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Philadelphia-area law school deans were among those nationally who devised a strategy to help the two New Orleans-based law schools place their students for the fall semester. As a result, local law schools will take dozens of students from both Tulane University Law School and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. Overall, the local legal community has quickly responded, offering money, fund-raisers, pro bono services and, in some instances, spots in the classroom. Villanova Law Dean Mark Sargent said the deans of accredited law schools from across the country communicate regularly through a listserv. After Katrina, e-mails began flying back and forth between legal educators about how to help the roughly 1,500 students left without a school. “Every law school in the country was prepared to do this,” Sargent said. Villanova Law agreed to take on non-matriculating students for the fall semester who have already paid tuition at either Tulane or Loyola and will re-evaluate their status for the spring semester. Sargent said state schools needed to receive permission from central administrators and the deans of Tulane and Loyola had to consent to release the students. To avoid students pitting one school against another, Sargent said Villanova Law coordinated with the law schools at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University. “We don’t want kids playing games,” Sargent said. “The first school you call, that’s where you go. We are not forcing someone to go somewhere they don’t want to go, but we don’t want to be pitted against one another.” Loyola will send its 1L students to the University of Houston but almost 1,200 other students from both schools will be spread around the country. Sargent said Villanova has received inquiries from 20 students and will probably end up with about 10. Because Villanova started classes almost two weeks ago, Sargent has asked faculty to conduct review sessions with the new students. In addition, the displaced students will also be assigned a student mentor, meet with Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Doris Brogan and financial aid officials. One potential problem with Loyola students is that the school has both civil and common law tracks. Pennsylvania law schools do not offer civil law curriculum, which would make it difficult for civil law students to transfer their studies to a local school. But a larger concern has been what to do if the students wish to stay at their new schools after the semester. “We’re going to have to decide how to handle that because that could destroy these institutions,” Sargent said. “And I know both schools plan on being up and going by the second semester.” Penn Law Dean Michael Fitts said his school has made it a condition for admittance to the displaced students that their stay will be for the first semester only. Fitts said Penn Law can accommodate up to 12 2L and 3L students and four 1Ls. “That’s all we can take because of renovations,” Fitts said. “We have received more applications than we can take.” Penn Law began classes yesterday and Fitts said he hoped to have new students in place by the end of the week. He said the new arrivals will have access to career planning staff during the fall recruiting season. Temple Law said it has received 14 inquiries and accepted two students, who will need to catch up because classes have been in session for three weeks. Dean Robert Reinstein said he has also invited some faculty from the two New Orleans schools and will be assisting displaced families that will be living temporarily in Philadelphia. Reinstein said the students will not be allowed to transfer to Temple Law but will have access to career planning, academic advisers and all other school facilities. He added that the students could have their stays extended if Tulane and/or Loyola are not ready to resume school for the spring semester. Rutgers University Law School-Camden said it has received inquires but no students have signed up for the semester. But Widener University Law School has agreed to take two students — one in Wilmington and one in Harrisburg. Many faculty and staff members have even offered to house these students at no cost while they attend Widener. Beyond law schools, other local leaders in the legal community are focusing on a number of efforts. Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Andrew Chirls said the association is studying what to do. He said its Web site has informed people how they can give money to a law-related release fund through the Louisiana Bar Association. It has also helped people plug into the American Bar Association’s project with an 800-number for free legal advice related to losses from the hurricane. And he said the association is also exploring with the city and local law schools to see if there are projects regarding law school student relocation and to assist victims wishing to come to Philadelphia. But he said the organization has not yet developed a defined project as a way to help. “We want to do what’s useful but doesn’t result in us repeating efforts,” Chirls said. In addition to the law schools, local law firms and lawyers are pitching in to help relief efforts. Frank Deasey of Deasey Mahoney & Bender has taken a lead role, organizing a Hurricane Relief Fund-raiser at Tir Na Nog on Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. He said those wishing to attend will be have to pay a $25 cover charge to join in the sports-themed event, which will include a silent and live auction of memorabilia, tickets to sporting events and golf foursomes at local country clubs. Deasey said he will contact the Philadelphia bar, Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel and Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association as well as law firms and individual lawyers asking them to donate items and participate in the event. He has also contacted the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers to garner their participation as well as the on-air hosts at WIP Sports Radio. He said his goal is to raise between $75,000 and $100,000. Those who are interested in participating may contact Deasey at 215-587-9400 or [email protected]. A number of law firms are making their own contributions to relief efforts and victims of the hurricane. Below is a sample of the efforts of some individual law firms: Caesar Rivise Bernstein Cohen & Pokotilow sent an e-mail to employees offering to collect funds they wish to donate to the hurricane victims through the American Red Cross. The partners have agreed to make a donation to add to the collected amount. Cozen O’Connor is matching employee contributions up to $100,000 but has yet to identify what charity or charities will receive donations. Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott is making a monetary contribution to the Red Cross and matching additional contributions from lawyers and employees up to a certain level. The firm is also working with the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana member firms of two legal organizations to which it belongs to help them with legal assistance and other help. Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin will be fully matching the donations of their employees relative to the Red Cross. The firm will send the funds raised by the close of this Friday. Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads has a hurricane relief drive “Hands Across the Water,” on Friday, in which the firm will sponsor a jeans day to raise money for the Red Cross relief effort. Anyone donating $10 or more is free to wear jeans and the firm will match, dollar for dollar, the funds raised in this drive. Morgan Lewis is matching employee donations up to a maximum donation by the firm of $100,000. All donations will go to the Red Cross for this specific crisis. The match will continue through Sept. 9. Post & Schell will make a “suitable” donation on behalf of all of its employees to the Red Cross. Ratner Prestia is running a “Dress Down for Disaster Relief” program, selling tickets for a minimum of $5 each for employees to come to work this Friday dressed down. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the firm is matching individual donations up to $250. Pepper Hamilton is offering up to $175,000 to relief agencies responding to the devastation. The firm is donating $75,000 to help three relief agencies – $25,000 each to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, Salvation Army Hurricane Relief Fund and Episcopal Relief and Development’s ERD US Hurricane Fund. The firm also will match the contributions of all lawyersand staff to any of these relief agencies, or to another well-credentialed nonprofit contributor to the relief effort, up to an additional $50,000. Reed Smith is making a $100,000 donation to the relief effort and is actively tracking the separate donations made by firm employees that are, as of yesterday afternoon, estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In the Philadelphia office, the proceeds from an office pretzel sale on Thursday as well as a $5 jeans day on Friday were put toward the relief effort as well. Saul Ewing has registered with the ABA’s pro bono program ( www.abanet.org/katrina), which will kick in once rescue efforts have subsided. Firm pro bono counsel Karen Foreman said even though Saul Ewing does not have any lawyers licensed in the three affected states, those interested in participating may still assist hurricane victims with insurance claims and matters pertaining to real estate, transactions and probate. The firm will also match donations up to $50,000 from employees. Stevens & Lee is matching the contributions of its attorneys, non lawyer professionals and team members dollar-for-dollar to the Red Cross. Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young intends to match – dollar-for-dollar – every contribution made by partners and employees last week, this week and through the end of September and send one check to the Red Cross in the name of the firm. By following this methodology, everyone can give to the charity of his/her choice and the firm can match all those contributions at month’s end. White & Williams is having a casual day this week on Thursday and will collect contributions to the Red Cross from lawyers and staff. Those contributing will be entitled to “dress down” on Friday. The partnership will match, dollar-for-dollar, all contributions made up to a total of $10,000. Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen began coordinating contributions across all of its offices last week. The firm has committed to match all contributions made by attorneys and staff on a dollar-for-dollar basis (with no cap). The total amount collected will then be given to the Red Cross. Woodcock Washburn is also sponsoring a Jeans Day each Friday this month with the goal of raising $20,000 for the Red Cross. Firm officials said it is also collecting items to give to children affected by the tragedy.

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