From a message sent this afternoon by New York State Bar Association President Seymour James, Jr.:
Throughout the affected areas, we anticipate a great need for assistance with legal issues related to FEMA applications, insurance, real estate matters, and other general legal matters, such as replacing missing wills and other documents. The State Bar is developing a training session for attorneys on disaster relief issues that will be webcast and archived for later viewing, in hopes that this resource will assist attorneys and local bar associations in their efforts to assist affected individuals. I strongly encourage all of our members to consider taking advantage of this training, to become better equipped to provide pro bono services to people in need of assistance in the wake of the storm. We will provide an update and additional details about the training as soon as they are finalized.
In addition, the NYSBA Lawyer Referral and Information Service has created a dedicated number (1-800-699-5636) for people in need of help, and is currently recruiting attorneys to provide free telephone consultations to individuals affected by the storm. There is a particular need for attorneys with insurance, landlord/tenant, co-op and condo, or FEMA appeals experience, as well as those who can handle general practice matters. If you are able to help, please visit www.nysba.org/DisasterVolunteerSandy and complete a volunteer form.
We are also providing a free non-accredited informational video on emergency preparedness strategies for attorneys. The program – Disaster Planning and Emergency Preparedness: Best Practices for Solos – was designed to help attorneys prepare for unforeseen crises that can jeopardize their practices and includes helpful information and steps to take following a disaster. The video will be available, free of charge, through the month of November. You can view it at: www.nysba.org/DisasterPlanningProgram.