Making a Difference

By Peter DePaolis

A single mom, working 10 hour days, barely making ends meet, and now…injured at work. In an instant, everything from getting to the doctor to keeping track of expenses to navigating a sea of forms has overwhelmed her life. Cases like these are why we are focused on making a difference.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. understands that legal assistance only scratches the surface of what many clients need. We know that for many of our clients, one late compensation payment can be an extreme hardship. We know that dealing with the complicated vocational rehabilitation process while coping with the pain and stress of an injury can feel like an enormous burden. We know that just arranging transportation to visit a doctor when you’re on crutches or in a wheelchair can seem too hard to coordinate. That’s why managing these and dozens of other details has become a key part of the long term commitment we make to our clients.

No two people better demonstrate the heart and soul of that commitment than our legal assistants Suzy Kelly and Betsy Berry. Betsy has been with our firm for 36 years and Suzy for 35. To honor the tireless efforts of employees like Suzy and Betsy, we have established the Joseph H. Koonz, Jr. Service Award, named for the founder of our Washington, D.C. personal injury law firm.

Celebrating Making a Difference with a Gift to Bread for the City

Just as Betsy and Suzy provide crucial help to our most vulnerable clients, Bread for the City brings critical services to Washington, D.C.’s most vulnerable residents in the form of food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services.

In November 2015, the firm made a $15,000 donation to Bread for the City in Suzy and Betsy’s honor. As Kristen Foti, Chief Development Officer of Bread for the City notes, “Since Koonz McKenney began supporting our organization and our poverty relief efforts in 1994, they have only grown in their generosity and compassion for the community we serve. We are grateful to count them as true friends.”

It’s All About Relationships

Every client should expect the very best legal representation, but few expect the extraordinary level of ongoing and long term personal attention and care they receive from Suzy and Betsy. Their typical day may include:

  • Gathering mileage, parking and medication expenses so clients will be fully reimbursed
  • Arranging transportation to take incapacitated clients to doctor, physical therapy and testing appointments
  • Counseling clients on vocational rehabilitation requirements to ensure checks are not cut off
  • Contacting insurance adjusters when compensation checks are late to speed up payment
  • Making sure job search restrictions are fair
  • Communicating with insurers responsible for unpaid medical bills to ensure payment and protect a client’s credit rating

In short, they are a strong, expert voice for our clients to keep benefits in place every step of the way. And while you’ll never meet two warmer, more empathetic women—you don’t want to be on the other end of the phone when they’re battling to get payments to our clients on time!

Expert Counsel with a Personal Touch

Betsy and Suzy reflect the values shared by every lawyer and member of the Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. team. At the heart of who we are and what we stand for is a passion to protect clients by providing not only excellent legal services, but also by building relationships. Our clients know their calls will be answered by a person, not a machine. They know we are happy to answer any question. They know we see them as people with one-of-a-kind problems, not as just another case.

Colleagues like Suzy and Betsy, and organizations like Bread for the City, inspire us to go the extra mile every day. As one client wrote to us, “We owe you so much for taking care of us and leading the way when times were tough. Money can’t buy that type of dedication. A person really has to love what they’re doing to do that type of job for their clients. We’re glad you are on our side.”

Contact our D.C. personal injury lawyers for a free consultation!

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.