Hurricane Irma

Florida Bar raises income cap for Free Legal Answers website to help Hurricane Irma victims

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The Florida Bar has raised the income cap for users of the Florida Free Legal Answers online legal clinic to help more victims of Hurricane Irma get answers to their legal questions.

More than 500 lawyers have offered their free services for Florida Free Legal Answers, a collaboration between the Florida Bar and the ABA, (sub. req.) reports. Meanwhile the ABA Young Lawyer’s Division is setting up telephone hotlines to connect hurricane victims with lawyers, according to an ABA press release. The ABA’s disaster relief website is here.

The Young Lawyers Division is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local legal aid offices to provide the hotlines through its Disaster Legal Services Program. The hotlines are set up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in states declared disaster areas.

Legal issues can include landlord/tenant problems, insurance claims, FEMA claims and consumer issues such as contractor fraud.

“The ABA hopes that everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma stays safe. Once the storm passes and the damage can be evaluated, the ABA will be prepared to assist with the legal needs that so often arise after these natural disasters,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said in the press release. “Lawyers stand ready to help and will be there for those affected by this hurricane.”

The Florida Bar Foundation has approved allocating up to $500,000 to support legal organizations after Hurricane Irma. The money can be spent to repair building damage, cover equipment losses and help clients with hurricane-related legal issues.

Florida state courts remained closed on Monday, according to the Florida Bar website. Federal court closures in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are listed here. Closings also include offices of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at the King Federal Justice Building in Miami, and the Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse and John C. Godbold Federal Building in Atlanta.

The federal court at St. Croix, which is one of two in the Virgin Islands, is scheduled to reopen on Monday. The federal court in Puerto Rico is also scheduled to reopen.

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