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PEACE ON EARTH: In the first (real) week of a new millennium, one appropriate person to whom we all could listen is New York lawyer Charles Moxley Jr. Moxley recently published an 800-page book, “Nuclear Weapons and International Law in the Post-Cold War World.” It contends that the U.S. government’s reliance on nuclear deterrence is hypocritical — and illegal. Moxley, a lawyer at Kaplan, Kilsheimer & Fox, rests his case against nuclear arsenals by noting that U.S. leaders have acknowledged (1) that the use of nuclear weapons is uncontrollable and (2) that threatening to use uncontrollable weapons violates international law. He concludes that the country’s leaders should promote the regulation of nuclear weapons, as they have done with biological and chemical weapons. Moxley knows that making this fresh start requires an imaginative leap. “In the absence of overt crisis, it is up to lawyers and the legal press to cause this issue to be re-examined,” he said. Indeed, he’s pretty lawyerly about the whole matter; a reader couldn’t find the phrase “world peace” once in the book. HOW MR. SMITH GOT THERE: A spell of “car butt” for Joel H. Smith of Columbia, S.C.’s Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has brought Christmas laurels. Smith, a defense lawyer for Ford Motor Co., was supposed to settle a first set of sport utility vehicle rollover death suits on Dec. 22. But his flight got cancelled, and with neither train nor plane seats open, he rented a car and drove for seven hours. Longtime Ford nemesis Bruce Kaster told the Associated Press after he settled six cases with Smith that he was surprised to see that the Ford attorneys “spend half an hour just talking to your clients like a sensitive human being instead of corporate defense lawyers,” and praised Smith for his dedication to getting there. Smith chose to fly home. HAPPY SQUADS: Could it be that 4 percent of the best places to work in this country are law firms? That’s what Fortune magazine says. Its annual ranking has Palo Alto, Calif.’s Fenwick & West, chaired by Gordon Davidson, as the 7th most employee-friendly outfit around, while Atlanta’s Alston & Bird (24th) and San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison (84th) and McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (97th), also ranked. Fenwick’s magic? Lawyers stay at the firm’s time-share in Utah or Hawaii and fly there on the firm’s tab. Staffers, meanwhile, got complimentary DVDs and other goodies in April. Can the firm improve? Sure. “We’ve thought about having partners man the receptionist desk,” said human resources chief Cheri Vaillancour. Ever the big-city law firm, New York’s Chadbourne & Parke recently announced that it donated funds to Food for Survival and other charities during the gift-giving season. To claim its own employees’ hearts, the firm celebrated solstice by passing around 6,000 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in its three U.S. offices. Did operating partner Charles O’Neill get any objections from weight-conscious employees as he delivered the donuts? “I remember one person said to me, ‘Oh, just what I needed.’ ” Incidentally, the firm pays half the cost of an associate’s gym membership. PALIMONY, WITHOUT THE SEX:The ailing 59-year-old sister of Chicago Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has sued him for $5 million in a Los Angeles court. The claim: breach of contract. She alleges that Michael Jordan’s ex-boss pledged to his dying mother that he would support his sibling for the rest of her life. Marvin Michelson filed the “palimony without the sex” suit.

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