Hurricane Florence

Volunteer lawyers help victims of Hurricane Florence

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Hurricane Florence./Sasa Kadrijevic via NASA (Shutterstock.com.)

Lawyers are pitching in to help the victims of Hurricane Florence.

The ABA Young Lawyers Division announced Wednesday that victims in South Carolina can call a hotline between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET weekdays to get help from volunteer lawyers. The number is 1-877-797-2227, ext. 120, or 1-803-576-3815. Messages can be left after hours.

In North Carolina, victims can call a hotline during those same hours at 1-833-242-3549, according to a second press release.

Callers should describe their problems and if they qualify for assistance, they will be matched with lawyers who have volunteered to provide legal assistance.

The hotlines are a partnership between the ABA Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state bar groups. In South Carolina, the local partners are the South Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and South Carolina Legal Services. In North Carolina, the local partner is the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, with support from the North Carolina Bar Foundation.

The legal assistance available includes help with landlord-tenant and mortgage-foreclosure problems, insurance claims, FEMA claims and other benefits available to survivors, replacement of wills and other legal documents, and consumer issues such as contractor fraud. Assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee, ABC 15 News reports.

In Virginia, victims can get online assistance through Virginia Free Legal Answers, and phone assistance by calling 1-804-775-0808 in the Richmond area, or 1-800-552-7977, Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports. The hotline is a service of the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service, while Virginia Free Legal Answers is a service of the ABA, according to the article.

In North Carolina, the ABA-backed Free Legal Answers is also helping victims, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reports. Nihad Mansour, a pro bono staff attorney with the North Carolina Bar Foundation, told Lawyers Weekly the service has free online legal resources to income-eligible hurricane victims.

Mansour said the service has gotten a great response from lawyers willing to answer questions posted to the website, and she expects more to sign up.

See also:

ABA Journal: Legal community meets relief challenges after hurricanes Harvey and Irma

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

ABAJournal.com: “ABA helps set up hotline for islanders needing legal assistance after hurricanes”

Disaster Response Resources
ABA Resources

ABA Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness

ABA YLD Disaster Legal Services Program

ABA LPD Disaster 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 ambar.org/DisasterRelief.

ABA Journal Coverage
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ABA mobilizes aid to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
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For our latest natural disaster coverage, click here.

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.

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