Here at Turley, Hansen & Partners, it all starts with the first phone call. Watch the video above to get a sense of who our lawyers really are.  I spent over an hour on the phone this morning with a widow whose husband recently died of 9/11 related colon cancer. He was a volunteer fireman who traveled  from  five states  over on September 12, 2001 to help with rescue and recovery efforts at to Ground Zero. A real hero.

Our client was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 48, and he was only 52 at the time of his death. The aggressive chemotherapy he received to treat his cancer caused a host of other serious health problems which caused as much, if not more, pain and suffering as the cancer. He and his wife had been married almost 30 years when he died.

The widow had some basic questions about being appointed the “Personal Representative” so that she could receive the balance of her husband’s Group A award and file for a new death claim.  But as we talked I could tell she was still in tremendous pain from the loss of her soul mate.  I listened as she told me how hard it was for her to write out a “Victim Impact Statement” but that she wanted me to  read it so that I could understand their story.

After her husband’s diagnosis, it seemed like the world began crumbling around them (including losing their home).  Yet they still had each other to lean on until his death this spring. Now, with her children grown and married, she felt completely alone.  I wasn’t able to solve any of the heartbreaking problems she faces today, but I was able to listen when she needed it.

The widow’s Victim Compensation Fund claim is fairly straight forward from a legal perspective.  But our discussion this morning reminded me that I had another role as a 9/11  Victim Compensation lawyer. When I was admitted to the New York State Bar over 25 years ago, I took the oath as both an “Attorney and Counselor at Law”. Often times we attorneys only focus on our advocacy role and forget about our  role as a “Counselor at Law”. Today, I needed to remember that dual role when I spoke to my client’s widow.

So when you are trying to choose a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund lawyer, remember to consider whether the “Attorney and Counselor at Law” will pick up the phone himself and listen first, then talk. You will be glad you did.