Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner Sheila L. Birnbaum has been tapped by the U.S. Justice Department to run the fund that will be used to compensate ground zero workers who claim they are suffering illnesses as a result of their work in the wreckage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. “Sheila Birnbaum brings extensive experience, credibility and unique insight to this important role,” Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday in making the announcement. “She has worked closely with, and won the trust of, the families of 9/11 victims with whom she worked. I know that under her direction, the fund will be administered in a manner that is sensitive and fair to those who have suffered so much” from the attacks.

Ms. Birnbaum previously served as the mediator in lawsuits brought by families of the victims of the attacks, working to reach a settlement of $500 million for nearly 100 families of victims of the attacks. “My first priority will be to sit down with the people who will be most affected by the program, and see how we can design a program that is fair, transparent and easy to navigate,” Ms. Birnbaum said in the Justice Department statement announcing her appointment. “The fund needs to get up and running quickly. At the same time, I want to make sure we do it right.”

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