ABA Leader Hunkers Down in Path of Gustav
Franchesca Hamilton-Acker, a Lafayette, La., lawyer who serves as the ABA Young Lawyers Division representative for the state, is getting ready for Hurricane Gustav to come ashore and—after the storm passes—to provide legal assistance to victims of Gustav.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency often taps the ABA in the wake of disasters to provide pro bono legal assistance to victims. It did so after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, as well as in the wake of this year’s Iowa floods and California wildfires, according to the ABA’s Disaster Recovery Resources Center.
FEMA hasn’t yet contacted the ABA, Hamilton-Acker said Sunday afternoon, but she expects the call to come soon. The state’s Access to Justice Disaster Planning Committee is already checking to see if a state supreme court rule that allowed lawyers from outside Louisiana to assist residents after Katrina is still in effect, she said.
Late last week, the call went out for volunteers willing to provide assistance, said Hamilton-Acker, who is a staff attorney with the Acadiana Legal Services Corp. Lawyers interested in helping can contact her by e-mail.
Lafayette is located about 120 miles west of New Orleans—just about dead center under the projected path of Gustav, she noted. She plans to ride out the storm with her husband and two children in their home, which is at an elevation about 70 feet higher than most of New Orleans, she said.