on the draft. Give some suggestions for further work that can be done or other ways to improve the analysis.

2:00: Work on draft of motion or white paper. This essentially combines the findings from the economic expert with legal precedent.

5:00: Joint defense call to discuss draft . The draft is based on a common outline, but attorneys representing various parties are drafting different sections.

6:00: Consider whether I can go home for dinner. Most nights I can, but if a big deadline is looming I might be in the office until 8 or 9 it's far more likely that I'm able to go home if I'm working on litigation than if I'm doing merger work. I might work from home after dinner but it's not usually necessary.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Briney Spring Gun wrote:Any antitrust attorneys care to chime in?


I'm an antitrust attorney outside of DC. Most of my cases are litigation, but our clients also come to us when they have a merger that will need filings and review (particularly if it's more likely to be challenged). When I work on a merger my days are probably more similar to those of an M&A attorney in terms of the pace and nature of the work. The litigation work is very similar to that of other litigators, particularly those who do class actions or other complex work. The common thing between them is the antitrust law and the questions that it generates. Because this thread gives people a pretty good idea of what litigators and M&A attorneys days are like, I'll focus on the areas that are specific to antitrust.

A day where I do a lot of antitrust related work looks like this:

9 AM: Get in to the office, read e-mails and news. Respond to messages from others in the joint defense group (almost all of our cases have multiple defendants who are generally cooperative).

9:30: Review key documents from client's business regarding pricing and strategy concerns. Prepare questions related to them and call client contact to discuss issues. Understanding our client's business, particularly how it prices, is usually the most important issue in making our case.

11:00: Review expert report in light of the conversation I just had with client. Review for any areas of inconsistency or any arguments that were missed.

12:30: Grab lunch and eat at my desk

1:00: Call expert's supporting consulting firm to review comments on the draft. Give some suggestions for further work that can be done or other ways to improve the analysis.

2:00: Work on draft of motion or white paper. This essentially combines the findings from the economic expert with legal precedent.

5:00: Joint defense call to discuss draft . The draft is based on a common outline, but attorneys representing various parties are drafting different sections.

6:00: Consider whether I can go home for dinner. Most nights I can, but if a big deadline is looming I might be in the office until 8 or 9 it's far more likely that I'm able to go home if I'm working on litigation than if I'm doing merger work. I might work from home after dinner but it's not usually necessary.


Thanks for responding! I presume this is another major market (NY?) - do you have a sense of whether things are crazier for DC antitrust? Going to one of the DC antitrust shops this summer, so very interested if there's differences in hours-sanity doing the same underlying stuff in different markets.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for responding! I presume this is another major market (NY?) - do you have a sense of whether things are crazier for DC antitrust? Going to one of the DC antitrust shops this summer, so very interested if there's differences in hours-sanity doing the same underlying stuff in different markets.

Nothing particularly special about the hours in DC. If you are going to a big firm they will probably expect long hours out of associates (probably longer than I indicated in my post). But as a summer you won't have the same expectations.

DC work is more government focused, but as a junior in an antitrust practice I think your role tends to be similar. You are the on the ground person for helping to research and compile issues relating to your client's facts and the law. Government investigations are a little less formal on the legal side in terms of the writing that you might do. You might do a traditional legal memo, but it probably will not go to the government it will be for your boss(es) to review in preparing for negotiations with government attorneys.

DC practices can also do a lot of M&A work. Really depends on the firm though.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Jaymore » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:11 am

I know I'm like the billionth prosecutor to post here, but here goes.

There is not really a "typical" day. Usually get in at around 8:00, leave at around 5:00, take the full hour for lunch. This is what its like in an average week. If I don't have anything on calendar that day, I fill in the slots with the other stuff you see. Sometimes calendar takes longer if its a motion hearing or something complicated.
6:30: Wake up. SSS, drink a cup of tea, meditate.
7:30: Leave the house.
7:45-9:00: Arrive at work. Shoot the shit with my co-workers, prepare coffee, prep for the morning and afternoon calendar
9:00-9:30/10:00: Morning calendar (usually arraignments and bail hearings)
10:00-12:00: Prep charging documents, prepare cases, respond to motions, i.e. paperwork.
12:00 - 1:00: Lunch. Usually something I prepare, although there is good Thai food across the street that tempts me sometimes.
1:00-1:30: Prep for afternoon calendar (if there is one)
1:30-2 or 2:30: Afternoon calendar (usually case management conferences and some bail hearings as well.)
2:00/2:30-4:30: Prep for upcoming trials, meet with police officers to discuss case files, meet with witnesses/victims, work on pleas, meet with defense attorneys etc.
4:30-5:15: Prep for tomorrows morning calendar, shoot the shit with my co-workers, check e-mail.
5:30: Home.

Occasionally extra-curricular activities, like being sent to a crime scene or an autopsy. Autopsies usually take place at midnight here, don't know why. And if you are on call you will get called to crime scenes at ungodly hours in the morning.

I like paperwork in the morning and more active stuff in the afternoon. It works for me.

Sometimes there is a bit more work, but nothing too extreme. The most I've worked was when I had three major jury trials in five weeks, all while handling the full traffic docket. Five straight 70-80 hour work weeks. Made me glad I didn't go big-law.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:57 pm

Immigration Attorney focusing on removal defense and family based immigration. Big NE market - 15 attorney firm.

9:00 - Check my e-mail/messages
9:30 - Look at my client list, make sure that no deadlines (RFE's, call-up dates, trials) are coming up
10:30 - Work on an affidavit - drafting affidavits is a huge part of immigration practice
12:30 - Grab lunch
1:30 - Continue preparing affidavit or draft motions (motion to change venue, motion to advance, etc).
3:30 - Meeting with the boss/discuss case strategy
4:30 - Misc. work (draft motion, draft affidavit, draft pre-hearing brief)
7:00 - Go home

I would say this is a typical day. However, if an appeal is due or a trial is coming up, all of my attention shifts to the appeal or trial.

On average I work 9:00-7:30 although it would not be uncommon to stay until 8-9 when a deadline is coming up. Hope this helps someone out there.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:53 pm

DC Biglaw. International. Associate.

International work, even top-tier international work, isn't sexy. Generally, there's regulatory work, policy work, and advocacy work.

The majority of regulatory work deals with export restrictions (e.g., U.S. company can't sell missile parts to Iran), customs (e.g., how much of a fee will an importer pay for brining olive oil into U.S.), and sanctions (e.g., don't sell so-and-so to Russia because of what they're doing in Ukraine). Generally, the regulatory work is either preventative (e.g., helping to set up a compliance program) or remedial (e.g., helping a company tell the U.S. Government it accidently violated a regulation).

The policy work is lobbying on behalf of someone who wants trade law changed, enforced in a certain way, clarified, etc.

The advocacy work deals with disputes between two private entities, two sovereigns, or a sovereign and a private entity. Then there is also pro bono advocacy work (e.g., helping a potential refugee complete and file the appropriate paperwork).

The lines between these areas can blur. For instance, advocacy often involves policy work and an understanding of the regulations.

What does my typical day look like? Too boring to even write. I work 8-14 hour days 5-6 days/week. I spend 95% of my time in front of a computer and 4.9% of my time interacting w/ other attorneys, and .1% of my time interacting w/ clients. My daydreams mostly involve defaulting on my student loans and finding a job where I'm not at a desk.



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