On Friday, New York State Bar Association President Seymour James talked with representatives of bar groups in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester for coordinating pro bono efforts to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Free assistance from the bar associations may range from helping storm victims with insurance claims and federal aid applications.
The group issued a statement observing, “Throughout the affected areas, the State Bar anticipates a great need for assistance with legal issues.” Bar associations of New York have a history of rising to the occasion as they did in the wake of Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Hurricane Sandy caused huge damage in the New York state, and the death toll is already 41 in New York. Though many courts were running on Wednesday, the Manhattan federal court remains closed and would reopen on Monday.
The state bar association said it is creating a program so that attorneys can “become better equipped to provide pro bono services to people in need of assistance in the wake of the storm.” The New York State Bar Association is also tracking emergency measures for lawyers on its website, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announced suspension of statutory time limits for filing or service of legal actions and for filing appeals.
Local bar groups in the New York City and Long Island are also putting into place programs to help attorneys whose practices have been affected by the storm with help ranging from providing temporary office space to providing advice on disaster recovery.