“Hi, I’m Erin Brockovich. The real one, which is a strange thing to say. I have to start everything with ‘Hi, I’m Erin Brockovich not Julia Roberts.’ So I am the real Erin Brockovich that a film was made about 20 years ago, what, this coming March, that starred Julia Roberts.
I go back a long way with Weitz & Luxenberg. And I have really personal stories. And what was most important to me, in the firms that I would work with, especially after the Hinckley situation and my long-term relationship with that firm. And I knew it was important to the people who had been victims of a corporate cover-up and poisoned. And when the leader of that firm passed away, I just never thought I’d find that person again. And, I got to know Weitz & Luxenberg.
So I was in New York, and I came up, and my mother had just passed away. And I didn’t want to come up and my dad said, ‘You need to go, this is what your mom would want, and do your trip, and you’ll be home in three days for the funeral.’
Well, there was a huge winter storm. So the first day, we couldn’t get to Chicago to get home – all flights were cancelled. So it’s like, ‘Don’t Panic’ and you’ll get home the next day. We ran into the same problem. It was one of those big Nor’easters y’all get. And couldn’t get out of JFK, and the delays with JFK.
It just got to the point where I was not, I was gonna to miss my mom’s funeral. And Weitz & Luxenberg said ‘No, you’re not and we’re gonna make sure. We understand the importance of family and get you a plane out of a smaller airport. So we can get you out of here and get you home.’ And they did.
I got to my mom’s funeral about an hour before it started. And that meant everything to me. That they appreciated, and they understood, and they valued somebody’s feelings, the loss of a parent, the importance of a family.
And that was the day I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna be attached to you forever, whether you like it or not.’ [laughs] And that’s who they are. And that means a lot to me.
And it means a lot to me and the community. That they know who’s representing them in something that… is about their health, their welfare, loss of life, loss of land. And their… they do that. They, they are with me, they are with them, boots-on-the-ground as I call it. And it’s essential to be that.
And you, you can say you can be that kind of firm – but that’s who they are they – there’s a difference. And you can’t just sit in the ivory tower and call it out as a law firm, and how things are gonna go.
And I, I can tell you over the years – Robin Greenwald – everywhere we’ve been, she’s boots-on- the-ground. She makes that connection with the people and it’s all about establishing trust. From the huge BP oil spill – she and I were down there for weeks together. And she was there every day, present, and had her own family – to the TVA coal ash spill that happened forever ago.
I mean she was there, on the ground, meeting the people, hearing the people, understanding the people. What the law firm could do, what they couldn’t do. She’s honest, she’s transparent.
The Aliso Canyon gas leak spill out here, again, on the ground. And that is the thing that is so critical, that keeps me with Weitz & Luxenberg, people with Weitz & Luxenberg.
Because they just get it – they have a true sense of justice. And the value of family and the value of this in the environment and the people and being able to see them, touch them, hear them, feel them, experience it. That is a trust-building process. And that’s who they are. And that’s why all these years, I’m certainly still here.
I’ve been 25 years down on the ground in communities. It is about respecting them, understanding them, listening to them. And they don’t just sit in an office in New York or L.A. and talk to you on the phone – they’re there.”