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August 29, 2023

American Bar Association mobilizing lawyers to respond to Maui wildfires

CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2023 — The American Bar Association is mobilizing lawyers to provide legal services to the victims of the Maui wildfires.

A telephone hotline -- (888) 533-2773 -- has been activated to connect victims in qualifying counties who cannot afford an attorney to lawyers who can respond to disaster-related legal issues. Survivors can call the hotline from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. local time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to receive legal information and referrals to partners.

“The ABA is assisting with the legal needs that so often arise after these natural disasters, including FEMA financial benefits, insurance claims and consumer issues such as contractor fraud,” said ABA President Mary Smith.

Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Hawaii State Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, the Disaster Legal Services Program of the ABA Young Lawyers Division is providing legal assistance for issues including:

  • Re-doing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster
  • Price gouging, scams or identity theft
  • Landlord or tenant problems, or threats of foreclosure
  • Disability-related access to federal, state and local disaster programs

Lawyers interested in providing assistance can also consult the Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal, an online resource with opportunities to address legal issues arising from natural disasters or donate to an ABA fund to deploy pro bono attorneys to provide immediate and long-term legal services to help Maui survivors rebuild their lives.

Since September 2007, the YLD has responded to almost 300 declared disasters in 45 states and five U.S. territories.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Maui devastated by the wildfires,” Smith said. “Lawyers stand ready to help and will be there for those affected by this tragedy.”

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.