Disaster Legal Services: District Reps Learn How to Respond When Disaster Strikes

Volume 37, Number 1


Kara Johnson is the Associate Editor of The Affiliate and an Associate with the Bismarck, North Dakota, firm of Zuger Kirmis & Smith.

It seems like severe weather has caused disasters all over the country lately. When a major disaster happens, what can lawyers do to help their communities? Lawyers can be a major asset for their communities as volunteers with Disaster Legal Services.

What Is Disaster Legal Services?

Disaster Legal Services (DLS) is a program that was developed and is operated jointly by the ABA Young Lawyers Division and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When the President of the United States declares a “major disaster,” as defined under the Stafford Act, an evaluation is made by FEMA whether individual assistance is needed for disaster survivors in addition to community assistance. If individual assistance is triggered, one type that is offered is DLS.
DLS is a program designed to provide pro bono legal services to disaster survivors. These legal services are coordinated by FEMA and the ABA YLD through ABA YLD District Representatives (DRs).

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