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Article Comment & Recollections of 911


Michael L. Rustad

I would like to add my recollections about 9/11. I teach at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. I first learned about the first plane crash while listening to the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC). I was standing next to our Associate Dean when the second airplane crashed into the second tower. We conferred with the Dean about whether school should be cancelled. Suffolk cancelled classes for the remainder of the day.

I took the subway to Braintree, Massachusetts. The subway was running very slowly and I had a sinking feeling that the subway was a possible terrorist target. Later, we learned that Boston was a site of terrorist cells and the doomed flights originated in Boston.

Our law school held classes the next day and there certainly was a dark cloud over us. The wounds of this attack were so fresh that it was difficult to discuss the legal issues. I told my first year torts class that the rule of law must prevail. I told them of my friends who had been working on arrest warrants and search warrants all night. I told them that law school was a perfect place to be the morning after the attack.

I was asked to give a talk at our law school on September 9, 2001 and I was finally able to examine the implications of 9/11 on lawyers and the legal professionals in a dispassionate way.

Our law school is sponsoring an all day conference on the Victim's Compensation Fund for 911 on November 1, 2002. Kenneth Feinberg, Administrator of the Fund, Leo Boyle (former President of ATLA) and leading academics will discuss the response of the government to the victims of the terrorist attacks. Our conference is the Thomas F. Lambert Jr. Conference on Mastering the New Tort Compensation Systems. Michael L. Rustad Thomas F. Lambert Jr. Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts