Hurricane Sandy Legal Relief Efforts
The New York legal aid and pro bono community is providing direct services to those most affected, including filing for FEMA and Disaster Unemployment Insurance benefits, answering immigration status questions, documenting and filing insurance claims, and addressing many other legal needs of individuals and small businesses. We know from experience with past disasters that these legal needs are just starting; they will evolve and become more complex in the months ahead. As the community coordinates long-term plans to ensure that people who need legal services can access them in their communities, here are some ways you can stay involved and help out. Please join the NYC Pro Bono Center (http://www.probono.net/ny/nyc/jointhisarea/) to keep apprised of pro bono efforts as we move forward.
Disaster Assistance Training for Small Businesses
By: Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project
Storm-Related Legal Services Relief Webinar and Materials
By: New York Legal Assistance Group
Disaster Relief Advocacy and Appeals Webinar and Materials
By: New York Legal Assistance Group
Disaster Assistance Training and Manual for Pro Bono Lawyers Assisting Individuals and Families
By: Legal Services NYC, in collaboration with The Legal Aid Society and the City Bar Committee of Pro Bono and Legal Services
Hurricane Sandy Helping Handbook
By: Morrison & Foerster
Note: The New York City Bar also has numerous hard copies that organizations may request for distribution. Contact Dana Alamia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Legal Services Corporation, ABA Center for Pro Bono, NLADA and Pro Bono Net
- More disaster legal services training materials in the NYC Pro Bono Center Library.
CLINICS / VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
- The Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project seeks attorney volunteers for legal clinics in Belle Harbor. The clinics will take place Dec. 22 & 23 (11am - 3pm both days) at St. Francis De Sales Church. Email Charles Giudice at email@example.com to volunteer.
- NYSBA needs attorneys to volunteer for its Superstorm Sandy hotline. Volunteer attorneys will give brief legal consultations to Hurricane Sandy victims by phone. To sign up, visit www.nysba.org/disastervolunteersandy.
- As part of a citywide legal relief effort, volunteer attorneys from some of NYC's largest law firms, coordinating through the City Bar Justice Center, will provide pro bono legal counsel to small businesses and non-profits in the Rockaways on Tuesdays and Fridays (10am-4pm) from November 27, 2012 to December 21, 2012. Clinics take place in the Back Room of the Irish Circle Tavern. Contact Kevin Curnin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer.
For Long Island-based lawyers:
- The Touro Law School Storm Help Center in Central Islip is providing referrals, assistance and legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. To volunteer, please contact Thomas Maligno, Executive Director, Touro Law School Public Interest Center at email@example.com.
- Nassau/Suffolk Legal Services seeks volunteers to assist on Landlord/Tenant issues in District Court in Hempstead, where tenants affected by Hurricane Sandy are appearing in increasing numbers. The program operates Mondays through Thursdays from 9:30am to 1:30pm. Contact Roberta Scoll at 516-292-8100, x3115.
For New York City lawyers:
- New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has mobilized a legal aid disaster relief program to help victims of the storm deal with a range of legal issues. To volunteer to provide pro bono legal assistance with NYLAG, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Legal Aid Society is providing Sandy Relief legal assistance to residents in Red Hook, Staten Island, and other locations, and is looking for law firms to staff clinics. Please contact Emily Bormann at email@example.com to volunteer.
- Legal Services NYC is helping storm victims with emergency benefits applications, housing issues, insurance and immigration matters. To offer pro bono legal assistance to New Yorkers affected by the storm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include "Sandy Volunteer" in the subject line.
- Brooklyn Legal Services is seeking volunteer attorneys to staff legal clinics over the coming weeks. Register online.
- The Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project is staffing regular weekly clinics at multiple sites in Brooklyn to assist with disaster-related issues, and needs trained volunteers. To volunteer to staff a clinic, please email email@example.com or call 718-624-3894.
For New York state lawyers:
- The New York State Bar Association has created a toll-free hotline (1-800-699-5636) for callers with legal problems related to the storm. Callers receive a free legal consultation of up to 30 minutes from volunteer attorneys. NYSBA needs more hotline volunteers! To sign up, attorneys should visit www.nysba.org/DisasterVolunteerSandy or call 518-463-3200.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP
In addition to legal relief, there are of course many non-legal ways to contribute to the recovery effort. Numerous opportunities to volunteer can be found at http://www.nycservice.org and http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/.
We would also like to hear from you about other ways that we can serve the pro bono community and strengthen your efforts in this time of recovery -- please contact us with your news and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.