Posted on August 30, 2017 by Brian Rosenthal
Many in the College have been asking what lawyers can do to help those in need in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Answers to that question are pouring in from many sources. The following are a few suggestions, based on what we are hearing from legal practitioners and aid organizations in Texas.
First, if you are a member of the State Bar of Texas, you may have received a letter from Bar President Tom Vick. It outlines specific ways in which you can provide legal and desperately-needed non-legal help.
Lawyers who are not members of the Bar of Texas, though, can also provide legal services. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an emergency order to allow out-of-state lawyers to practice in Texas temporarily in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the Court provided a registration form for the temporary practice of law in Texas. According to Betty Torres – the Executive Director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, which is the largest funding source of legal aid in Texas – the following are some of the types of legal services that will be in high demand after the water recedes and people try to put their lives back together: (i) assistance with securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors; (ii) assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims; (iii) help with home repair contracts and contractors; (iv) replacing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster; (v) assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures; and (vi) assistance with mortgage/foreclosure and landlord/tenant problems.
In addition, as is often the case, what is needed most right now is money. For those who want to assist all Texans in need of essential legal services, please donate to the Hurricane Harvey Legal Aid Fund.