Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

Choulos & Wyle Victorious For Veteran


Advocate Capital, Inc. client Choulos, Choulos & WyleAdvocate Capital would like to congratulate longtime colleagues George Choulos and Claude Wyle on a recent jury verdict in the San Francisco Superior Court.


The Plaintiff is an Iraqi war veteran, who previously suffered serious back injuries in Iraq and who had come to the Bay Area to attend Hastings Law School.  Plaintiff’s attempt to put his life back together following his injury in the service of our country was interrupted by a tragic bicycle collision.  While commuting to school, Plaintiff was knocked off his bicycle when his handle bar was clipped by the passenger side mirror of a Lexus passing too closely.  The Defendant, a retired railroad lawyer, claimed he never saw the Plaintiff and that the Plaintiff must have done something wrong to cause the collision.


The trial was memorable for three reasons:


  1. The meds paid by Tri-Care were only $30,000, although the gross meds were about $180,000. Because Plaintiff was a student, there was no wage loss. Defense increased their offer from a waiver of costs to $27,500, only after two hard fought hours at a settlement conference. The offer was never formally increased thereafter.


  1. Liability was vehemently contested. The defense made many harsh, nasty personal attacks on the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel.  The Defense conduct was deplorable – screaming in chambers, during cross-examination and everywhere else.  The defense’s closing mentioned George by name five times, accusing him and the Plaintiff of lying and trying to cover up other injuries that were actually unrelated.  Despite the defense tantrums, George, always the consummate trial lawyer, maintained his composure and did not stoop to the sophomoric antics of the defense. The plaintiff maintained his dignity throughout the attacks, and behaved like the truly strong man that he is.


  1. San Francisco Judge Robertson struck 10 potential jurors for cause because of their dislike for bicycle riders. In San Francisco, most motorists do not like to share the road with bicycle riders and these same motorists are usually bad jurors for bicyclist plaintiffs. The Court’s integrity in empaneling a fair and impartial jury contributed to an award of $373,000, less 33% for comparative fault. The award was approx. $320,000 for general damages, plus some funds for a future surgery for the Iraqi war veteran, and for some loss of household services.


Choulos, Choulos & Wyle handle all types of catastrophic injury cases, but the firm is particularly renowned for its success in handling motorcycle and bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and brain injury claims.


All of us here at Advocate Capital, Inc. applaud George Choulos and Claude Wyle for their victory on behalf of this injured veteran AND thank them for keeping the streets safer for all of us.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


CFPB Proposes Rule to Restore Consumers’ Right to Sue Banks


Copyright : Alexander KharchenkoIn a recent New York Times article, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery report that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing a rule that “would restore customers’ rights to bring class-action lawsuits against financial firms, giving Americans major new protections and delivering a serious blow to Wall Street that could cost the industry billions of dollars.”


The proposed rule would apply to most consumer interactions with banks such as bank accounts, credit cards, and other consumer loans and seems likely to go into effect since it does not require congressional approval.


The new rule by the CFPB “will unravel a set of audacious legal maneuvers by corporate America that has prevented customers from using the court system to challenge potentially deceitful banking practices.”


Over the past few decades, banks, credit card companies, and other lenders have used the fine print in their agreements to prohibit customers from accessing the court system and forced them into arbitration on a solo basis. “Without the ability to pool resources, most people abandon their claims and never make it to arbitration.”


The new rules would prohibit this language in contracts and would mean that lenders could not force customers into arbitration. The changes would not apply to existing accounts, “though consumers would be free to pay off their old loans and open new accounts that are covered.”


Legal experts are predicting that the new rules would ostensibly end arbitration.


Which we think would be a good thing.


The full article can be read here.


The proposed rule can be seen here.


Photo Credit: Alexander Kharchenko

Friedlander Dinner for AAJ Nursing Home Group


Advocate Capital Inc. client Bill Friedlander AAJ Nursing Home Group Dinner We were honored to welcome to our hometown of Nashville the American Association of Justice Nursing Home Litigation Group for their annual meeting last week.


Our longtime friend and client Bill Friedlander hosted the opening night dinner at The Vine.


Advocate Capital, Inc. is a longtime supporter of AAJ and the important work they do on behalf of trial lawyers around the country.



The American Association of Justice is the world’s largest trial bar and its mission is noble:


                    Promote accountability and safety

                    Advocate for the civil justice system

                    Enhance the practice of law

                    Improve our communities


The attorney members of the Nursing Home Group who dedicate themselves to the protection of our seniors and holding facilities accountable for elder abuse are very passionate about the work they do.


Thank you for allowing my colleague Tina Burns, our CEO Mike Swanson, and me to share a wonderful evening here in Music City.


Check out the photo albums on Facebook and Google + and tag your friends and colleagues!


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Employees Enjoy a Night at the Old Ballgame


Advocate Capital Inc. Nashville Sounds game

On Tuesday, May 17, Advocate Capital, Inc. employees enjoyed a Nashville Sounds baseball game at First Tennessee Park for the May employee appreciation event. Employees, local and remote, gathered together on the Bud Patio Deck with their families to watch the game and enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork.


The evening was filled with socializing, laughter and a special Human Cannonball act after the game. The Sounds finished with a 2-1 win over the Fresno Grizzlies to sweep the series!


View photos from the event in our Facebook and Google+ albums.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Brianne Thomas – Part 2 of 2 – So Many Ways to Serve


In Part 2 of Mr. Swanson’s interview with Brianne Thomas of Boyd Kenter Thomas & Parrish, LLC, she discusses some of the non-profit organizations that she volunteers for and how they provide for the community.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Now Hiring: Marketing Coordinator


Copyright : Yong Hian LimAdvocate Capital, Inc. is currently recruiting for a new Marketing Coordinator to add to our MetroCenter (Nashville, TN) office.


A successful candidate will offer administrative support to our Marketing Department including database maintenance, email and direct mail campaigns, market research, tradeshow and other events coordination, video shoot coordination, etc.



If you are interested, please submit your resume for consideration to


You can view the job posting on LinkedIn here:


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Yong Hian Lim

Time to Give Your Law Firm a Financial Spring Cleaning


Copyright : Kelly RichardsonI read a very good article on the Entrepreneur website today. It has a few practical tips on giving a small business a “financial spring cleaning”.


In the article, Lisa Stevens shares three excellent ideas that apply to all small businesses, and also to most law firms. From taxes to cash flow to a business plan, Ms. Stevens touches on some important topics.


Click here to read the article.



Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


Photo Credit: Kelly Richardson

5 Website Mistakes You Might Be Making


Copyright : Gunnar PippelYour law firm’s website is probably the most important marketing piece you have. This is where potential clients come to learn about you, where your firm is located, and anything else necessary in persuading them to use your services. A good website has a great flow and keeps viewers exploring. Now is the best time to take a look at your website and see if it is doing just that.


In Bigger Law Firm’s article, “5 Website Mistakes to Avoid,” author, Kristen Friend, offers examples of what to do and what not to do related to website marketing. Each of these tips cover everything from content to audio and visuals. The key is to entice viewers and keep them wanting to learn more. Make sure your firm’s website isn’t making these mistakes.


To read the full article, click here!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Gunnar Pippel

7 Best Marketing Tips from Law Firm Marketing Experts


Copyright : Diana Johanna VelasquezThere are a variety of marketing how-to’s and articles out there to help your business stick out among the competition, but it can be a bit overwhelming weeding through the information to discover what is best for your law firm. For instance, marketing for you looks completely different than say an online retail company’s marketing tactics.


That’s why Law Fuel recently published an article titled, “The #1 Law Marketing Tip This Year From 7 Top Law Firm Marketing Gurus.”


In this article, some of the best in the business give their expert tips on law firm marketing best practices. Everything from SEO to blogging to webinars is discussed. If you’re curious who these experts are, you can read a brief bio of each before they give their tips. To read all seven tips, click the article here!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Diana Johanna Velasquez

Brianne Thomas – Part 1 of 2 – Leadership Roles


Be sure to watch Part 1 of Mr. Swanson’s interview with Brianne Thomas of Boyd, Kenter, Thomas & Parrish, LLC, as she shares how having leadership roles in several organizations helps her serve her clients.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Consumer Advocates Hopeful CFPB Rule Will Restrict Forced Arbitration


Copyright : Ioulia BolchakovaA recent article from Attorney Paul Samakow on Communities Digital News reports on Thursday, May 5, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new rules that “would allow consumers to file class action lawsuits against financial companies.” Without this new rule, “consumers with disputes against financial companies” will still be “required to sign arbitration agreements with those organizations that bar them from participating in class action lawsuits.”


The new rule, according to the agency “will also require companies to report arbitration results to the agency, making it easier for regulators and consumer groups to spot bias and other trends that would be harmful to consumers.” What happens next? The proposed rule will go through a 90-day public comment period, in which  afterwards a final rule will be drafted and reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. Once approved, we are hopeful that this ruling will “finally level the playing field between consumers and financial companies.”


Read the full article, “Proposed CFPB rule: A partial end to forced arbitration.”


Photo Credit: Ioulia Bolchakova



Best Practices on Tidying Up Your Practice


Copyright : thodonalOne of the most frustrating inhibitors of productivity is clutter. Whether that be an email inbox overload or an array of sticky notes waiting to be organized, everyone experiences it in some way or another.


The good news is fixing the clutter is in your control, and can be eliminated with just a few simple actions.


In an article published by Attorney at Work titled, “Clean It Up! Tech Tips for Tidying Up Your Practice,” five tips are given to help you get started and get back to being productive. The great thing about these tips is they don’t cost a lot of money (many don’t cost anything), and they are simple and easy to follow. You’ll find great insight on everything from how to make stress-reducing changes to decluttering your email inbox.


To read the full article and tips, click here!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: thodonal

Intuit Support for QuickBooks® 2013 Expires May 31, 2016


Copyright : alexmillosIf you’re using QuickBooks® 2013 Desktop versions, you’re likely receiving notices from QuickBooks® that support for 2013 versions is about to expire.


As the QuickBooks® team works to meet the ever changing organizational and technological needs of its customers and improve functionality and organization, support for older versions is discontinued. QuickBooks® 2013 desktop versions will no longer be able to access features such as Online Banking or other QuickBooks® services such as Payroll, Payments and live technical support after May 31, 2016.


If you use those features, you’ll need to upgrade to 2016 to continue your support and access those features. Upgrading to a newer version can be a little scary, but be brave! The enhancements are usually well worth the time invested in upgrading. For a peak at what’s new for 2016, click here to view a thorough explanation and illustration provided by Charlie Russell of The Sleeter Group.


If you’ve been thinking about transitioning to QuickBooks® Online, click here to get an idea about QuickBooks® Online pricing and to compare Online vs Desktop features.


As a reminder, Advocate Capital, Inc. clients enjoy a special pricing on QuickBooks® products and upgrades. If you’re considering upgrading to a new and improved version of QuickBooks®, contact your Account Manager to take advantage of the discounted pricing.


Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services


Photo Credit: alexmillos

How to Run Your Law Firm 24 Hours a Day


Copyright : Timur ArbaevWouldn’t it be truly amazing to put in a 9 to 5 workday, but get results as if you were open 24 hours a day? This is all possible for your law firm when you out-source certain work areas. By creating your team of “Superstars,” you will be able to get even better results for your clients.


In his article titled, “The 24-Hour a Day Law Firm,” Attorney John Fisher of John H. Fisher, P.C. lists out great resources for running your plaintiff law firm. These are the very best vendors for everything from Web/Graphic Design to Case Expense Funding.


To see the full list of “Superstar” vendors and to read the entire article, click here!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Timur Arbaev

Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Team Hope Volunteers at Nashville Rescue Mission


Nashville Rescue Mission Team Hope 2016


On Friday, April 29th, Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Team Hope helped serve lunch at the Women and Children’s Campus of Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission serves men, women and children in the Nashville community who are in need of refuge, safety, and healing. Team Hope had the privilege of helping this great organization by serving lunch and cleaning up afterwards. A total of 71 lunches were served!


We would like to thank all of our employees who volunteered:


David Alford

Jaime Bruder

Billie Hardison

Ashley Harrison

Sarah Hazlewood

Todd Jackson

Shirley Johnson

Donna Jones

Michelle Rigsby

Cindy Sharp

Michelle Simms

Mike Swanson


To learn more about Nashville Rescue Mission, and to make a donation, click here!


View more photos in our Facebook and Google+ albums.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Sean Claggett Secures $13MM Verdict Against Lowe’s Home Centers


Advocate Capital Inc. client Sean ClaggettSean Claggett of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm successfully represented a Las Vegas woman seriously injured in a slip and fall in the garden center of a Las Vegas Lowe’s Store. The victim, a mother of three, fell after slipping on a “slimy, wet substance.” The fall caused the woman to suffer a fractured skull, resulting in brain damage and ultimately permanent loss of her sense of smell and taste.


Counsel for Lowe’s questioned the severity of the victim’s injuries and claimed the plaintiff should have seen the yellow safety cone. Mr. Claggett argued Lowe’s had a history of falls at their stores (28 among the 13 local stores for the time period in question), should have installed drains or changed their watering procedures, and that the yellow safety cone was not in plain sight.  In addition, he reminded the jury that a Lowe’s employee erased the video surveillance tape that might have captured the plaintiff’s fall.


The jury denied the plaintiff’s request for punitive damages but found Lowe’s to be 80% negligent, awarding the victim $13.14MM for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering. Defendant Lowe’s will also be responsible for the plaintiff’s attorney fees.


When asked about the verdict, Mr. Claggett shared:


This jury says, ‘Well, if you hurt one of our community citizens, you will pay, and you’re not going to get away with it.’ Hopefully, this was enough of a message that they’re going to change their policy.


The Claggett & Sykes Law Firm represents plaintiffs in substantial personal injury and products liability cases. Mr. Claggett attended the Boyd School of Law at UNLV where he currently teaches Law Practice Management. Sean is also a faculty member of the prestigious Keenan Ball Trial College, where he instructs other top trial attorneys from around the country.


Advocate Capital, Inc. congratulates the victim, Mr. Claggett and his team at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm on this outstanding example of justice served.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Judge Ramon Garcia Receives Urban County 2016 Leadership Award


Advocate Capital Inc. friend Judge Ramon GarciaCongratulations to long-time friend, Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia who was recently honored by the Texas Urban County League members with the 2016 Leadership Award.


The Texas Conference of Urban Counties facilitates communication and collaboration among the member counties, advocating and advancing the programs and issues of the State of Texas that impact and affect urban counties.


Judge Garcia currently serves the people of Hidalgo County in his third term as Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Hidalgo, Texas. Judge Garcia has spent a life-time advocating for the people of Texas in a vast range of leadership roles.


Having practiced law for nearly 45 years, Judge Garcia is licensed to practice law in all Texas courts, including U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuity, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Garcia and his team at The Law Office of Ramon Garcia, P. C.  have been vigorously advocating for consumer rights and those who have been injured for decades.


Please join us in congratulating Judge Garcia, a true gentleman who has dedicated his career to the service and advancement of the people of Texas!


Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services


Nashville Client Rocky McElhaney


I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm as they celebrate being named one the 2016 Best Places to Work by the Nashville Business Journal…for THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW!


Advocate Capital Inc. client Rocky McElhaney 2016 Best Places to Work


Rocky and his firm joined our family of clients late last year and we could not be happier or prouder to have them aboard. Not only is Rocky a Nashville hometown favorite, he and his firm are incredibly passionate for the clients they represent. This passion and advocacy clearly spills over to his dedicated staff and how they collectively sing Rocky’s praises. Read all about it here.


Congratulations to our valued client Rocky McElhaney and his entire staff on this three-peat accomplishment…a dynasty for sure!


Jeff Glueck
Vice President, Business Development



Meet Advocate Capital Inc. Client Craig Carlson


Watch as President and CEO Michael J. Swanson interviews Attorney Craig Carlson of The Carlson Law Firm about his experience with Advocate Capital, Inc.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Washing Away the Winter Blues


April Employee Appreciation Car Wash and Brisket


On Friday, April 15 (usually tax day!), the Accounting and Operations Department hosted the April Employee Event. Employees parked at the back of the parking lot and dropped off their keys at the front desk noting their name and vehicle make and model. From 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Bulldog Mobile Detailing cleaned and shined twenty five employee vehicles. On Saturday, one employee was asked by a friend, “Did you get a new car?” Great job, Bulldog Mobile Detailing!


At 11:30 a.m., Music City Brisket started serving employees brisket and fish sandwiches as well as fish, shrimp or brisket tacos. Employees chose from sides of fries (sweet potato, Cajun, avocado and regular) and salad. Billie Hardison said, “That was the best fish sandwich I have ever had!” The lemonade cream pie dessert was also a hit.


Music City Brisket served all employees by noon allowing the entire team to celebrate together in the training room. “That was quick and so much faster than the last food truck,” said one employee. Fantastic service, Music City Brisket!


While employees ate, the Accounting and Operations team distributed goodie bags of microfiber towels, cleaning wipes and an Advocate Capital branded air fresher. Nice end to a perfect week – clean car, full stomachs and team building.


View photos from the event in our Facebook and Google+ albums.


Mary Berst

Director of Finance and Administration


AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc. Nominations Now Open


As seen on MarketWatch, The Street and Yahoo! Finance.


AAJ / Advocate Capital, Inc. Paralegal of the Year AwardFor the fifth year, Advocate Capital, Inc. is sponsoring the AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award. We hope that this award continues to bring well deserved attention to the crucial role that paralegals play in our civil justice system.


The AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc. is presented to a paralegal that has consistently demonstrated knowledge of the law, perseverance in their cases and to their attorneys’ clients, superior paralegal skills and whose commitment and overall attitude is an inspiration to other paralegals. Judging criteria is based on a candidate’s commitment to the paralegal community, continuing legal education and their community through volunteering. Any Paralegal Affiliate of AAJ who has been a member for at least one year is eligible for nomination. A candidate must be nominated by an AAJ Attorney Member in good standing or by another AAJ Paralegal Affiliate. The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 27.


(Download the 2016 Paralegal of the Year Award nomination form)


The 2016 Paralegal of the Year Award recipient receives free airfare, hotel and registration to AAJ’s 2016 Annual Convention in Los Angeles, Calif., on July 22-25.


If you know someone who fulfills these criteria, please submit your nomination via email to Mary Skinner, co-chair of the Paralegal Affiliates, at


Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide. They serve the plaintiff bar from their headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., and now enjoy a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit


Law Firm Marketing Conference in June


ROI2016Have you registered for the 2016 Radius of Influence (ROI2016) annual conference in Clearwater, Florida coming up in June?


ROI2016 is a great annual marketing that combines education, networking and community service. This conference is filled with top notch speakers, breakout sessions offering practical tips to use in the real world and networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders.


Some of the speakers for this year’s conference are:


Garrett M. Graff, former editor of POLITICO

Lauren Davenport, Founder & CEO of Symphoni Media

Joe Devine, CEO of Cloud 8 Sixteen, Inc.


(View the full 2016 Radius of Influence brochure)


We recommend ROI2016 for anyone looking to grow their firm.


If you do attend, be sure to look for our President and CEO Michael J. Swanson, who will be in attendance.


Don’t miss out! Register online today!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Advocate Capital, Inc. Offers Free Month Promotion for New and Renewed Public Justice Foundation Members


As seen on Yahoo! Finance, Reuters and Market Watch.


Advocate Capital, Inc.PJ-Phonathon-Logo-Blog announced they will pay the first month dues for individuals who sign up for monthly Public Justice Foundation memberships with the “Whigs” team prior to the 2016 Public Justice ‘Super Thursday’ Phonathon. The free month will also apply to existing members who renew before Friday, May 6th.


‘Super Thursday’ will take place on Thursday, May 5th in Washington, DC with two teams trying to acquire the most new and renewed memberships. The “Whigs” team, joined by Advocate Capital’s President and CEO Michael J. Swanson, is utilizing the remaining time prior to the Phonathon to sign up as many members with this promotion and outperform the other team, the “Federalists.”


“At Advocate Capital, we believe in the important work done by plaintiff’s lawyers in their communities and by Public Justice nationwide.  It is our privilege to donate some of our time and resources to help increase the membership for Public Justice,” said Swanson.


Public Justice members receive full access to a monthly Speaker Series – educational webinars designed to help them advance their practices, while earning CLE credits. Past topics include using social media to enhance a law firm and representing whistleblowers in qui tam cases. Members can also access past educational sessions in the “Members Only” section of the Public Justice website.  For more information on the Speaker Series, click here.


To receive your free month, call Advocate Capital, Inc. toll free at 877-894-9724 or send an email to including a phone number and preferred times to be contacted. A credit card and preferred monthly membership level information are required at time of renewal.


The Public Justice Foundation is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable membership organization that supports Public Justice’s cutting-edge litigation and educates the public about the critical issues it addresses. Our membership includes leading trial lawyers, appellate lawyers, consumer advocates, environmental attorneys, employment lawyers, civil rights attorneys, class action specialists, law professors, law students, public interest advocates, and other people who care about justice. For more information about the Public Justice Foundation, visit


Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide. They serve the plaintiff bar from their headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. and now enjoy a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit


Free Law Firm Lead Conversion Webinar


Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, will present a free one-hour webinar — Top 10 Ways to Drastically Increase Lead Conversion — on Wednesday, May 11th at 11:00 AM PST, 2:00 PM EST.


Rainmaker webinarDuring the webinar, Stephen will offer informative content on how personal injury and plaintiff law firms can improve their intake and lead conversion rate, quickly and economically. Because of the relationship The Rainmaker Institute has with Advocate Capital, Inc., this webinar is free of charge for all attendees!


Join Stephen and discover:


  • Mistakes attorneys make with their intake
  • Hot to cold lead timeframe
  • Setting goals for that first call
  • 7 strategies to convert leads into appointments
  • 3 ways to get leads to sign up fast
  • Case study of a law firm that tripled their conversion rate in 90 days
  • The who, when, and how of following up with leads


Claim your spot now! You can register by clicking here.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in lead conversion for small to medium size law firms. Over 18,000 attorneys nationwide have benefited from learning and implementing the proven marketing and lead conversion strategies taught by The Rainmaker Institute.


Social Media Marketing for Law Firms


Be sure to watch President and CEO Michael J. Swanson‘s interview with Seattle based Attorney Matthew Dubin of the Law Offices of Matthew D. Dubin featured on Law Practice Channel. Attorney Dubin shares a few tips for lawyers to better market their firm on Facebook.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Case Expense Financing at a Net Cost of Less Than 1%*

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