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There’s nothing subtle about Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. Visitors discover this when they’re greeted by a sign-”Quinn Emanuel-Trial Lawyers”-in the lobby of the firm’s main office in downtown Los Angeles. Its message: We are not your usual big-firm litigators who don’t know their way around a courtroom. The firm’s reception area also makes a statement: We’re not stuffy. With its espresso coffee bar, a flat screen television tuned to a sports channel, and flashy tropical fish cruising in two oversize aquariums, a guest might think she stepped into a wealthy frat house rec room. On one March morning, most of the people milling about the area and slumped in chairs watching TV are dressed in jeans and T-shirts, including one silk-screened with Charles Manson’s face. It’s impossible to tell messengers from lawyers. The person wearing the Manson T-shirt is partner Patrick Shields, 31, a former Harvard Law Review editor. In warmer weather most folks opt for shorts and flip-flops. Down the hall, the office of managing partner John Quinn is comfortably messy, crammed with family pictures and mementos. Quinn had expected to be in trial this day, but the case-a high-stakes patent dispute for Monsanto Company over a bovine growth hormone-settled at the last minute. Lean and wiry, the 54-year-old lawyer perches on the edge of his chair like a terrier pausing before a burst of activity. He gets right to the point: “We want to be the preeminent business litigation firm. We’ve been saying that for a long time before we could credibly make the claim. Now there’s some credibility to the claim.” Quinn holds up a yellowed copy of a full-page ad the firm placed in The Wall Street Journal last September celebrating its victories. “Once in a lifetime results. Year after year,” it proclaims. In smaller print, the firm boasts that it has won more nine-figure verdicts than any other law firm in America. A large ad in the Burbank airport similarly touts the firm’s trial success with remarkable, if questionable, precision. “Justice may be blind, but she still sees it our way 92.3 percent of the time,” it reads. Adds Quinn: “We try more business cases than any other firm in the country.” Close, but not quite. Jones Day, in fact, tries more business cases, according to our Litigation Department of the Year submissions. Still, Quinn Emanuel isn’t far behind, which is pretty impressive given that Quinn Emanuel, with 244 lawyers, has a fraction of Jones Day’s 1,000-plus litigators. Without a doubt, Quinn Emanuel is one of the boldest firms among the ranks of The Am Law 200-and one of the most profitable. Average partner compensation in 2005 was $1.65 million, making it the most lucrative firm outside of New York. Fed a diet of contingency fee cases and regular hourly work, revenue jumped more than 20 percent for the third straight year, to $193.5 million. With four offices in California, it’s mostly been known as a quirky West Coast litigation firm; but it’s now taking on New York. The firm is attracting noticeable lateral partners there, such as Stephen Neuwirth from Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and Faith Gay and Robert Raskopf from White & Case, who all joined the Manhattan group this year. This summer it will move into a bigger New York office, with space for 100 lawyers. Quinn Emanuel’s model is at once simple and radical: all litigation all the time, with an emphasis on taking cases to trial. That means no corporate. No tax. No real estate. No structured finance. Even competitor Boies, Schiller has a corporate department to help feed the litigators. Can a big firm thrive with such a single-minded focus? So far, yes. The firm’s clients include International Business Machines Corporation, Shell Oil Company, American International Group, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and General Motors Corporation. Its caseload ranges from high-stakes intellectual property disputes to major insurance and antitrust matters to a monster of a case brought in the wake of the collapse of the Italian dairy conglomerate Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A. “They are what they claim to be,” says Donald Rosenberg, senior vice president and general counsel of IBM, which is the firm’s biggest client. “They say they’re trial lawyers, and they are. You can depend on the fact that these guys will have been in the courtroom multiple times.” IBM has worked with Quinn Emanuel for ten years on cases ranging from employment to patent to product defect class actions, and it uses the firm as its main counsel in California. Yet many still see the firm as a fringe player. A well-known litigator at a national firm said he’d never heard of Quinn Emanuel when he went up against it in 2004 in a case that is pending. When asked about Quinn Emanuel, a prominent partner at another litigation powerhouse joked, “Do they have to pass the bar there?” Laugh all you want, but these guys are probably cold-calling your clients right now. John Quinn vividly remembers his days as a struggling lawyer. In 1979, three years out of law school, he boldly set out to start his own practice in Los Angeles. He and a colleague worked from a small suite of offices in a generic office complex. Quinn had great credentials. He had been an editor of the Harvard Law Review and an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore before he decided to move to the West Coast. But he couldn’t find enough work to keep busy. Before he knew it, he’d tumbled from the heights of the legal establishment to one of its cobwebbed corners. “I thought my career had taken a detour for the worse,” he recalls. Admitting failure, he slunk back to a midsize firm, opening a one-room Los Angeles office for New York’s Reboul, MacMurray, Hewitt, Maynard & Kristol. But Quinn is a general, not a soldier. In 1986 he and three other lawyers-Eric Emanuel, David Quinto, and Phyllis Kupferstein-took another stab at starting a firm. “We were very naive,” says Emanuel, 54. For one thing, the partners didn’t withhold enough for their income taxes the first year, and Emanuel had to get a cash advance from his credit card to pay the government. To drum up business, Quinn and his partners went door-to-door making cold calls to potential litigation clients. Give us a case, they said. We’ll do it better than your current lawyers-and cheaper. Most companies rejected the entreaties. Still, Quinn and his partners brought in enough business-from clients like Mattel, Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corporation-to keep the new firm afloat. At that time the firm specialized in mundane employment matters, charging barely more than insurance defense rates. But, from the start, Quinn set his sights higher, says Emanuel: “He once said to me-when we were in a building with a view of the dumpster-he said, ‘I want to be the go-to firm when someone needs the best.’ That was when we were nothing-when we were shabby-looking!” Today Quinn Emanuel increasingly focuses on high-stakes cases, especially those heading to trial. (It still takes some lower- margin cases, often at a discount, to give young lawyers experience.) This April, San Francisco partner Charles Verhoeven won a defense verdict for RealNetworks, Inc., in a patent infringement case in Boston federal court against plaintiffs seeking more than $200 million. In the Monsanto bovine growth hormone case, which Quinn was preparing for trial, the University of California wanted $600 million from Monsanto and an injunction. Quinn was hired a year after the case was filed, replacing Howrey. In the end the university claimed victory. The settlement, negotiated by the company’s in-house lawyers, requires Monsanto to pay $100 million, plus future royalties that could total another $100 million. Another major matter, defending Micron Technology, Inc., in an antitrust suit by Rambus Inc., came into the office through a cold call. When a partner and an associate noticed that the company had been sued, they sent an e-mail to an in-house lawyer, suggesting they talk. A major client, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hired Quinn after seeing him on the other side of a dispute-representing The Walt Disney Company in a fight over the Academy’s use of Snow White in a bawdy sketch with actor Rob Lowe in 1989. Today, Quinn is the Academy’s outside general counsel. While the bulk of Quinn Emanuel’s revenue comes from defense work-and half its caseload is intellectual property-it’s the firm’s plaintiffs verdicts that attract the most attention. Last year a team led by Los Angeles partners William Price and Christopher Tayback won a $128 million verdict in a patent case for Freedom Wireless Inc., which holds a patent on technology used to process prepaid cell phone calls. In 2003 Quinn and Price got a $290 million verdict in a suit brought by two German executives who claimed that Bertelsmann AG and its former CEO cheated them out of an equity stake in an AOL Europe joint venture. The parties settled for $192 million. As it often does, Quinn Emanuel handled both of these cases for total or partial contingency fees. That’s one of several things that distinguishes Quinn Emanuel from most firms on The Am Law 200. “We like having skin in the game,” says Quinn. Risk clearly doesn’t bother this man, who has run with the bulls in Pamplona and completed two Ironman triathlons. “John is the most competitive person I know,” says partner Adrian Pruetz. The firm’s most successful contingency payoff was the Bertelsmann case. Quinn declined to reveal the firm’s cut of the settlement, but the year it received that fee, 2004, was its most profitable to date. In the Freedom Wireless matter, Quinn Emanuel is working for a partial contingency fee. The firm, however, was disqualified in March from handling the appeal. In a complicated and unusual twist, another Quinn Emanuel client, Nextel Communications, Inc., intervened to object that the firm’s position in the case was adverse to Nextel’s business interests. Quinn says this should not jeopardize their fee: “We got the judgment, so I think we earned the fee.” Larry Day, the president of Freedom Wireless, didn’t want to comment on the fee. He is, however, still using the firm for a related patent case against other defendants, and he raves about the talent and dedication of the Quinn Emanuel team: “The job they did was superb,” he says. “They were relentless.” Quinn and his partners insist that the benefits of a litigation-only firm are enormous. “It’s the reason we’re so successful,” Quinn says. “Corporate lawyers don’t really understand what litigators do. . . . If I had to explain to a corporate lawyer why contingency fee work makes sense, they wouldn’t get it.” The firm can sue major Wall Street institutions-the firm is seeking billions from Citigroup Inc. in the Parmalat matter-without freaking out the corporate department. “If we had corporate lawyers, they would shudder at this,” he says. Partner Pruetz, who joined the firm 12 years ago from Morrison & Foerster and sits on the contingency fee committee, explains the standards for taking cases that put the firm at risk: “We look at whether we think it’s pretty much a slam dunk, not where [the success rate is] hovering around 50 percent. The potential damages must be very, very significant. We’re speaking in the $100 million range.” That certainly describes the Parmalat case, at least as far as possible damages. In 2004 the Italian grocery giant was discovered to have falsified its financial statements, and it filed for bankruptcy with previously undisclosed losses totaling $14 billion. Quinn Emanuel was hired by Enrico Bondi, the “extraordinary commissioner” of Parmalat, who is the equivalent of a bankruptcy trustee, beating Boies, Schiller and Susman Godfrey for the assignment. To recover money for the estate, Quinn Emanuel has gone after Citigroup, auditor Grant Thornton LLP and its affiliates, and Bank of America Corporation, charging them with a range of claims, including federal and state RICO violations, for facilitating the fraud, and seeking more than $10 billion. The cases are in the early stages of discovery. Parmalat has been a huge investment for Quinn Emanuel. Quinn is reluctant to discuss the fee arrangement, but confirms that it includes a contingency element. The firm has had to hire a small army of contract lawyers in the United States to help comb through millions of pages of documents. And not just any contract lawyers, but those who can read Italian, the language used in most of the documents. That, and other expenses incurred for the firm’s rapid growth and its docket of other contingency cases, have eaten at the bottom line. From 2004 to 2005, Quinn Emanuel’s overhead increased from $39 million to $71 million. As a result, even though the firm’s revenue jumped 21 percent, average compensation to all partners slipped from $1.89 million to $1.65 million. Partner Richard Schirtzer, who oversees finances, says most of the expenses are “temporary investments” that will produce more revenue in 2006. If the true test of a firm’s strength is recruiting, then Quinn Emanuel is passing with flying colors. Go to the firm’s splashy Web site and start clicking on the names of associates. Stanford Law School, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Yale. Law review editors. Federal clerks. These are associates you’d kill to have. Even students at Harvard must have at least an A-/B+ average to get hired. No exceptions. The buzz about Quinn Emanuel on campus is that it’s the place to do litigation. Plus, it’s totally cool. Recruiting is overseen by partner A. William Urquhart, a tall bear of a man who exudes a relaxed goodwill. He and Quinn-who are good friends and define the heart, soul, and brains of the firm-might seem an odd couple. Quinn is a Morman from Bountiful, Utah, who was the seventh of eight children of a career Army officer. He buzzes with intensity even when relaxed. Urquhart comes from a middle-class home in Long Island, New York, the son of a midlevel insurance executive. He is so easygoing that it’s hard to know whether to take him seriously. “Every minute, Bill is thinking, ‘How can this be more fun?’ ” says Quinn, who met Urquhart when they were both associates at Cravath. He praises the people skills that have made Urquhart skilled at settlements: “ He’s so quick at sizing people up,” says Quinn. In 2004 Urquhart got a $137 million settlement for client Superior National Insurance Group, Inc., in a case against Health Net, Inc., alleging fraud in the sale of several insurance companies. On this day in March, Urquhart, 59, slumps in a comfy chair in his office, shoes off, full from a steak lunch, and weary from a trip to Anchorage for an insurance client. “[Quinn] and I are as different as night and day,” says Urquhart, who joined the firm two years after it was formed. “John is about the bluntest person on the face of the earth.” If Quinn is one of the bluntest, then Urquhart-who lacks any sharp edges-must be one of the least guarded. No topic seems off-limits. Discussing lateral hire Harold Barza, who joined the firm in 1999, he exclaims: “He’s literally making ten times the amount of money he was making at Loeb & Loeb! Ten times!” Addressing how the firm knows that, as it proclaims, it’s tried more cases than any other firm, Urquhart says gleefully, “In truth, we throw it out there, and we’re not corrected.” Urquhart’s amiability, however, masks a fiery drive. In high school he was the New York State champion for the mile, and he attended Fordham College on an athletic scholarship. Says Quinn: “If not for Bill, we would be a 20-lawyer firm.” Years ago, when the firm was obscure, Urquhart declared that Quinn Emanuel would target only top students from the best law schools. Some of his partners thought he was crazy. The firm couldn’t even get good students at second-tier Los Angeles-area schools to interview. To get attractive recruits in the door, the firm let them split the summer, something that many top firms wouldn’t allow. As a ploy for attention, Urquhart wore Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sandals to on-campus interviews. “That was part of the schtick back then,” he laughs, noting that he’s now more apt to wear a sport shirt and jeans. Urquhart found that the more talented and accomplished students were often less concerned about the usual trappings of prestige. Today the firm gets attention in more conventional ways. This year it became the first firm outside New York to raise starting base salaries to $145,000. It’s also had success attracting former federal prosecutors, with more than a dozen in its ranks. Quinn Emanuel tries to give associates meaningful responsibility quickly. Partner Shon Morgan, 38, a former Harvard Law Review editor, recounts how he assumed a significant role for IBM as a junior associate. “Bill Urquhart said, ‘I’m going to position you to be the go-to person,’ ” Morgan says. He and Urquhart shared responsibility on 24 days of depositions in a product defect case. Not long after, Morgan began taking lead duties on other IBM cases. Partner Michael Williams, 35, has tried 11 cases as lead attorney, including some important matters for The DIRECTV Group, Inc. He and name partner Dale Oliver, 58, won a ruling that defined how plaintiffs classes should be certified in arbitration in California, along the way getting an unfavorable ruling reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Williams and Morgan both made partner after four years. The firm’s standard partnership track is six years, though there are exceptions at both ends. As Quinn Emanuel grows-it now has 200 associates-it’s become harder to find the smaller cases that the firm takes at reduced rates to give to young lawyers. Even a highly regarded young partner like Morgan hasn’t taken a case to trial. “The trial issue [for associates] is one we’re keenly aware of, and it’s a problem,” Quinn says. “We want to do the complex matters, but, by definition, the associates won’t have much of a speaking role.” Still, young lawyers at Quinn Emanuel seem to be getting more front-line experience than most of their friends at big firms. B. Dylan Proctor, a sixth-year associate, says he’s argued roughly 15 motions in court and was the third chair at a two-month federal trial. Fourth-year associate Bethany Henderson reports that she’s running a $50 million sexual harassment suit. “The client calls me two to three times a day,” she notes. To make sure more associates get courtroom experience, the firm has designated a lawyer to work full-time matching associates with cases likely to go to trial. Often they are assigned to those cases at no charge to the client. Others take on pro bono work outside the firm, such as handling Social Security hearings for individuals. To help them hone their skills, partner Emanuel focuses a large part of his time on associate development, and his office is on the same floor as the first-years. Still, Quinn Emanuel isn’t for everyone. Only half the associates who were with Quinn Emanuel in 2003 are still there, according to a comparison of the firm’s rosters. Quinn says he didn’t think that turnover had been this high. “Whatever the numbers are, I would be surprised if it’s higher than average,” he says. (It appears to be about average, according to figures from the National Association for Law Placement, which shows roughly 20 percent annual turnover at firms of this size.) And associates aren’t the only ones leaving. In March partner Phyllis Kupferstein, one of the firm’s original four lawyers, left to join McDermott, Will & Emery. She explains that a full-service firm is a better platform for her employment litigation and counseling practice. The rigors expected of associates don’t stop in the office. One firm tradition is the summer hike-or death march, depending on your point of view. Quinn has led bands of lawyers and summer associates on grueling treks through Olympic National Park in Washington State and up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. On a trip to the Wind River Range in Wyoming, the troop finally reached a glacial lake at 9,000 feet after hiking ten miles. Quinn turned to a summer associate and told the fellow that he’d give him an offer if he’d swim across. Quinn was joking, but the young man wasn’t. He stripped down and dived in. “I was worried,” Quinn admits. The lake, no more than 300 feet wide, was icy cold. The student made it across safely and got the job. On the drive back from the trip, Quinn called one of his partners. “Is this guy any good?” he asked. “I just made him an offer.” The firm’s offbeat culture can make it a fun place to work. But what do clients think about this freewheeling environment? Andreas von Blottnitz, one of the two plaintiffs in the Bertelsmann case, likes it. “They’re a bunch of cool guys,” he says. Although the litigation was “very tough and scary,” he says, “in hindsight they made it a fun adventure.” IBM’s Rosenberg says the casual dress doesn’t bother him (although he notes he’s never seen anyone wearing cutoffs). He adds, however, that if he were bringing IBM’s CEO to the office, “I would warn him in advance that this is not your typical button-down law firm.” The lack of formality extends to law firm management. Quinn Emanuel has no executive committee, no management committee, no recruiting committee, and no compensation committee. To decide partner compensation, John Quinn solicits input, and then circulates a memo with everyone’s proposed pay. Any partner who has an issue can select three partners and argue his or her case to the trio. (Urquhart says this hardly ever happens.) The only committee is the contingency fee committee. “Law firms are often paralyzed by the decision-making process,” says Urquhart. “We can make decisions like this,” he says, snapping his fingers. Quinn labels most law firm management “bunk.” “There is zero bureaucracy at this firm,” exclaims New York partner Michael Carlinsky, 41, who came from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in 2002. “Things get decided in a moment’s notice.” He was astounded how swiftly Quinn Emanuel reacted when it learned that Kenneth Chiate, a trial lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, was planning to start his own firm. Within 24 hours the firm had agreed to make him an offer. “I thought, ‘This is great!’ ” Carlinsky recalls. “ At my former firm, this person would have gone on a world tour, and there would have been issues and vetting.” Like many of his partners, Carlinsky insists that Quinn Emanuel is free of the usual law firm politics. “It will sound crazy, but we really don’t track origination,” he says, referring to the practice at many firms of rewarding partners on the basis of who brings in a client and who gets credit for the business that client generates. Battles over origination are often some of the fiercest in law firms. Quinn Emanuel partners who can try cases, but aren’t business generators, are well rewarded. “Some of the most highly compensated partners at the firm have little or no business,” notes Carlinsky. The firm rarely uses headhunters to identify candidates. More often a partner simply picks up the phone to test the waters with someone. Claude Stern, who joined from Fenwick & West in 2003, was amazed that no one at Quinn Emanuel asked him about his book of business before hiring him. (Stern was, however, one of the better-known IP litigators in Silicon Valley.) After years at other firms, Stern has had to make adjustments. “I was in a client pitch with Bill Urquhart. I referred to a client as ‘my client.’ Afterward, Bill-who is the moral compass of the firm-said, ‘We just don’t do that. You have to lose that.’ ” Stern was also shocked that the partnership doesn’t always accede to Quinn. Twice in recent years, he notes, partnership candidates backed by Quinn have failed to get enough votes. Lateral partners now make up close to half of the partnership. Quinn says he’s not worried about maintaining stability with so many newcomers. He’s also not looking to combine with another firm. (The only time he considered it was when he talked to David Boies about uniting their firms about four years ago.) “I can’t see us ever doing a merger,” he says. “I think we have something that’s really special. Why tamper with it?” He notes that the firm has also turned down opportunities to open offices in Washington, D.C., and Texas. “Every office you open is a chance for something to go wrong,” he says. “It’s like putting a witness on the stand.” The firm made an exception for New York, where it opened a three-lawyer office in 2001. The idea evolved after then-client Enron asked the firm to identify experienced New York trial lawyers for cases that might be filed there. “We could not come up with a list of ten,” Urquhart recalls. The firm saw a huge untapped market. “We thought it would be like shooting fish in a barrel,” Urquhart says. “And that’s the way it’s been.” Today the New York office has 54 lawyers. Quinn sees nothing but boundless success there. “It will be our largest office in three to five years,” he predicts without hesitation. The New York office is headed by Peter Calamari, who ran his own litigation firm, Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason, which merged into Winston & Strawn. Carlinsky is one of its biggest business generators. He represents insurance giant American International Group, Inc., in a range of matters, including a dispute with former CEO Maurice Greenberg over the separation of Greenberg’s business interests from the company. Neuwirth is planning to bring the sort of cases he did at Boies, Schiller: plaintiffs antitrust class actions that produced some windfalls for his old firm. It’s not likely that the Manhattan office will be as free-spirited as the Los Angeles home base. They allow casual dress, but a Charles Manson shirt might raise eyebrows. “I think they go too far,” remarks Carlinsky, about the L.A. attire. The firm is also building an appellate practice, and made a splash when it hired former Stanford Law School dean and constitutional scholar Kathleen Sullivan as of counsel in 2004. “We’ve done better in a short amount of time than I could have imagined,” she says. She’s attracted several impressive hires, including former Jones Day partner Daniel Bromberg, and four associates who clerked for circuit court judges. She still teaches full-time at Stanford, which takes up more than half her work hours. Her foray into private practice hasn’t been without bumps. Last year Sullivan failed the California bar, and this year the state supreme court denied her pro hac vice admission for an appeal of a $500 million judgment against client Genentech, Inc. The one case she’s argued before the Supreme Court since she’s been on board, Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc., which involved patent and antitrust issues, ended with an 8-to-0 defeat for client Independent Ink. But she notes that the firm got the case remanded on favorable grounds. Her current docket includes several U.S. Court of Appeals matters, but none for parties in a Supreme Court case. As Quinn Emanuel grows in size and stature, the predictable questions arise. Can the firm maintain its offbeat culture? Can it minimize bureaucracy? Can it maintain stability as it hires more lateral partners? And, perhaps most importantly, will young lawyers still get meaningful trial experience? In mid-April, Quinn addresses some of these questions while seated in a conference room in the firm’s San Francisco office. In a week he’ll be starting jury selection for a trial for client Occidental Petroleum Corporation in a dispute with Lloyd’s of London over the destruction of gas pipelines in Columbia. Quinn doesn’t see the need for any grand strategic overhaul as the firm expands. “I’ve never had any five-year plans or two-year plans,” he says. “It will stop being fun if we stand still. The excitement and satisfaction is winning cases and working on more complex matters where more is at stake-keep raising the bar and see if we can keep clearing it.” To this day Quinn and most of his partners still cold-call for business. They scan new case filings for opportunities. Quinn attributes this to his “Depression-era mentality,” stemming from his first failed effort to start a firm. “I was haunted by that experience,” says Quinn. “[It] did stretch me to do some things I never would have done. I found things within myself. I found I could put myself at risk.” He adds, “It’s amazing how many people won’t ask for work. I tell our associates, ‘Learn to say the words-I would like some of your work.’ “ “We jokingly say our goal is world domination,” says Quinn. “But it’s only half a joke.” He continues, “O’Melveny is dead. Myers is dead. Latham is dead,” he says, referring to the founders of those firms. “We’re not going to wait 20, or 40, or 60 years to make our mark. We want to do it now.” And he wants to do it his way. Lots of Am Law 200 lawyers are hungry. Quinn just doesn’t bother to hide it. “We’re the undeserving, the unwashed, we’re the parvenus,” he says with a smile-and then mimics his critics: ” ‘Who do these guys think they are?’ “ Who? Better. Faster. Tougher. Scarier. That’s who. Game on. E-mail: [email protected]. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges Lawyer head count 244 Am Law 200 rank 109 Revenue per lawyer $795,000 (4% increase) Profits per partner $1,905,000 (1% increase) Compensation-all partners $1,650,000 (13% decrease)

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