Inside Big Tobacco's Secret War Room

For years, a hush-hush committee of lawyers mapped the strategy that led to disaster

Early on the morning of Sept. 10, 1981, 13 of the tobacco industry's most powerful lawyers assembled in a conference room at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke, high above the Rockefeller Center skating rink in midtown Manhattan. Although they were at war in the marketplace, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, Liggett Group, and Lorillard Tobacco each sent at least one attorney to the secret meeting. Also on hand were partners from some of the industry's most trusted outside law firms, including Shook, Hardy & Bacon and Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan.

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