It is hard to believe that yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the worst domestic attack in U.S. history. As images of that tragic day remain fresh in our minds, is it not only a time to remember what we lost, but also the good that has been done in the aftermath.
In this aftermath, Americans everywhere asked “What can I do to help?” The largest association of trial lawyers in America, The American Association for Justice (AAJ), was no different. The 19-member Executive Committee immediately began discussing how the law and the legal profession could aid thousands of victimized families. Within hours, a plan of action had begun; the largest private civil pro bono (free) program in the history of American law known as Trial Lawyers Care (TLC).
Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) made free legal services possible to any family seeking help through under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. More than 1,100 lawyers volunteered from every state, six Canadian Provinces, as well as England, Mexico, and Australia. In the end, TLC counseled 4,000 families, from 35 states and 11 countries, and provided pro bono representation to more than 1,700 who applied for federal financial help. The average death award was more than $2 million, the average injury award was nearly $50,000, the value of the pro bono legal services provided exceeded $300 million dollars, and the hours donated by attorneys totaled more than 100 years. Nearly 100 percent of the families of deceased victims participated. Within 2 ½ years all cases were closed, the families fully paid. It was truly an example of how the legal profession can work together, and with the public, to make a positive difference.
Trial lawyers are often times an easy target for negative publicity, but they are a community that cares. This has been demonstrated not only with this massive pro-bono effort, but again when the worst natural disaster hit our shores in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. TLC raised over $342,000, 100% of which went directly to local relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These efforts truly reflect the very best of what our legal profession does for the American people and I am proud to be a member of this community.
Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.