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City Bar Justice Center Holds Final September 11th Victims Compensation Fund Legal Clinic before October Filing Deadline

Friday, September 06, 2013

  • Organization: City Bar Justice Center

On August 21st, with the help of over 30 volunteers from firms and corporations around the city, the City Bar Justice Center held its final Victims Compensation Fund legal clinic before the October 3rd filing deadline. The Fund was reopened after President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, reactivating the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 that operated from 2001-2003. Sheila L. Birnbaum was appointed Special Master of the reopened Fund by the Attorney General, to provide compensation for any individual (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the events of September 11, 2001 or the debris removal efforts that took place in the immediate aftermath.

Since the Victims Compensation Fund opened on October 3rd, 2011, the City Bar Justice Center has offered ten legal clinics and assisted over 300 individuals in filing a claim with the Fund. The Special Master has offered her gratitude for all of the hard work of the Justice Center and the nearly 250 pro bono volunteers who have assisted claimants through these clinics. She writes:

Needless to say, this service could not be provided without the diligent aid and extraordinary commitment of the many law firms and pro bono attorneys in the New York Metropolitan Area who have been willing to give their time and expertise. The individuals filing claims have expressed much gratitude for the legal advice they received in filing their claims. In addition, pro bono coordinators from these law firms have been enormously helpful in recruiting the attorneys.

In particular, I would like to emphasize the value of this free legal service in increasing the possibilities of greater access to benefits and justice for claimants filing with the VCF. Enabling claimants to submit more complete and accurate claims enables the Fund to review the claims more efficiently, and to expedite the process for making awards to those eligible. The Justice Center has played a critical role as well in providing general information about the VCF and the claim filing deadlines.

The City Bar Justice Center is also very grateful to all the firms, corporations, and volunteer attorneys who provided pro bono assistance through the Justice Center clinics.

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