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National trial lawyers’ convention spotlights pro bono help for Sept. 11 families

Noted Scranton firm represented six families

(6/29/2004) -- The June 15 end of the U.S. government's September 11 Victim Compensation Fund also marks the near-end of the largest pro-bono (free) legal representation program in American history, Trial Lawyers Care. More than 1100 trial attorneys from every state in the nation -- including Pennsylvania -- Canada, Mexico, England, and Australia helped more than 1,700 Sept. 11 victim families receive assistance from the compensation fund, all free of charge.

Each case represented approximately 100 hours - or more 2 1/2 weeks - of pro bono legal work.  Volunteer lawyers in the program contributed a total of more than 100 years of their professional time without charging fees.

For instance, the family firm of Munley, Munley & Cartwright in Scranton, Pa. represented a total of six Sept. 11 families.  Dan Munley was honored by the French government in March, 2004 for his volunteer legal work on behalf of the family of a man from France who was killed. With part of the compensation proceeds, the victim's widow, Dening Lohez, has established a scholarship fund in her husband's name for French students studying at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) national convention, held July 3-7 in Boston, will highlight the work of Trial Lawyers Care.  The opening plenary on Saturday night, July 3, will feature U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and 9/11Compensation Fund Special Master Kenneth Feinberg, who will be given ATLA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Facts about Trial Lawyers care:

  • Trial Lawyers Care, an organization founded by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, assists families of those who died and victims who were injured in the September 11, 2023 terrorists attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania by providing pro bono legal representation before the federal Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). 
  • Trial Lawyers Care represents victims from 35 states and 11 countries and volunteer lawyers have come from every state, three Canadian provinces, England, Mexico and Australia.
  • More than 3,600 families have requested TLC assistance, many of which were helped in a variety of ways including determination of their eligibility to file a claim and helping them file a claim on their own.  TLC currently represents 1,734 claimants before the Victim Compensation Fund.
  • TLC lawyers take clients through the entire claim process - from application to award.  This generally involves many discussions and meetings with claimants, gathering a multitude of documents - that often are placed in binders that are several inches thick - and determining the most effective approach for presentation to the hearing officer.  Cases often continue with ensuing estate and distribution proceedings.  Most cases consume more than 100 hours - and sometimes much more (500 hours in at least one case) - of the lawyers’ time … all volunteered without charge and often with a contribution of substantial out-of-pocket expenses.  It is estimated that trial lawyers will contribute more than 100 years of free legal representation to victims of that horrific day.
  • The quality of Trial Lawyers Care services is indicated by the results of representation through June 16, 2004: 285 death cases have resulted in awards from the Victim Compensation Fund totaling $613,647,200, for an average of $2,153,148 per claimant.  The average for victims not represented by TLC attorneys is $2,066,626, a difference of $86,522.  Total awards for claimants represented by TLC attorneys, including injured claimants, currently is almost three-fourths of a billion dollars, $710,268,859, and eventually is expected to exceed $2.2 billion.

For further information, contact:
John N. Bailey
Executive Director
Trial Lawyers Care
Telephone:  (917) 464-0105, extension 528
Fax:  (917) 464-0160
Email: [email protected]

You can also go to the Trial Lawyers Care website, www.911lawhelp.org

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