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So I'm going to share what the first week of law school has been like for me. I thought that since so many of you were a great resource throughout the process, you might have some interest. If anyone enjoys it, or likes to see the fruit of their help and advice, I can do so again every once in a while. If it is uninteresting or obnoxious and people say so, I won't. That said:

Holy ####. The first week of law school is in the books, with many more to go. I like most of the professor I have, though one is extra awesome and one is a little bit scary, so we will see how that goes.

I have spent more time (I'd say at least 20 hours this week alone) on readings than in the average month or so of undergrad. The quantity isn't that high, but even having taught an undergrad course that was 80% "read 1st amendment SCOTUS opinion, brief facts/issue/rule/holding, dissect and discuss," the amount of time it takes to read a single page is, I would guess, 4 or more times longer than a page of typical undergrad articles or the like for classes. They're interesting stuff though, so I don't much mind. We've already done a couple of the legendary classics (e.g. Pennoyer, Dudley and Stephens) as well as a few that aren't that famous for 1Ls.

For those who know me better, you'd be proud that I managed to not bring up at all my work around the Hobby Lobby case, even when it was the subject of a significant chunk of a class. Being with the same 29 other people all day every day is a pretty strong incentive to (even if you must pretend) always act like you don't get it yet and can use more help. Sometimes that has been absolutely true (WTF Pennoyer, really...) and sometimes it hasn't, but keeping the same face at all times seems like the right move. The culture is very interesting. I'm not sure how much is my school specifically (which it seems is far more laid back than everywhere else) and how much is typical of 1Ls, but it's obvious who the gunners are already. Less obvious who the snipers are (if this is newer than when you were in law school, snipers are the people who outwardly never gun ever, but secretly do all the readings twice, live in office hours, and study their asses off), though I think that might be me.

I really want to do well, not so much for employment (though if at the end of the first year clerking is a real possibility I will be far more intrigued) but to prove to myself that I can do it. Here, where my classmates are a couple other state schools and then 30% small liberal arts college from the NE and then 50% Ivy Leaguers.

The cases are fun to discuss, and the cold-calling is only done by some of the professors and even the ones who do cold call...they don't really seem to be mean about it at all. Maybe that's just the first week, but I've been very pleasantly surprised by the classroom atmosphere and demeanor of the professors.

Bar reviews are awesome (1 after orientation and another already) and the stories people have are wonderful. I am absolutely in a minority here as one who came "straight through" from undergrad. It can be a little intimidating, but it is also fairly impressive in a way.

Now for the bullets:

  • My undergrad courses, completely by accident, set me up very well for law school. Very very well. Biz law, con law, religion and state stuff...all has proven far more useful than I expected. Really pleasantly surprised.
  • Weather out here is all amazing all the time
  • The whole experience is really exciting so far. I'm sure that will wear off, but until it does...wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I don't know if there's a real pinnacle to this profession. Some times it really seems like there isn't one. But I do now know that when you're standing there waiting and hoping for two words instead

Made partner today. 

The managing partners of the small plaintiff firm I work for called me in for a meeting today and informed me they'll be making me an offer this summer for a contract that calls for a gradual transfer

I enjoy reading these accounts; keep 'em coming! It was so long ago that I went to law school, and seeing it through fresh eyes is fun. I don't remember where you ended up accepting (Yale?), but I wonder if you're feeling any differences and culture shock due to coming from a very different environment in Oklahoma (that's where you went, right?).

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A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek now. It'll make you invaluable later.

A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek now. It'll make you invaluable later.

A word of advice: bang undergrads, not classmates.

both great advice

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I enjoy reading these accounts; keep 'em coming! It was so long ago that I went to law school, and seeing it through fresh eyes is fun. I don't remember where you ended up accepting (Yale?), but I wonder if you're feeling any differences and culture shock due to coming from a very different environment in Oklahoma (that's where you went, right?).

I'm doing the JD/MBA at Stanford, though I was committed to Yale through like the end of June before the waitlisting at the GSB became an acceptance and I made the jump!

Oklahoma was so different. Cali is awesome. Way more like Texas, honestly, which is my home.

I'm glad you appreciate it! I'll throw one up every week or two or when something notable comes up.

A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek now. It'll make you invaluable later.

This seems super true. Here's my assessment of my courses:

LRW: writing course. Seems necessary and I actually like crafting things that are at once made of complexity and brevity. I clearly need to practice the latter.

Torts: Seems like my least favorite - we are only doing accidental personal injury. We will see how this one goes, may be the one I end up slacking or punting if it comes to that.

Contracts: Most excited for this, given career goals and the prof is great. Also I just think contracts are interesting, was one of my favorite UG courses.

Crim: Not what I want to do, but the craziest cases and most interesting questions to think about. Prof clearly loves it, which makes it easier to study too.

Civ Pro: As you say, I can already tell this is vitally important. Dry material, but something I want to have a strong grasp of.

A word of advice: bang undergrads, not classmates.

Long term significant other. She'll be moving out here after I get one quarter under my belt. The 2Ls gave us a guide, call classmates "section incest" haha

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A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek

now. It'll make you invaluable later.

A word of advice: bang undergrads, not classmates.

Caveat: bang1Ls when you're a 3L. It's just too easy.
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Speaking of banging, had to research some ethics opinions with one of the partners yesterday because we found out our newest associate is banging one of the prosecutors. Thankfully, ethically we appear fine as an office.

Behind the office door the partner and I were secretly impressed b/c said prosecutor is pretty attractive. However, he still chewed him out pretty good for not disclosing immediately.

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A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek now. It'll make you invaluable later.

This seems super true.

It is. If you learn civil procedure and the rules of evidence cold, you will virtually never lose a litigation job.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

If you can win on procedure instead of arguing the merits, all the better. A strong grasp of civ pro can keep you pressing on the attack instead of reacting.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Civil procedure and the rules of evidence mean more than anything else in the practice of law as a litigator.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

If you can win on procedure instead of arguing the merits, all the better. A strong grasp of civ pro can keep you pressing on the attack instead of reacting.

This. As a litigator, there is no stronger weapon than procedure.
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I know I'm drunk, but seriously - if you intend to litigate - civil procedure and the rules of evidence are a patriot missile and a nuclear warhead all wrapped up in two little packages. Failing to learn these is like requesting a couple of glocks instead.

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Oh hell does this bring back painful memories. I think I even had the same exact classes.

I personally didn't find civ pro that useful... i had a new jersey rules class my 3L year and that was priceless. I still have my notes from that. But I will echo evidence. If you want to be in a courtroom know your evidence rules cold.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

If you can win on procedure instead of arguing the merits, all the better. A strong grasp of civ pro can keep you pressing on the attack instead of reacting.

This. As a litigator, there is no stronger weapon than procedure.

Blech. Civ Pro was the most boring thing in law school.

I was trying to figure out if there was anything I learned in law school that is applicable to my practice. Not only were there no classes that were applicable, I can't even come up with a concept I learned there that I use.

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I know I'm drunk, but seriously - if you intend to litigate - civil procedure and the rules of evidence are a patriot missile and a nuclear warhead all wrapped up in two little packages. Failing to learn these is like requesting a couple of glocks instead.

Yea, but the stuff you learn in law school isn't usually state specific. 1L civ pro and Evidence are pretty broad strokes.

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I know I'm drunk, but seriously - if you intend to litigate - civil procedure and the rules of evidence are a patriot missile and a nuclear warhead all wrapped up in two little packages. Failing to learn these is like requesting a couple of glocks instead.

Yea, but the stuff you learn in law school isn't usually state specific. 1L civ pro and Evidence are pretty broad strokes.

Oh, sure, but if you start feeling out early it'll come to you.
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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

If you can win on procedure instead of arguing the merits, all the better. A strong grasp of civ pro can keep you pressing on the attack instead of reacting.

This. As a litigator, there is no stronger weapon than procedure.

Blech. Civ Pro was the most boring thing in law school.

I was trying to figure out if there was anything I learned in law school that is applicable to my practice. Not only were there no classes that were applicable, I can't even come up with a concept I learned there that I use.

I stepped up my drinking in law school (which is saying something, since I tended bar before that). That's been very useful.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

If you can win on procedure instead of arguing the merits, all the better. A strong grasp of civ pro can keep you pressing on the attack instead of reacting.

This. As a litigator, there is no stronger weapon than procedure.
Blech. Civ Pro was the most boring thing in law school.

I was trying to figure out if there was anything I learned in law school that is applicable to my practice. Not only were there no classes that were applicable, I can't even come up with a concept I learned there that I use.

I stepped up my drinking in law school (which is saying something, since I tended bar before that). That's been very useful.

I definitely drank more in law school than at penn state. :unsure:

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A word of advice: become a civil procedure geek now. It'll make you invaluable later.

:goodposting:

That goes for evidence too. Don't just take the compulsory Civ Pro and Evidence courses during 1st/2nd years - take additional courses. I took Evidence II (which got into expert witnesses and other more obscure parts of the rules of evidence that actually come up more often than hearsay, for example) as well as Federal Courts, which got all into the Federal Court Rules in a more comprehensive way than we had in Civ Pro. Those are the things you work with every day in practice.

Edited by T Bell
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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Are you kidding?

That's like asking if Contracts or Corporations means all that much in doing transactional work.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Are you kidding?

That's like asking if Contracts or Corporations means all that much in doing transactional work.

They don't. At all.

Edited by krista4
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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Are you kidding?

That's like asking if Contracts or Corporations means all that much in doing transactional work.

They don't. At all.

Look, every analogy breaks down at a certain point...

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Are you kidding?

That's like asking if Contracts or Corporations means all that much in doing transactional work.

They don't. At all.

Look, every analogy breaks down at a certain point...

:lmao:

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Yea, I'll be the wet blanket on all the Civ Pro love. Doesn't matter that much. Most judges are forgiving if you accidentally work yourself into a pickle.

Understanding the fact/law distinction is key for motion practice, but no part of law school prepares you for discovery, which is the heart and soul of litigating.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Hell, yes. Because most litigators hate it. It will probably surprise none of you I love to beat my opponents over the head with procedure.

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Does Civ Pro even mean that much as a litigator? If so, jeebus..that was the worst stuff ever. I figured you could just learn that #### on the fly, no?

Hell, yes. Because most litigators hate it. It will probably surprise none of you I love to beat my opponents over the head with procedure.

:lmao:

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Yeah least surprising thing ever.

We have something called best practices. Basically it means no procedure games. Work together and knock it off. So while I can argue until I'm blue in the face that my adversary filed his response on day 17 instead of 18 it's not going anywhere.

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Yeah least surprising thing ever.

We have something called best practices. Basically it means no procedure games. Work together and knock it off. So while I can argue until I'm blue in the face that my adversary filed his response on day 17 instead of 18 it's not going anywhere.

Choice of law/comparative law issues, forum non conveniens, venue allowances, jurisdictional issues, etc. are more what we're talking about here.

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Yeah least surprising thing ever.

We have something called best practices. Basically it means no procedure games. Work together and knock it off. So while I can argue until I'm blue in the face that my adversary filed his response on day 17 instead of 18 it's not going anywhere.

Choice of law/comparative law issues, forum non conveniens, venue allowances, jurisdictional issues, etc. are more what we're talking about here.

My practice is almost exclusively federal court at this point and the jurisdictional stuff we learned in federal courts is basically material I use every day. Chemerinsky's federal jurisdiction treatise is easily accessible from my desk chair.

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Yeah least surprising thing ever.

We have something called best practices. Basically it means no procedure games. Work together and knock it off. So while I can argue until I'm blue in the face that my adversary filed his response on day 17 instead of 18 it's not going anywhere.

Choice of law/comparative law issues, forum non conveniens, venue allowances, jurisdictional issues, etc. are more what we're talking about here.
My practice is almost exclusively federal court at this point and the jurisdictional stuff we learned in federal courts is basically material I use every day. Chemerinsky's federal jurisdiction treatise is easily accessible from my desk chair.

Yeah, I do a lot of maritime work and discrimination work and file all of it in federal court. Knowing procedure makes things a whole lot easier.

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The first year law school stuff is level one info to be sure, but it's still at the root of much of what we do as litigators is the point. Some litigation practices will more heavily use it than others of course, but the point is it's relevant building blocks. One of my prior posts is essentially advocating taking as my "level two" courses as possible.

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Intellectually I understood, I thought, Civil Procedure after first year and doing quite well in the class, but I did not really appreciate it at all. Sometime during my clerkship I understood just how important civil procedure could be, though I also learned that many Judges can be unreasonably forgiving of very sloppy practice in State Court. Nevertheless I finally really got it, I thought, after clerking for two years. Now, decades later I rarely practice in Federal Court, but I have learned that Federal Court Judges are not at all forgiving of dilatory or sloppy procedural practice. Now I think I understand it, appreciate it, and fear and respect civil procedure. Tomorrow or later I will probably find out I yet have much to learn.

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Dont want to hijack the other thread so I figured I would ask it here...

If I had an applicant and was about to hire and then I learned that the guy was convicted 5 years ago for beating his wife and then I said, "oh wait, I don't want to hire him now" I would likely be breaking the law.

No , you wouldn't.

Here is a link from the state Dept of Workforce development site. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/discrimination_civil_rights/publication_erd_7609_p.htm#7

I am pretty sure my statement was correct, but would like to know from a lawyer's perspective. RHE, BB, and Christo seemed pretty sure I was out of my gourd.

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My state is a right to work state. Employers can basically hire and fire at their own will save for a few exceptions. Those exceptions are mainly for protected classes like race, gender, and, possibly, sexual orientation (although my state drafted some ridiculous legislation actually preempting law making it unlawful to take into account a persons sexuality). So yeah, since being convicted of a crime is not a protected class in my jurisdiction a person could totally benot hired solely b/c of a prior offense.

As a defense attorney I always advise my clients that a conviction could make obtaining employment more difficult -

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My state is a right to work state. Employers can basically hire and fire at their own will save for a few exceptions. Those exceptions are mainly for protected classes like race, gender, and, possibly, sexual orientation (although my state drafted some ridiculous legislation actually preempting law making it unlawful to take into account a persons sexuality). So yeah, since being convicted of a crime is not a protected class in my jurisdiction a person could totally benot hired solely b/c of a prior offense.

As a defense attorney I always advise my clients that a conviction could make obtaining employment more difficult -

I guess I should have specified I am from Wisconsin. The link is from the wisconsin DWD.

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Dont want to hijack the other thread so I figured I would ask it here...

If I had an applicant and was about to hire and then I learned that the guy was convicted 5 years ago for beating his wife and then I said, "oh wait, I don't want to hire him now" I would likely be breaking the law.

No , you wouldn't.

Here is a link from the state Dept of Workforce development site. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/discrimination_civil_rights/publication_erd_7609_p.htm#7

I am pretty sure my statement was correct, but would like to know from a lawyer's perspective. RHE, BB, and Christo seemed pretty sure I was out of my gourd.

Almost every state is an "at will" state, meaning you can hire or fire for any reason at all, with only limited exceptions (race, religion, gender, sexual preference, political beliefs, disabilities that you can accommodate, etc.). Even if there was an employment contract, almost every such contract I know contains a morals clause.

In short, I know of no reason why you couldn't fire such a person after hiring them upon discovery of that in their background. Even if they'd disclosed it to you at the outset and you'd decided to hire them and then you changed their mind, I don't think it would be illegal.

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My state is a right to work state. Employers can basically hire and fire at their own will save for a few exceptions. Those exceptions are mainly for protected classes like race, gender, and, possibly, sexual orientation (although my state drafted some ridiculous legislation actually preempting law making it unlawful to take into account a persons sexuality). So yeah, since being convicted of a crime is not a protected class in my jurisdiction a person could totally benot hired solely b/c of a prior offense.

As a defense attorney I always advise my clients that a conviction could make obtaining employment more difficult -

I guess I should have specified I am from Wisconsin. The link is from the wisconsin DWD.

In Illinois the protection only extends to convictions that were sealed or expunged.

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Dont want to hijack the other thread so I figured I would ask it here...

If I had an applicant and was about to hire and then I learned that the guy was convicted 5 years ago for beating his wife and then I said, "oh wait, I don't want to hire him now" I would likely be breaking the law.

No , you wouldn't.

Here is a link from the state Dept of Workforce development site. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/discrimination_civil_rights/publication_erd_7609_p.htm#7

I am pretty sure my statement was correct, but would like to know from a lawyer's perspective. RHE, BB, and Christo seemed pretty sure I was out of my gourd.

Almost every state is an "at will" state, meaning you can hire or fire for any reason at all, with only limited exceptions (race, religion, gender, sexual preference, political beliefs, disabilities that you can accommodate, etc.). Even if there was an employment contract, almost every such contract I know contains a morals clause.

In short, I know of no reason why you couldn't fire such a person after hiring them upon discovery of that in their background. Even if they'd disclosed it to you at the outset and you'd decided to hire them and then you changed their mind, I don't think it would be illegal.

From the link I posted:
Can an employer discharge a current employee because of a pending criminal charge? No. An employer may, however, suspend an employee, if the offense-giving rise to the pending criminal charge is substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity. Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant because of a lengthy record of convictions or conviction for a crime the employer finds upsetting? An employer may only refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a conviction record for an offense that is substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job. Whether the crime is an upsetting one may have nothing to do with whether it is substantially related to a particular job.

I guess what it boils down to is what does "substantially related" mean.

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Dont want to hijack the other thread so I figured I would ask it here...

If I had an applicant and was about to hire and then I learned that the guy was convicted 5 years ago for beating his wife and then I said, "oh wait, I don't want to hire him now" I would likely be breaking the law.

No , you wouldn't.

Here is a link from the state Dept of Workforce development site. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/discrimination_civil_rights/publication_erd_7609_p.htm#7

I am pretty sure my statement was correct, but would like to know from a lawyer's perspective. RHE, BB, and Christo seemed pretty sure I was out of my gourd.

Almost every state is an "at will" state, meaning you can hire or fire for any reason at all, with only limited exceptions (race, religion, gender, sexual preference, political beliefs, disabilities that you can accommodate, etc.). Even if there was an employment contract, almost every such contract I know contains a morals clause.

In short, I know of no reason why you couldn't fire such a person after hiring them upon discovery of that in their background. Even if they'd disclosed it to you at the outset and you'd decided to hire them and then you changed their mind, I don't think it would be illegal.

From the link I posted:
Can an employer discharge a current employee because of a pending criminal charge? No. An employer may, however, suspend an employee, if the offense-giving rise to the pending criminal charge is substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity. Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant because of a lengthy record of convictions or conviction for a crime the employer finds upsetting? An employer may only refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a conviction record for an offense that is substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job. Whether the crime is an upsetting one may have nothing to do with whether it is substantially related to a particular job.

I guess what it boils down to is what does "substantially related" mean.

You did say convicted not pending. And in my state I can fire you if I don't like the shirt you are wearing today. So yeah pending, suspected, convicted no problem fire away. NC is a Right to Fire state sometimes misleadingly called Right to Work.

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So nobody wants to click on the link parasaurolopholous posted? It sounds like, at least in Wisconsin, he was right.

I did. He was right for Wisconsin--unless he hires social workers who deal with domestic violence issues. But Wisconsin law seems to be an outlier given the responses in here. It's not the law in Illinois. And it's not the law at the Federal level.

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