Pro Bono News

Eye on the Storms: How the ABA Focuses on Disaster Legal Services

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Eye on the Storms: How the ABA Focuses on Disaster Legal Services

"What’s the first thing you think of when you hear: hurricane, typhoon, tsunami, earthquake, wildfire, or nor’easter? They’re all disasters. Your next thoughts would probably go towards the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and all the things you could possibly do to help in a time of need.

Do you know what you don’t think of?

You don’t think of the legal ramifications that accompany any disaster. You don’t think, “What happens if FEMA denies someone assistance?” or “What about a renter’s lease and security deposit if the rental unit is destroyed?” It’s okay. I didn’t think much of it either.

In fact, like you, I was today years old when I learned that the ABA has a Disaster Legal Services Program.

This year, the ABA’s 10th annual Pro Bono Week focuses on disaster resiliency. In an effort to bring more awareness to the Disaster Legal Services program, I had the chance to talk with Andrew VanSingel, a tax attorney, who volunteers his time as a Special Advisor to the Disaster Legal Services (DLS) team. Prior to his time as Special Advisor, Mr. VanSingel served as the program’s coordinator.

He was gracious enough to answer some questions about the program..."

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