In the aftermath of last month’s hurricane, the ABA sprang into action to provide volunteer assistance to those with legal needs and disaster-related resources to lawyers.
“The American Bar Association joins the nation in expressing concern for the safety and well-being of all who are affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said ABA President Laurel Bellows, who issued a statement highlighting the ABA’s role in numerous programs that serve clients and the public both before and after disaster strikes.
The ABA Young Lawyers Division, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), immediately set up toll-free hotlines — 1-800-699-5636 (NY); 1-800-541-1900 (NJ) and 1-800-866-864-4464 (CT) — for low-income survivors who need legal assistance as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Since 2007, this ongoing ABA partnership with FEMA has provided free legal services in response to 103 disasters in 37 states and U.S. territories.
In addition to the YLD Disaster Legal Services Program, ABA ongoing disaster assistance efforts include:
- www.americanbar.org/disaster. Sample disaster plans and information on safeguarding records and servicing clients and the public before and after disasters;
- Disaster Initiative/Tort Trial and Insurance Section. Series of podcasts, teleconferences and live programs addressing issues arising out of disasters, including preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation.
- Webzine/Law Practice Management Section. Special edition focusing on emergency preparedness and response prepared in a joint effort with the ABA Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness.
- National Disaster Legal Aid Website. Provides information for lawyers who want to volunteer or donate to legal aid programs and serves as resource for individuals affected by a disaster who are looking for legal assistance.
- Agility Recovery. Provide discounts to ABA members to help them with disasters plans and to help law practices get back up and running following disasters.