As of Monday morning, the law schools in New Jersey and New York returned to the classroom following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy. The National Law Journal reports that at multiple schools, students and faculty members were volunteering in the effort to help those affected by the storm.
In the New York City area, 13 law schools provided use of their libraries to students and faculty members from partner schools who were not able to use their main campuses. The group of schools involved included Columbia Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Fordham University School of Law, both law schools with Rutgers University and New York University School of Law.
Another member of the consortium mentioned above, the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchberg Law Center, was operating a pro bono storm help center. The residents of Long Island can call the center asking for assistance regarding problems related to the storm. The center created the Hurricane Emergency Assistance and Referral Team, HEART, was staffed with lawyers, students, alumni and faculty members.
Students and lawyers were in attendance to help victims of the storm fill out their emergency assistance applications while also offering free legal counseling about unemployment, insurance and other issues from the storm. The previous week saw the students and faculty members partake in training to prepare for the center’s opening on Monday morning. The center opened at 9 a.m. and by 11 a.m. 20 people had already called asking for help, according to Patricia Salkin, the center’s dean.
“A lot of people have questions about landlord-tenant laws, and their ability to break a lease or get access into a building that has been closed,” she said. “We’ve also received some employment questions, such as, ‘Do people who are hourly get paid if their place of business was closed last week?’ ”
Phones were being staffed by 20 students who volunteered their time. “We were able to use our ability to have power to be an early responder, and we’re just plugging the gap right now,” she said. Salkin also said that the phone help line would remain in use until the end of the academic year.
Students from the Greater Philadelphia Region Law Schools consortium have planned a fundraiser for November 16 to be held at The Field House, a local bar. All of the proceeds will be sent to Sandy recovery.
“As law students, we are always happy to socialize and meet other fellow law students to share our miseries with,” the organizers of the event wrote on Facebook. “As law students, we can help make a difference in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.”