Natural Disasters

Some courts, law schools affected by Florence starting to reopen

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Hurricane Florence churns off the North Carolina coast./Sasa Kadrijevic via NASA (

Continuing coverage: Florence is now a tropical depression in the Ohio Valley, and while damage from the onetime hurricane is still being felt, some courts and law schools are reopening.

Disaster Response Resources
Volunteering Opportunities

Florida attorneys can visit the Florida Bar Foundation to find post-storm volunteer opportunities for legal aid and pro bono attorneys, or visit Florida Pro Bono Matters.

North Carolina attorneys can find info on volunteering on the North Carolina Bar's Hurricane Florence page.

South Carolina attorneys can volunteer for the South Carolina Bar's disaster relief legal service hotline by filling out this form.

Not licensed in those states but looking to donate your time or money? Check out

ABA Journal Coverage
Disaster Helplines

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.

For low-income individuals with disaster-related legal needs, the following phone numbers are available:
North Carolina residents: 1-833-242-3549
South Carolina residents: 1-877-797-2227 ext. 120
Virginia residents: 1-804-775-0808 in the Richmond area, or 1-800-552-7977.
Florida residents: 1-866-550-2929.

As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, the storm is centered over southwest Virginia, southeastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia and is forecast to move toward New England.

The Category 1 hurricane made landfall early Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with parts of the state receiving between 30 and 40 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

The Washington Post and Fox News report at least 17 deaths because of the storm.

Late Sunday, the North Carolina Judicial branch reported that courts in 47 of the state’s 100 counties are closed or scheduled to close.

South Carolina’s chief justice, Donald Beatty, said in a memo on Sunday that circuit court and family court proceedings in all of the state’s 46 counties will resume Monday if county government offices are operating at normal status.

Information can be found at the state’s emergency management division website.

The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts said Sunday that federal courthouses in North Carolina would stay closed, while those in South Carolina and Virginia would reopen Monday.

The University of North Carolina Law School says it will stay closed Monday. The Charleston School of Law plans to reopen Tuesday, and the University of South Carolina Law School will open Monday.

The ABA Law Practice Division, meanwhile, sent an email to ABA members who live in areas that could be affected by the hurricane. The email linked to online disaster resources.

The division offers several tips, including these:

• Keep an emergency contact list on paper and in the cloud that can be accessed by a computer or phone.

• Back up information in the cloud and test it to make sure it is working. If you have backup on external hard drives or flash drives, they may be safe in the dishwasher. You can also carry a waterproof flash drive in a waterproof bag.

• Use an email service that retains email for delivery when power is restored.

• Banks may be closed for a while, so keep some cash and critical documents in a waterproof safe. Consider offering advances to employees to help them recover from a disaster.

• Consider buying a generator.

• Keep important electronic devices on “uninterruptible power supply” to prevent damages from surges and outages.

• Remote wipe laptops and mobile devices lost in a disaster. They should also be encrypted.

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