Superstorm 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 the legal needs evolve and become more complex as the months pass. 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 to keep apprised of pro bono efforts as we move forward.
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES
**Use our FEMA Appeals automated document template to prepare a response letter to a denial of benefits by FEMA.**
By: NYC Bar Association, Anderson Kill, Pro Bono Net
By: New York Department of Financial Services
New Jersey: Handbook for Victims of Superstorm Sandy
By: McCarter & English
Providing Pro Bono Disaster-Related Assistance
By: Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, Brooklyn Legal Services
Sandy Disaster Assistance: FEMA Appeals and Private Insurance
By: City Bar Justice Center, Manhattan Legal Services, Pro Bono Net
Disaster Assistance Training for Small Businesses
By: Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Disaster Assistance Training for Pro Bono Lawyers
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 email@example.com.
PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES
For NYC-based lawyers:
- The Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project and City Bar Justice Center coordinate volunteer staffing for clinics on Thursdays from 10am - 3pm at the Coney Island FEMA site. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- The Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project coordinates volunteer staffing for clinics on Thursdays at the Arverne, Queens, FEMA site. Please email Mark Weliky at email@example.com for more information.
- Make the Road New York helps staff a legal clinic at the Occupy Sandy Relief Center on Staten Island on Sundays from 1-4pm. If you are an attorney who would like to volunteer at this clinic, please send an email to Sara Cullinane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Long Island-based lawyers:
- The Touro Law Center - Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team (TLC-HEART) in Central Islip is providing referrals, assistance and legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. Attorneys interested in volunteering should email Kristin Matthews at email@example.com or complete their volunteer form.
- 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.
- The Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA) needs attorneys to staff legal clinics that offer free consultations to all Nassau residents affected by Superstorm Sandy. Attorneys are sought to volunteer for consultations in the following areas: Insurance Claims, FEMA/SBA Assistance, Bankruptcy/Debt, Consumer Protection Issues (contractors, etc.), Landlord/Tenant, Foreclosure, and Health/ Disability/Personal Injury/Post-traumatic Stress Issues. Please contact Gale Berg at the NCBA 516.747.4070 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Upcoming clinics will take place:
- April 29 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., at the NCBA (Sandy)
For New York state lawyers:
- The New York State Bar Association needs more lawyers to volunteer for its toll-free hotline (1-800-699-5636) that assists callers with storm-related legal problems! Callers receive a free legal consultation of up to 30 minutes from volunteer attorneys. Volunteers with experience in the following areas are particularly needed: insurance, landlord/tenant, FEMA appeals, problems with contractors, and banking/mortgage company issues. To sign up, contact Eva Valentin-Espinal at email@example.com or visit www.nysba.org/DisasterVolunteerSandy.
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.
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.