In collaboration with la Mesa de Trabajo de Acceso a la Justicia (Access to Justice Roundtable), the legal clinics at the University of Puerto Rico and Interamerican University Schools of Law and the Colectivo Accion Legal, as well as institutions in the U.S. like Columbia Law School, we are initiating efforts to organize and train lawyers (preferably bilingual) who will be able to help with post-disaster relief legal aid assistance.
Our volunteer efforts will likely develop across three stages:
- Collect legal knowledge & information: We are identifying the relevant laws and regulations surrounding disaster relief and identifying collaborating organizations with experience who can help provide training and materials.
- Offer & participate in trainings: Once legal needs have been identified, we will share information about webinars and live training opportunities. At least initially, there are conversations to host live trainings in New York City and Puerto Rico. If you have expertise or experience in offering legal aid after a natural disaster, please let us know.
- Provide direct legal assistance: The initial capacity building stages will eventually devolve into providing direct assistance to individuals, families, and communities in need in Puerto Rico. We expect to begin sharing opportunities of this sort in a few weeks after the most urgent relief efforts have been completed and communication networks reestablished.
We hope to organize legal “brigades” of lawyers who can help go down and assist lawyers in Puerto Rico in filing FEMA claims, insurance claims, unemployment claims and other claims related to public benefits and assistance as needed.
To sign up, please fill out this Google form.
Questions or ideas? Please get in touch at email@example.com.
Note: This is posted as an opportunity to perform volunteer legal work. Whether the work qualifies toward the New York State Bar 50-hour pro bono requirement is a determination made on a case-by-case basis by the Character and Fitness Committee that processes bar admission applications. For more information about the 50-hour pro bono requirement, links to the rule and FAQ document, and who to contact if you have any questions, visit the Public Interest Law Center website here: http://www.law.nyu.edu/publicinterestlawcenter/forstudents/nys-bar-pro-bono-requirement.