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STATEMENT OF LAUREL BELLOWS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
Re: Disaster-Related Resources as Hurricane Sandy Hits US
The American Bar Association joins the nation in expressing concern for the safety and well-being of all who are affected by Hurricane Sandy. The ABA also stands ready to coordinate volunteer assistance for survivors with legal needs and provide disaster-related resources for lawyers.
Sample disaster plans and information on safeguarding records and serving clients and the public, both before and after disaster strikes, are available at www.americanbar.org/disaster. The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Disaster Initiative also provides a series of podcasts, teleconferences and live programs that address issues arising out of disasters such as preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. And the ABA Law Practice Management Section is offering a free webzine that focuses on emergency preparedness and response
After immediate safety needs are established and recovery operations are underway, the ABA Young Lawyers Division, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will coordinate volunteer lawyers for Disaster Legal Services’ toll-free hotlines for survivors who cannot afford a lawyer. Disaster-related legal issues involve areas such as bankruptcy, contract and contractor problems, landlord/tenant, wills and insurance. The ABA urges lawyers to let their communities know of this program and volunteer as their jurisdictions allow.
The ABA also is a participating organization in the National Disaster Legal Aid website. The site provides information for lawyers who want to volunteer or donate to legal aid programs, and it serves as a resource for individuals affected by a disaster who are looking for legal assistance and help in dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.
All ABA members also receive a discount on the services of Agility Recovery, whose experts work with lawyers to develop disaster plans and, should disaster strike, help law practices get back up and running.
The ABA’s Chicago headquarters remains in full operation as its D.C. offices are closed Monday and Tuesday. Staff continues to be in contact with ABA members as they closely monitor the storm and its effect on meetings, programming, member services and other operations.
For more information contact: Ira Pilchen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-988-5743.