Two bar groups have announced steps they are taking to help New Yorkers deal with legal issues stemming from Hurricane Sandy. The New York State Bar Association has recruited more than 50 volunteer lawyers to offer free legal consultations, either by phone or in person, on issues such as insurance coverage, property disputes, replacing destroyed legal documents, and obtaining federal assistance and other matters.
Storm victims seeking legal information can call the state bar’s hotline at 800-699-5636. It will be staffed between 9:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday. Additional time will be devoted to follow-up work. Attorneys interested in volunteering can visit nysba.org/DisasterVolunteerSandy or call 518-463-3200. The bar group expects more volunteers to come forward as hard-hit areas regain power.
Meanwhile, the New York City Bar’s Justice Center hosted a meeting on Nov. 5 for representatives of 10 area legal services groups who will collaborate in providing free legal help to storm victims. The full picture of legal needs is just starting to emerge, said Lynn Kelly, executive director of the Justice Center. “We’re working in anticipation of the legal needs to come,” she said. “We’re getting people trained so that when storm victims need support, we’re ready.”
The groups will host two large-scale training sessions on Federal Emergency Management Agency applications and disaster-related issues in the coming weeks. The Justice Center also has extended call hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The groups will be posting volunteer opportunities and upcoming training dates for area lawyers on ProBono.Net. Storm victims seeking information can go to LawHelp.org/NY.