Trial lawyers have a unique power. They have the training, resources, and willpower to stand up to those who have injured or wronged others, regardless of the opponent. Whether it’s a negligent hospital or nursing home, a careless property owner, or a massive corporation with a dangerous product, trial attorneys level the playing field, give victims a voice, and ensure that justice is served where it is due.
Maybe it’s the nature of their job — helping citizens through the worst times in their lives while continually ensuring a fair civil justice system — that makes so many trial lawyers continue their work after hours. It’s that calling to serve the public good that conceived Trial Lawyers Care, a nonprofit that has grown into a movement that encourages more and more attorneys to extend their work in civil justice to serve people in other ways.
Trial Lawyers Care came as an immediate response to the September 11th attacks, one that helped shape how the legal system would aid the thousands of families impacted by the terror attacks. Working with legislators, members of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) hammered out a plan for a compensation program and pro bono representation for the victims. President Bush then signed into law the legislation that created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and Trial Lawyers Care was launched to represent thousands of victims. More than 1,100 volunteers counseled 4,000 families from 35 states and 11 countries. They provided pro bono representation to more than 1,700 families who applied for federal financial help, dedicating a combined total of more than 100 years of service. It’s because of these attorney leaders that victims’ families were able to receive not just compensation, but also stellar legal representation when they needed it most — all at no cost to them.
But Trial Lawyers Care did not dissolve after that work ended. In fact, the committee gained momentum. It continues to give AAJ members opportunities to extend the work they do: giving the voiceless a voice and fostering well-being in the face of tragedy.
Below are a few more recent tasks that AAJ members have taken on to help their communities.
Helping Hurricane Dorian survivors: In September 2019, Searcy Denney, AAJ Trial Lawyers Care, and Schroeder Law Office PLLC set up an Amazon Wishlist of supplies to send to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
Spearheading a Chicago toy drive: Howard H. Ankin of Ankin Law Office launched Operation Holiday Drive in December 2018 to benefit Chicago families in need. Working with Another Chance Church, the firm organized six sites that collected 10,000 toys and distributed them at the Church before Christmas.
Bolstering college scholarships: The Freedland Harwin Valori firm sponsored the FHVLegal.com Golf Classic, which brought together more than 175 leaders in the community to address the needs of local students. In 2017, the participants raised approximately $150,000 which resulted in college scholarships to 50 students.
What was born out of tragedy has become a legacy that continues to inspire “doing well by doing good.”
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).