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.)

Shop safely this Black Friday and Cyber Monday with our 2020 Gifts for Lawyers guide (gallery)
Regardless of what you’re celebrating this year, it’s plain that the holiday season is going to look a bit different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that the joy—and fun—of finding the right present for the lawyer, judge or other legal professional in your life has to take a backseat.
2020 in review: Legal software for working remotely
2020 was my third year writing this legal technology column for the ABA Journal. When I put pen to paper—so to speak—to write my first column of the year back in January, I had no inkling of the upheaval and disruption that would soon befall our country and the world.
Pandemic problems may be defense for law schools not meeting bar passage standard
Law schools now must report the number of recent graduates admitted by diploma privilege in their annual questionnaires in addition to those who took and passed a bar exam.
Afternoon Briefs: Peremptory challenge curbs allowed; more federal courts halt jury trials

Juror shortages lead to curbs on peremptory challenges

Judges in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, are allowed to ban or reduce peremptory challenges in civil cases to avoid running out of potential…

Federal inmate tried by all-white jury is executed after Supreme Court lifts execution stay
Federal death-row inmate Orlando Hall was executed Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an execution stay issued by a federal judge who said the government needed a prescription for the execution drug.
Afternoon Briefs: COVID-19 cited in halt to execution; ‘not qualified’ Jones Day associate confirmed to bench

Judge delays execution after lawyers contract COVID-19

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss has delayed the federal execution of Lisa Montgomery because her lawyers contracted COVID-19 after visiting her in prison.…

Some law firms are tweaking partner compensation models because of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic may push law firms that were already reevaluating their partner compensation systems to go forward with changes.
Afternoon Briefs: Bankruptcy judge OKs opioid deal; judge bans immigration arrests at some courts

Bankruptcy judge approves opioid deal

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in New York has approved a settlement between the government and Purdue Pharma, a maker of OxyContin, to resolve…

Constant communication has been key amid COVID-19, law school dean says

“We have all gone above and beyond to ensure that we are creating relationships with our students and mechanisms for ensuring they have the ability to contact us, to learn from us, to ask the questions they have,” says L. Song Richardson.

Afternoon Briefs: Trump campaign loses ballot access case; ex-Knicks player wins appeal

Top Pennsylvania court rules against Trump campaign

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reversed an appellate order that gave observers from the Trump campaign closer access to the ballot count in…

2 justices dissent over Supreme Court’s refusal to restore COVID-19 safety steps at ‘tinderbox’ prison
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by two older inmates at a Texas geriatric prison to reinstate a judge’s order requiring COVID-19 safety measures.
Afternoon Briefs: Several states pause jury trials; suit accuses Texas AG of whistleblower retaliation

Several states stop jury trials

A surge in COVID-19 cases has led several states to suspend jury trials. They include New York, Maryland, Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming. (The

The COVID-19 consequence: Emerging talent is at risk

For those students who did not land an entry-level job at a BigLaw firm, the circle is truly vicious as they attempt to launch their careers in an unwelcoming and unstructured environment, write Jonathan Greenblatt and Bryan Parker of Legal Innovators.

Afternoon Briefs: Law students pledge not to work for Trump firms; women deported after OB-GYN complaints

Law students pledge not to work for Trump election firms

A group of law students and new lawyers is circulating a pledge not to work or interview with law firms…

ABA asks Trump for delays in 3 executions, including case in which the lawyers have COVID-19
The ABA has asked President Donald Trump to delay three federal executions amid “a startling surge” in cases of COVID-19, including a case in which the lawyers are sickened by the virus.
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.