American Bar Association

Top ABA officials will visit hurricane relief sites in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

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Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands flags.

Flags of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Shutterstock.

ABA President Hilarie Bass and President-elect Robert M. Carlson will be visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday and Tuesday to observe hurricane relief efforts and discuss future plans.

Bass and Carlson will be joined by Andrew VanSingel, director of the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program, according to a press release. The program works with local legal-aid offices and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide legal assistance to disaster survivors.

On Monday, the officials will attend a town hall in St. Thomas where Bass plans to announce the development of USVI Flood Proof, a mobile app that will help hurricane victims in the U.S. Virgin Islands access free legal assistance. The app is being developed by the ABA Center for Innovation and Stanford Law School. It is based on the launch of Floodproof Louisiana in 2017.

The new app will be customized with U.S. Virgin Islands content about subjects such as real property transfers, probate and estate law, landlord/tenant issues, FEMA regulations, contractor fraud concerns and ethics issues.

The ABA officials will also meet with Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge of the Supreme Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodriguez of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. One topic of discussion with Rodriguez will be about the potential adoption of the “Katrina Rule,” to allow outside lawyers to represent Puerto Ricans in disaster matters. During the San Juan leg of the journey, they will visit with attorneys who have been working at the disaster recovery center at the Museo de Vida Silvestre.

Related article:

ABA Journal: “ABA mobilizes aid to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands”

Updated on July 2 to add that Stanford Law School will also be working on the development of USVI Flood Proof.

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