The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University’s disaster recovery clinic will soon expand its free legal counseling services for Hurricane Sandy victims with the help of a $1 million grant from the state. The funding will allow the clinic to take on an additional 250 homeowners and businesses as pro bono clients over the next two years.
The clinic, established and directed by professor Michael Haber, has helped about 75 Sandy-affected homeowners, small businesses and nonprofits on Long Island since last fall’s storm. The cases involve insurance and public benefits claims, business restructuring, housing law and commercial lease disputes.
Until now, the clinic has employed Haber as the only full-time attorney to supervise the work of eight law students per semester. The funding will allow the clinic to hire two additional full-time lawyers and one paralegal to oversee the work of 16 law students and 10 joint J.D./M.B.A. students per semester.
Hofstra expects to provide an additional 35,000 hours of pro bono legal help and 5,000 hours of business counseling to Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“Thousands of people are still really in tremendous need after Sandy and it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to help educate law students while serving our local communities,” Haber said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the grant on Nov. 22. The money comes from the state’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.