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It didn’t seem like glorious work at the time. Back when the Connecticut’s litigation against Big Tobacco seemed like a long shot, it may have seemed almost pointless. Carmody & Torrance associate Naomi B. Graubard got the chilly assignment of flying off to Minnesota in January and February of 1997 to help sift through 33 million pages of the defendants’ documents. “For what the rewards turned out to be, it definitely was worth the effort,” says Graubard. She was aided by Peter Dryer, formerly of Stamford’s Silver, Golub & Teitell. Stephen R. Park and William Rubenstein of the state AG’s office also worked for weeks in the document mine, a huge haystack, with few needles. In the frozen north, they got up and came home in darkness. Things got a lot brighter, though. In November 1998, the states negotiated a stunning $206 billion national settlement. It included a separate $8.6 billion “strategic contribution fund” to be split up as a merit bonus for extra legal work done by a few states for the many. Minnesota’s lawyers didn’t get much help “with the grueling task of sorting out the important documents from the mass of irrelevant paper.” For months, nobody came, “and in the end, out of the thirty-nine states that would eventually file suit, only Connecticut and Washington lent a hand.”

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