Natural Disasters

Disaster response news from the ABA Journal, American Bar Association legal resources, volunteering opportunities and disaster helplines.

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

Afternoon Briefs: EPA relaxes pollution rules during COVID-19 crisis; Title IX doesn’t protect trans athletes, DOJ says

EPA relaxes pollution enforcement during coronavirus pandemic

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it would relax enforcement of environmental rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EPA said…

Decision about releasing July bar exam materials will come in May, NCBE says
The National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops and produces the attorney licensing tests used by most U.S. jurisdictions, will announce in early May whether its tests will be released for the July bar exam.
Judge suggests lawyer who opposed extension may want to brush up on karma concepts
A federal magistrate judge in Miami is letting squabbling litigants know that their issues are less important than the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawyer’s ‘glib’ coronavirus tweet spurs outrage and death threats
California lawyer Scott McMillan decided to weigh in after President Donald Trump tweeted about the need for Americans to get back to work.
Billable hour expectations remain the same, though work volume is ‘trending lower,’ survey says
Ninety-six percent of lawyers and legal staff members who responded to an online survey said their workplaces had announced a move to remote work by March 24.
The novel coronavirus is leaving foster children with nowhere to go
The foster care system, built on frequent movements of children from one home to another and regular in-person supervision, has been especially wracked with confusion and dread by the coronavirus crisis.
Afternoon Briefs: GCs are overloaded with coronavirus webinars; former judge dies at 88

General counsels are overloaded with COVID-19 emails and webinar invites

Corporate clients are inundated with emails and webinar invitations from law firms offering information on the novel coronavirus, according to…

COVID-19 stimulus bill includes more than $1B for criminal justice needs
Updated: The $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday includes more than $1 billion for criminal justice needs, including protective gear for prisons and teleconferencing equipment for the federal judiciary.
Afternoon Briefs: ABA backs stay-home exemption for legal services; PG&E to plead guilty in fire deaths

ABA: Exempt legal services from any US stay-home order

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez says legal services should be deemed essential and exempted from any national stay-home order. “The American…

What should you read about COVID-19? We asked an epidemiologist

With a barrage of information and misinformation about COVID-19, it can be hard to evaluate what sources are trustworthy and where to go for reliable medical news. So for this new episode of the Modern Law Library, we spoke to an epidemiologist.

Judge slams emergency motion to halt knockoff unicorn art amid coronavirus pandemic
A federal judge in Chicago had no patience for a lawyer who sought a quick hearing on his client's bid for a temporary restraining order to halt the sale of knockoff unicorn art.
Suffolk County DA among 25 court-connected people in New York diagnosed with COVID-19
New York state courts report that 25 people with court connections have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini.
BarBri bar exam prep options will soon include streamed, real-time lectures
Whether the July bar exam will actually take place as traditionally scheduled is unknown, but starting in May, anyone who wants to study for it has the option of watching livestreamed BarBri lectures with moderated questions and answers.
Amid novel coronavirus fears, juvenile lockups are cutting visits
Ophelia Davis, of Columbia, South Carolina, says she doesn't know if she'll see her grandson again. That's not just because she's in the demographic most vulnerable to the coronavirus—she's 67, has an autoimmune disease and is currently struggling with a cough that she thinks is just the pollen. It's also that her grandson is in juvenile detention, and as has been happening across the country, the jail where he's confined has indefinitely ended all visits between families and their children.
Afternoon Briefs: Reform group backs cost metric in law school rankings; California suspends jury trials

US News’ ranking methodology is the cheese for law school rat race, report says

The U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings rely on categories including law school…

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 ambar.org/DisasterRelief.

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.