Sexual Assault Case Testimonial- “I met Elizabeth Grace and Gillian Hnatiw in person….they epitomized the best of professionalism, efficiency, as well as appropriate personal sensitivity”
“A friend recommended Elizabeth Grace and Lerners to me in the spring of 2006 when she heard I was looking for a lawyer. The year before I had been sexually assaulted by the superintendent of the building where I lived, who used his keys to enter my apartment in the middle of the night and attack me with a knife. The criminal trial was coming up, and I wanted legal advice about how to proceed, knowing I may want to consider a civil suit, but not knowing much about what that would entail. My life had been drastically affected by this assault; I lost my housing, my job, dropped out of graduate school, could not sleep or find equivalent work, and felt socially, practically and emotionally disconnected from the life I used to have. I did not have many personal or financial resources and felt disempowered and very frightened about the future, which was a dark and exhausting unknown.
I met Elizabeth Grace and Gillian Hnatiw in person shortly after hearing of Lerners and from our first meeting on, they epitomized the best of professionalism, efficiency, as well as appropriate personal sensitivity. I was anxious and nervous about proceeding, and they explained each step fully and clearly, explaining the potential implications of each facet of my situation for the suit, as well as what was and was not under anyone’s control. They were sympathetic and realistic. We proceeded despite the fact that I was not able to offer a retainer. Based on my interest, at one sensitive point Gillian offered extremely helpful reading material above and beyond what would have been strictly required, which not only helped make the process more transparent to me, but contributed to an excellent and even empowering learning experience. This has given me a better understanding of the Canadian legal system and the importance of how it works in relation to social issues such as violence. My experience helped lessen a sense of an arbitrary, violent and frightening society for women, women of color, young women and truly others of all stripes; but it also opened my eyes even more to the critical importance of the kind of work Elizabeth and Gillian do.
Elizabeth and Gillian worked together highly efficiently to resolve my claim outside of court with a solid resolution that has helped me move forward with my life. Both the experience of going through the civil suit, and the material security of the resolution, have helped me slowly redevelop a sense of being able to take care of myself and pursue my personal and professional goals. Since then, I have married and we are expecting our first baby. We are looking forward to moving into our new house soon. With careful planning and budgeting I hope to return to school in a few years. I hope to live a life in which I can work towards fulfilling my professional potential. Each of these steps was made easier because of my experience with Lerners, the legal path they carefully mapped out with me, and their approach approach to their work.”
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