Friday, March 5, 2021

e-EQE - C 2021 (D/E): copy to try, last exam, few technical problems

Updated 7 Mar 21 with status picture. Updated 6 Mar 21 with extra comments on C. Updated 5 Mar 21 with WISEflow unavailable picture :-)
Today was the e-EQE C Exam. I have extracted the claims of the patent as granted and added them to the printable files. I have also put the claims at the end of each part to simulate exam conditions - DE versionEN version (sorry no FR), The official compendium versions will be available next week.

  • I have not made it yet, but check the Telegram groups for some discussions and comments. Today there were not a lot of discussions - most seem to be happy to have survived the first eEQE, and to start the weekend early. Some discussion about the length and complexity. See below for some comments on the problems.
  • No widespread technical issues 👍👍👍

1. Thanks to the EQE organisation, and good luck with the marking
  • Thanks to all the invigilators, helpdesk staff, EQE secretariat members, and epi/EPO members who have been working tirelessly for the last few months to make it happen. Even under pretty stressful conditions (on both sides), the majority of candidates said that they felt listened to and helped 👍👍👍. 
    • it seems that the general experience during the C exam that everything was running smoothly 💪.
  • And good luck to those involved in the marking - at least you will not have to struggle with poor handwriting any more 😉, although there are a lot of spelling mistakes and copy/paste errors to puzzle over.

2. My suggestions to candidates after the eEQE
  • You survived the historic first eEQE 🥇
  • Put your TAB and WINKEY caps back 😀
  • Manually uninstall Lockdown Browser: in Win10, it is found in the start menu under Respondus
    • be suspicious of any emails mentioning WISEflow or Lockdown Browser
    • if you get any emails about "updates" of the Lockdown Browser, do not click on them
  • ... actual screenshot of WISEflow (5 Mar 21 2330) - EQE candidates got their revenge 💣💣💣💣, or at least "broke" WISEflow
  • ... and the status page on Friday indicated that the last major incident was 3 days ago (Tues was also the "D1 incident")
  • Preferably unplug all the extra cameras and microphones. Or at least cover the cameras when not in use.
  • Take a couple of days off and celebrate as much as you can respecting your local lockdown rules 😉
  • Don't read blog posts about model answers. They are usually made by EQE nerds who made the exams under relaxed conditions. They could still be wrong. Even if it is a perfect answer, no-one knows where all the marks will be awarded. 
  • The marking sheets are only finalised after the exam following discussions within the committees about what to accept and what not. For example, if there was an issue almost no-one dealt with, they usually compensate by awarding marks for something else that most people got. The exams also have built-in fail-safes, so if you miss something, you will not lose marks everywhere. 

3. Telegram chat groups

  • The main group has 285 members, for general issues and WISEflow + LockDown Browser + Zendesk issues. The (ABC+PE claims analysis) group has 159 members, the (D+PE legal) group has 131 members, and the summer study group for EQE 2022 preparation already has 81 members. Now also a EQE Marketplace if you want to sell or buy EQE materials.
    • Started for students to discuss with others, but completely open to any tutors from any organisation who want to just read or join the discussions. 
    • If you have just done an exam, only discuss the answers if you can really take it. For most people, it is better not to discuss - you can't change your answer, no-one knows what the marking will be for particular answers (Main Exam) and sometimes more than one Pre-Exam answer is accepted. 
    • Group rules: no discussions of ways to cheat, no exchanges of large sections of copyrighted materials (excerpts, annotated examples, WIPO/EPO docs etc. are allowed), no requesting or sharing of exam materials until after the scheduled end of the last part of that exam, no requesting or sharing of invigilator password.

4. WISEflow, before the exam, after the exam
  • At least one person noticed that the pdf of their D1-Part 1 and D2 answers was missing statements and even had a blank page. It is not clear how widespread it is, but it is advisable to check (while you remember) whether it is complete after the exam.
    • I have not seen any messages about problems after the A, B or C Exams
  • The copy of the answer from Part 1 was available very quickly in WISEflow 👍. 

5. LockDown Browser

  • No widespread technical issues 👍👍👍
  • Wednesday, after the widespread problems D1-Part 1, the Examination Board issued a very clear unambiguous commitment to ease candidates minds:
  • On the official e-EQE page, a message from Examination Board (3 Mar 21):
    • The Examination Board of the EQE is aware of a situation that affected paper D1.1. The Examination Board guarantees that the marking process will be conducted so that no candidate will be disadvantaged because of that.👍👍👍
  • Problems seen when handing-in answers at the end of D2 (quoted from Telegram chat)
    • No problems reported for C-1 and C-2.
  • Copy/paste from the C Exam did not retain the formatting at all, and CTRL-SHIFT-V or the remove formatting button removed line breaks and a lot of spaces between words.
    • copy/paste is a major advantage of an online exam. It is disappointing that this cannot be made to function properly

    6. Reporting complaints & problems to helpdesk@eqe.org
    • See here for post about Instructions to Candidates
      • ItC 11- email complaints regarding conduct as soon as possible, but no later than end of day of the exam. ItC 39 - email report on any disruptions during exam for which candidates are not responsible or which are beyond their control within 24 hrs of end of exam.
    • The EQE organisation is well aware of many issues, and general issues affecting large numbers of people will be taken into account during the marking. However, they may not be aware how a disruption or incident has affected an individual candidates performance. The idea of reporting is to give them a chance to consider whether to take it into account during the marking. They may also not realise how a positive thing for many (30 mins extension) could have a negative effect on an individual.
    • As an emails need to be sent very quickly, and most candidates are pretty tired after the exam, I worked with Preston Richard (Bardehle Pagenberg) to make a complaint template with some of the possible things you may wish to mention (we collected them from the blogs and chats). It may also reduce the number of emails from each candidate.
      • But don't just copy everything and send it - it must be personalised to explain your situation and experiences.
    CLICK BELOW FOR COMMENTS ON C (no spoilers) 

    7. Paper C (comments from the Telegram groups)

    • Mixed picture - some found it reasonable, many found it very full (comparable to 2018)
    • Printable part before Part 1 was 40 pages, and again 40 pages for Part 2 (although most is the same)
      • an advantage of this system is that you can already start reading as soon as you are ready at your computer if you have a fast, reliable printer
    • Part 1 was too short to read all the documents and complete the attacks on the first set of claims.
    • Also, reading all the prior art without having seen the claims for Part 2 is the most inefficient way to read comments. During Part 2, a lot had to be re-read to verify how relevant everything was.
    • Although you had the printed answer from Part 1 while during Part 2, an electronic version would be preferred to allow copy/paste of relevant parts of the argumentation
    • The names of the representative, proprietor and client are the same as the C 2015 Exam
      • not important for making the exam. Maybe the paper authors like this paper? Or they passed in 2015?
    • Some of the tabs showed assignment turned 90°. Uncertain if it was by pressing something, but it was not possible to rotate them back
    • Copy/paste did not work at all (similar to Mock1- everything needed to be reformatted before it could be used in the answers. 
      • This is particularly annoying and time consuming. 
    • In general copy/paste hardly worked well in any exam on a Mac

    48 comments:

    1. Hi Pete,

      Perhaps worthwhile to look at status.wiseflow.net to see it’s the half annual major release, planned and scheduled to follow after the EQE. It’s been a stressfull and hectic week on all sides. Best of luck to all candidates in the marking proces ahead.

      Best Wishes

      Steffen (co-founder of WISEflow)

      ReplyDelete
    2. Wrecked Saturday, thinking about how to go about retaking EQE in 2022. Sorry Steffen, I have no interest in look ar wiseflow ever again. Its been the source of nightmares for me. I hope the EQE will have a suitable setup next time.

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      1. I don't know how it was implemented, but doing the EQE in WISEflow + LockDown Browser was like:
        Using the old DOS Word Perfect on a laptop with 30% battery (praying that there will be no crash during the 1-3 hour parts) and your boss watching with a stopwatch - printer stress beforehand, one window during the exam, key combinations in your head, a lot of reformatting, afraid of crashing (the software is continuously trying to stop), very strict schedule, being forced to check Zendesk every 30 mins, worrying that the camera would be disabled etc. 😥😥.

        Delete
    3. Hi Pete. Thanks for last week. I actually had problems printing out C2 as wiseflow crashed on me. Had to restart. I started the exam late in C2 as a result of it but have reported it to Exam Sect.

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      1. Good to report it. You have done everything you can. Time to move on and enjoy the other things in life 🚵‍♀️. Fingers crossed for June ✌.

        Delete
    4. Dear Pete, just to reiterate what other have said mayn times over the last months: THANK YOU for your advice and support for this year's EQE! This has been absolutely selfless and you've helped countless of candidates irrespective of their results in June. When I was going through the panic of D1 in the first 30 mins, my reflex was to turn to your advice in case things go wrong, which I had printed out and stuck on the wall next to my screen. Says it all! You deserve a medal as well as us for going through this extraordinary experience!!

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      1. Thanks, noddy for the glowing words. It has been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, but it is worth it if people could avoid at least some of the technical problems.
        And if there are medals, I would be happy to receive one 😁.

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    5. Yes, THANK YOU PETE! I've done several bar exams, but I have to say C killed me. It became a 7 hour exam. I crashed at 3pm and was unable to write anymore.....my inventive step arguments became "this is not inventive". I really hope that the EPO figures out how much stress the online exam is, and with printing out all the mess for paper C, yeah, NOBODY takes breaks, so, 7 hours later.....I gave some strong opinions in the survey. It asked about the "convenience" of doing this at home. B.S. The candidate has to prepare AND worry about all the other things, too? I hope the EPO has figured out how much stress they've put on candidates this year and grades accordingly.

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      1. Hi Leigh, you're welcome. They certainly got plenty of feedback ;-). Keeping my fingers crossed!

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      2. I have no problems doing it on a computer but why cant the EPO go back to computer + paper copy like they did in the pilot scheme. They are making things so much more complicated and over burdening candidates. Its not on really and unfair treatment on this year's candidates.

        Delete
      3. That would only be possible in examination centers, where computers and invigilators are present.
        That may be feasible next year due to COVID-19 restrictions disappearing, but the problem may be financing. "Free" (or very cheap) facilities were mainly used in the past (EPO and/or national patent offices).
        This couls

        Delete
    6. Thank's Pete.
      I also had a crash in the C exam. I had missed that when clicking on a search result in the "EPO resources", the browser opens a new tab. I had tabs open for each boookmark and the zendesk. When I clicked on a search result it opened a new tab and put me into lockdown.

      ReplyDelete
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      1. You're welcome.
        Yes - I forgot that a couple of times as well, but luckily I was doing D, and did not need many tabs. But for B or C, I can imagine it was pretty full.
        If it is inherent in the software ("always open a new tab"), you would expect it to either warn that the tab limit has been reached, or just allow a higher number.
        or it is considered "suspicious behaviour".
        LockDown Browser is different to other software. Normal software tries to avoid crashes and locking up - LockDown Browser does the opposite.

        Delete
    7. Hi Pete,
      if there is one good/right and one bad/wrong attack for the same claim of C paper, do you know if the best attack gets marks for the claim or the worst one?

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      1. Hi cc, for the C paper, you start with 0 marks, and for everything you do correctly, you get marks. So if you gave the correct attack and a poor/wrong one, you will get the marks for the good attack. The poor/wrong one will just not get any (or few) marks. If it is unexpected, they look at your argumentation to see whether it is worth any marks. So, you "just" lose time.
        The only time a second attack can hurt the first one is if it contradicts - so attack 1 based on novelty D1, and in attack 2, you base it on D1 + D2. The exam is designed so that it is either novelty or inventive step based on D1.
        Even writing something like "If novelty would not be accepted based on D1, then ...." will not help you avoid losing some marks.
        But they will always look at your argumentation to understand why you came to that conclusion.

        Delete
      2. Thanks a lot Pete! Your support to candidates all over Europe to the first E-EQE ever is very much appreciated!

        Delete
      3. You're welcome. Let us hope that a lot of people are successful 🤞.

        Delete
    8. Pete - the EPO needs to recognize your efforts this year with the way you have helped candidates. I'm sure there are others too but I think you have done an amazing job over the months before the exams.

      I know many candidates around the world have appreciated your help, support and guidance.

      I cannot say I like the e-EQE format. There are clearly many issues and problems with it but nevertheless, you've supported candidates throughout when we need you the most.
      Thank you.

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      1. Thanks a lot for your very warm words, Tilla.
        My goal was to help avoid some of the technical issues, but I did not expect there to be so many mines to avoid 😉.
        This is a first step, and there is now a year to improve. But hopefully most of the "pioneer candidates" will not need to do it next year 🤞.

        Delete
    9. Hi Pete, will you be writing a blog post on the EPO's latest PR statement on the eEQE (https://www.epo.org/news-events/news/2021/20210308.html)?

      It may just be a PR stunt but if this does truly represent the EPO's take on the matter (especially regarding D1-1) then this is very concerning as they do not seem to be taking the issues seriously...

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      1. I don't think it is worth discussing. It was not issued by the Examination Board or the EQE Secretariat - it looks like the EPO PR department just got the details they wanted and added to the draft that they already made 2 weeks ago 😉.

        I already commented on a couple of LinkedIn posts:
        It was certainly a milestone, and a lot got done in a few months with extraordinary efforts behind the scenes. Many advantages - I am glad they are moving away from the old system. And I would still call it a success. But from my limited view as outside benchmarker and blogger, I agree there were "bumps in the road" for many people.
        At least 30% of IT requirements were arranged by candidates individually. Many technical questions to the helpdesk during the testing phase were not answered.
        Mock tests were essential, and the 3rd was planned after problems during the 2nd. . The public seminars were very good (max. 1000 people each), but the 2nd was not made available at all afterwards, and only the sheets and no audio available for the 3rd.
        "Smooth running" was not everyone's experience. Having "130 exam pages" (B Exam!, C Exam!) is not positive when printing and/or reading online. The unambiguous message from the Examination Boards was very fast and very welcome, but for many candidates, D1-1 was solved within 30 mins, not a few minutes.

        Delete
    10. Does anybody know if alternative attacks provided can also attract marks or would it be zero/heavily penalised.

      For me, it seems that C2 - you can start from A4 with A6. For C6 - you combine A5 with A6

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      1. They are open to alternative attacks, but the bar is still set pretty high. If many candidates do it, they will usually give some marks for it. If you are in a smaller group, they will look at the argumentation to see why you thought it was possible.

        Delete
      2. What happens if you got the wrong CPA but the combination can work. In the paper C just gone, i felt some more than 1 doc could be CPA and combine together. Do you lose marks for just the reasoning for CPA

        Delete
      3. In general, yes. You are not penalised twice for the same mistake. But the CPA has to evaluated for each claim separately (also dependent claims), so you may miss marks for each claim you used it.

        Delete
    11. In my view, Paper C this year did not work online. It was far too long, the split just created confusion. Candidates were given all prior art documents at the start which loaded all reading into part 1 and then you have to read it again for part 2. It was not the easiest subject matter either to get your head around.

      It was too much.

      I do hope the C committee actually consider alternative attacks to model solution. It was an extremely difficult paper to do online) and on paper)

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    12. Paper C was far too long and complicated. Even novelty attacks were very extensive this year and took alot of work.

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      1. The baseline they use is how the paper was done overall. If many candidates had the same problems, they will take it into account indirectly as they look at what large groups handed-in.

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    13. Did you get the chance to look at paper C this year Pete.

      My view is that it is worse than the 2018 Cow paper. The split did not help and the length was certainly far too long with a very complex subject matter to deal with.reading all prior art at the start in absence of some claims also lead to confusion.

      I suspect they will have to consider alternatives this year.

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      1. Hi Sane. No, I did not get chance yet. But, it is clear they did not split the paper properly - the promised intention was to reduce the prior art in part 1 and add documents in Part 2.
        They actually made B and C more difficult compared to Mock2.

        Delete
      2. I would go one step further Pete, they were impossible to do within the time given. Paper B was impossible to do within 3.5 hours.

        Paper C was just as bad and many candidates ran out of time and did a rushed job of it.

        Delete
      3. Yes, they were impossible to finish for many people, but the committees still have to decide what they will require for >50 marks. They do this process every year - if you do past papers, you already see the result of those decisions in the compendium.
        But you are exactly right about the length as that determines the minimum time you need just to read the exam - that should not have increased so much for B and C. I don't understand why they cannot set a maximum word count for each committee (D is relatively consistent, I think).

        Delete
      4. I also don't understand why the papers this year are particularly lengthy. Its not always about the word count though, the subject matter and complexities of diagrams, definitions etc... should also be accounted for too.

        It feels that checks weren't adequately carried out, at least tested online this year.

        Delete
    14. Hi Pete, Do you think they will consider resetting the exam fee increment calculation for re-sitting a paper to be based on your results in 2021? currently, this is based on results in a paper achieved in 2010 or after

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      1. I don't see why. Was there some kind of announcement relating to this?

        Delete
    15. This year exams are a complete write off. I was surprised by the significant change in framework especially for papers B and C and to some extent, for paper A too.

      I've done all the mocks but I did not expect the the papers this year to be so bad. I would have thought they would have made better adaptation of the papers to go online with the current wiseflow format.

      The consequence of the lack of adaption is that I suffered immensly with the papers online. Its dissapointing after cancellation of EQE 2020 too. I will probably end up retaking again next year and put my family to go through the pain

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    16. It's a disaster for me this year too with papers B and C. f I do see any improvements in wiseflow or an attempt at better adaption of Papers online then perhaps I will Walk away from the profession. I can't bear putting myself in agony again due to the experience of last week and don't want to do the same to my family again too

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    17. Best is to wait and see how they take this into account in the marking. You cannot compare your experience during the actual exams with past papers - course materials are all updated each year and you have a compendium where they have already decided what was needed for passing when doing that paper.
      The C exam suffered from being split, but they can decide which attacks get marks and how many. It is not important whether you can get 100 marks - it is important whether you can get into the 50 - 60 range (non-one needs more than 60 marks on any paper). On the C exam, you start with 0 marks and collect marks. The structure seemed a lot like C 2018, which a lot of people complained about after doing it, but the passing rates of C 2018 & C 2019 were very similar.
      See here for Joeri Beetz's statistics website

      I don't think A exam was much more difficult than A 2018, so I expect a similar passing rate.
      The B exam seemed to have been designed to be more difficult with the LockDown Browser restrictions, so I think that will be the hardest to predict. B in particular has everything structured around one solution, so if you are on the "wrong" path, you dont have anything to support your arguments.

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      1. The way A was written this year was quite confusing with conflicting/contradictory statements.

        It seems to be that the committees haven't taken into account the new format or adequately checked the papers sufficiently this year.

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      2. The way A was written this year was very confusing/contradictory. It appears to me that the papers were not sufficiently adapted to online format and were inadequately checked were made to the papers.

        Delete
    18. Let's hope the distribute more marks for novelty attacks on paper C. Novelty attacks this year were not straight forward

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    19. Of course candidates are very grateful that the EQE went ahead, but "doing your best" should still guarantee a certain minimum quality. It is a professional qualification, critical for future careers.
      I am sure the D1-part 1 issues will be taken into account.
      But no-one who can state with a straight face that Wiseflow, LD Browser and Zendesk was a good solution. It was cobbled together in the last weeks (Zendesk invigilators were not allowed to speak because it would be registered as "second voice" in the room by the AI, and candidates had to check every 20 mins whether they were still logged in to Zendesk due to the automatic timeout). The info on the website was updated just days before the exam.
      If the individual struggles of candidates are also taken into account in the marking (also "doing their best"), then it does not matter what the official press releases say. Flexibility should work both ways.

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    20. Some lessons learned and looking to the future:
      It is only "when the tide goes out that you see who's been swimming naked". An enormous effort behind the scenes could not prevent cracks appearing. Just a few long-standing issues that may have played a role: no effective communication with most candidates, secrecy and little transparency about every aspect of the exam and organization, just enough volunteers to make the exams, few real limits for each paper in what can be asked, length and style, no effective way to assist those with En/Fr/Ge as a 2nd language, internal politics etc. Normally, these are compensated by a lot of flexibility in the marking, and that will be repeated this year. So, anyone well-prepared who generated a reasonable answer has a good chance (as in all other years).
      But moving forward, the e-EQE project should be highly visible, so that candidates know what to expect (platform + content) and can properly prepare. Using new possibilities, the content should be better defined, and more relevant to daily work. And remove overlap in testing and preparation (candidates & committees). For example:
      Pre-Exam: only legal questions, covering procedural and substantive law. Drop Claims Analysis (covered extensively in A, B, C). Mix of multiple choice and "D1"-style questions to test D1 level of knowledge.
      Allow ME: A and ME: B to be taken anytime - either with Pre-Exam or Main Exam.
      ME: A (cut in half => reduce subject matter, mainly independent claims, less prior art)
      ME: B is ridiculous with client giving you claims. (Old format, cut in half => reduced subject matter, a few claims, less prior art)
      ME: D = current D2 (D1 is in Pre-Exam) + basic trademarks/designs and basic trade secrets. Expand basic foreign knowledge (JP, US) to include CN, KR.
      ME: C has much repetition in attacks. (cut in half => fewer claims, fewer documents) and add proper infringement)

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      1. I would agree with most of this Pete. I would argue that if there is D then there is not really a point for pre EQE. Many candidates last year got given an automatic pass so you may wonder why it is an exam in the first place.

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      2. I think these suggestion are excellent! Especially shortening papers A and B should be fairly simple by leaving out some of the details that aren't really relevant for anything except to add complexity. The same goes for paper C where there has over the last few years been several times where there is a minute detail that's only mentioned once in one of the annexes which can completely throw off your attacks on several claims (e.g. cows wading in a river was pretty far fetched...). Dropping a couple of claims and annexes would still test the knowledge just as well.

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    21. I think what is clear from the papers set this year is that examiners thought they can get away with putting more content in the papers since candidates are using the online format. Look at paper B as a perfect example of "overloading" the paper to fill out the 3.5 hours. The exam should only be 3 hours and doing the exams online were much harder this year due to formatting difficulties and lack of functionality.

      I believe that had they tested papers A, B and C with real testers, then B and C will have needed to be adapted/reduced the content and A needed to be rewritten slightly to remove conflicting statements in the client letter.

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    22. Riccardo Tencini.March 31, 2021 at 8:49 AM

      Dear Pete, and fellow candidates. With the post-eEQE break now almost a month long, I would like to ask your opinion on the following question: Some firms, if not most, use the EQE not only as a prerequisite for attorney positions but already beforehand as a measure of professional development. Given that this year's eEQE was highly experimental, and in my view, significantly more difficult than in the past due to a combination of technical and conceptual issues, is it possible somehow to formulate a kind of disclaimer in order to compensate for lost earnings or the barrier to a higher position? If yes, how could such disclaimer be formulated? Thanks for your replies!

      ReplyDelete