American Bar Association

ABA offers help to those hit hard by Oklahoma tornadoes


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Photo of Laurel Bellows by Marc Hauser.

The president of the American Bar Association has extended her sympathies to victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes and says the ABA is organizing relief efforts to provide legal help to survivors of this week’s storms.

“There are no words to ease the pain of the families who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy,” said President Laurel G. Bellows in an ABA press release. “The American Bar Association joins our nation in expressing our sorrow and offers the help and expertise of our lawyers. They stand ready to offer pro bono assistance to the people of Oklahoma as they deal with the impact of the tornadoes that changed their lives.”

Bellows is urging lawyers who want to help to volunteer to provide legal advice, via a toll-free hotline, to low-income survivors of the storms. At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the YLD, through its Disaster Legal Services Program, is coordinating this effort along with the Oklahoma Bar Association and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc..

The Oklahoma Bar Association has an online form on which individuals seeking legal advice can make contact.

Lawyers whose offices were damaged or destroyed should contact Jim Calloway of the Oklahoma Bar Association at 405-416-7051.

The ABA also offers multiple resources for affected attorneys and those reminded by the Oklahoma disaster that they need to make advance plans to deal with such situations, Bellows notes:

• The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Disaster Initiative provides a series of podcasts and programs on disaster-related issues such as preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, making claims and litigation.

• The ABA Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness provides sample disaster plans and information about safeguarding records and serving clients, before and after a disaster.

• The ABA Law Practice Management Section free webzine has a on emergency preparedness and response.

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