The Legal Aid Society and 230 Law Firm/Corporate Partners Assist Low-Income New Yorkers Devastated by Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

  • The Legal Aid Society

Legal Aid staff helping Coney Island residents

Legal Aid staff helping Coney Island
residents with FEMA and emergency
food stamp applications.


During Hurricane Sandy and in the immediate aftermath, managers, staff attorneys and support staff of The Legal Aid Society provided extraordinary services to low-income New Yorkers. Legal Aid Society staff, using personal tablets and cell phones, assisted public housing residents with FEMA and emergency food stamp applications and other legal needs in Red Hook, Coney Island, the Rockaways, the Lower East Side and Staten Island. Law firm and corporate volunteers quickly complemented this effort, traveling with staff to devastated neighborhoods that had neither power nor heat.  By November 28, 2012, the Society’s staff and pro bono partners had assisted thousands of families and individuals through The Legal Aid Society’s Mobile Justice Unit, in the evacuation shelters and hotels, and at FEMA and community sites in the affected communities. 

To augment on-site assistance, The Legal Aid Society converted its Access to Benefits Hotline into a Disaster Relief Hotline to assist individuals with answering specific disaster related questions pertaining to, but not limited to; FEMA, housing, insurance, benefits, employment, education and health related legal issues.  Supervised by Legal Aid staff, volunteers from the private bar have answered hundreds of calls from disaster-affected residents.  A number of individual firms have committed to staff for the hotline on an ongoing basis, adopting a day of the week that their attorneys will volunteer into December, and longer should the need continue.  In addition, The Legal Aid Society’s Community Development Project and representative law firms from its Advisory Board, have focused on assisting small businesses in Red Hook and Coney Island.

The following law firms and corporate partners have made exemplary efforts in aiding the Legal Aid Society in providing Disaster Relief.  They are: BNY Mellon; Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP; Chadbourne & Parke LLP; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Covington & Burlig LLP; Davis Polk & Wardwell LLPP; Dechert LLP; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Friedman Kaplan Seidler & Adelman LLP; Goodwin Procter LLP; Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Kaye Scholer LLP;  Kasowitz, Benson, Torres, Friedman LLP; Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; Kramer Levin, Naftalis & Frankel LLP; Latham & Watkins LLP; Millbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP;  Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Proskauer Rose LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Shearman & Sterling; Simpson Thactcher & Bartlett LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Strook & Strook & Lavan LLP; Weil LLP; White & Case LLP; Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Door LLP.