Bar Associations and Legal Services Organizations Collaborate on Providing Pro Bono Legal Services for Hurricane Sandy Relief

Leaders of New York City bar associations and legal services organizations met today to collaborate on providing free legal services to Hurricane Sandy victims. The groups will collaborate on three important areas: 1. Information – and ProBono.Net will share disaster-relief information online, with LawHelp focusing on the individuals affected and ProBonoNet on lawyers who wish to volunteer. 2. Training – There will be increased need for training, particularly in areas such as insurance and FEMA, and the bar associations will assist in hosting trainings in these areas. 3. Service – There was a recognition that the areas affected will need to be reached on a local level. The groups committed to organizing large pro bono legal clinics in hard-hit communities in the weeks ahead. In the longer term, the groups plan to set up a series of additional community-based clinics and seek pro bono assistance in staffing the clinics, which might cover such matters as replacing public benefits, disaster unemployment insurance, FEMA, foreclosure, insurance denials and other claims. Today’s meeting was facilitated by the City Bar Justice Center and involved leaders from two City Bar Committees—Insurance and Pro Bono and Legal Services—as well as leaders of the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, LawHelpNY, Lawyers Alliance for New York, Legal Services for New York City, New York County Lawyers’ Association, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, ProBonoNet, The Legal Aid Society, and Volunteers of Legal Service.