Tag Archives: 911 Victims compensation fund

Remembering 911: The ” Jersey Girls” Who Changed My Life and the Lives of Many Others

Braun: Sept. 11 ‘Jersey Girls’ mostly leave high-profile activism to others these days | NJ.com

Like so many people in our area, the tragic events of 911 changed me forever.

This past Sunday I  read the article in the Star Ledger about the ” Jersey Girls.”

 I spent many days and nights with the Jersey Girls in connection with representing thier families in the 911 Victim’s Compensation Fund.

These are extraodrinary people and American heroins.

We met at their homes, mostly. They arranged for me to meet other families

at similar gatherings. They quickly learned the

regulatory process and made their presence known to countless Senators

and Congressional delegates. They were truly a force to be reckoned

with. With their help, we were able to shape the regulations and

get the word out to numerous deserving families.

The families wanted answers. They wanted to know why this

happened, if there was any forewarning, and what could be done

in the future to prevent another such incident. They pressed for a

commission to investigate. They were relentless in their pursuit.

They had the cell phone numbers of many members of Congress

and did not hesitate to keep on the pressure. Ultimately, the 9/11

Commission was appointed and chaired by former Governor Tom

Kean. The efforts of the Jersey Girls were a big reason for the Commission

and the final report which bolstered our security.

Ultimately, I personally represented all but one of the Jersey

Girls before Kenneth Feinberg, who was in charge of administering

the 9-11 Compensation Fund. In order to prepare for the hearings,

I leamed everything there was to know about their families. My mis·

sion had become to make sure that I secured enough compensation

so that the children in these families would be able to have the

things their deceased fathers and mothers dreamt they should have,

keep their homes, afford college, etc. As part of the process, I made

a movie to present about each family, their love, their loss, etc. It

was my job to make sure Mr. Feinberg understood these issues. We

were not talking about numbers or statistics. We were talking about

people. Statistics, after all, are people with the tears wiped away.

At the same time, other lawyers from all over the country were

doing the same thing. When the process was over, the lawyers from

Trial Lawyers Care had secured billions of dollars in compensation

and never took a single penny of compensation. It was the greatest

project I ever participated in as a lawyer, I learned so much from

these women. I learned about life, love, perseverance, and the power

of resolve to make a difference in the world.

Most ofthe families have moved on with their lives, Many have

moved. Some stay in touch. This was a very painful time and many

have chosen to close as many of those doors as possible in order to

protect themselves from the horrors of that day.

For me, I will never be the same. I am so proud of all the

lawyers who helped us. When I hear lawyer jokes, I think of the

lawyer from South Dakota who left his practice and moved to New

York for two years to do nothing but help his fellow Americans and

the hundreds of others who made similar sacrifices,