Reaching Out

september-11-flower-articleAn early task was informing victims that free representation was available. By December 2001, TLC had developed a comprehensive victim-outreach program.

TLC has also started  scheduling appearances at victims’ meetings and rallies and with support and advocacy groups. Literature in English, Spanish and Chinese explained TLC. The American Association for Justice produced op-ed articles in New York newspapers and developed a media plan to publicize the program.

Finding the SurvivorsBy the end of the claim-filing period two years later, TLC staff had distributed more than 6,000 victim information packets, attended over 200 meetings, linked information about TLC services to numerous Web sites and notified the New York City general consulate of every country that lost citizens on 9/11—and officials of every business or other entity that lost employees in the attacks—that free legal services were available.

Another early concern was the government regulations that would specify how claims would be filed and compensation awarded under the fund. To ensure that the regulations would not dilute the broad provisions of the statute that created the fund, TLC drafted a comprehensive set of proposed regulations and submitted them to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in early November. TLC engaged in lengthy negotiations over the regulations, first with DOJ and then, with Fund Special Master Kenneth Feinberg. DOJ issued interim regulations on December 21, but negotiations continued as final regulations were prepared. They were adopted on March 7, 2002, and, for the most part, were true to the intent of the law.

Congress tasked Attorney General John Ashcroft to select a special master to govern the fund.  When several politicians lobbied for the job, TLC urged Ashcroft to appoint a professional administrator. He made a masterful choice: On November 26, he appointed Feinberg, one of the nation’s top mediators.

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