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.)

At these top law firms, profit boosts followed layoffs of lawyers and staff members
Some of the nation’s top law firms posted substantial boosts in profits last year after laying off attorneys or staff members, according to an analysis by Law.com.
Capacity limits on businesses can be a ‘direct physical loss’ covered by insurance, judge rules in bellwether cases
A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that pandemic-related business closings and capacity limits can qualify as a “direct physical loss” to property that is covered by "business interruption" policies.
Afternoon Briefs: Lawyer gives frank reply to Justice Barrett; new site has law school scholarship information

GOP lawyer gives candid answer to Justice Barrett

A lawyer for the Arizona Republican Party gave a frank answer in oral arguments Tuesday when Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked…

Afternoon Briefs: Another state plans remote bar exam in July; Texas AG sues electric company over huge bills

So far, 9 jurisdictions have plan for remote bar exam in July

California’s July 2021 bar exam will be remote, the California Supreme Court announced Friday. The first testing day,…

Difficulties of pandemic should be acknowledged in law school transcript, students say
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on many student population groups, and law students at the University of Minnesota Law School are asking that it be mentioned in the transcript for the 2020-2021 academic year.
How law firms reacted to racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic
Nearly three-fourths of surveyed law firms launched new programs to address racial injustice after Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the death of George Floyd last year, according to a new study.
What did law firms do that helped them outperform the market in 2020?
Law firms that posted double-digit gains in 2020 revenue and profits per equity partner had a strategic plan and a commitment to a high-performance culture, according to an analysis by two law firm consultants.
Afternoon Briefs: Judge strikes down CDC eviction moratorium; lawyer’s dogged determination brings cash

Judge strikes down CDC eviction moratorium

U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker of Tyler, Texas, has struck down a moratorium on most residential evictions by the U.S. Centers for…

Pandemic and financial stress could push some lawyers to act unethically, experts warn
Mental health and lawyer ethics experts are warning that financial stress and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may push lawyers to act imprudently or unethically.
Suits multiply over Texas power outages; is power grid operator protected by sovereign immunity?
Lawsuits are already being filed against the operator of the power grid in Texas over lost lives, property damage and business interruption caused by power outages during the winter storm in February.
Solo practitioners saw steeper revenue declines amid COVID-19, new report finds
Solo practitioners had a harder time weathering the initial economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic than others in the legal industry, according to a new report that cloud-based company Clio released on Tuesday.
Texas offers makeup bar exam because of deep freeze
Following Texas’ freezing February weather, which led to power outages, disrupted water service and more than 20 deaths, according to CNN, the Texas Board of Law Examiners announced Friday that it would offer a makeup bar exam in March in addition to the test that starts Tuesday.
ABA’s Practice Forward group puts focus on members’ needs, well-being
The challenges confronting the legal profession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a prime focus of the 2021 ABA Midyear Meeting.
ABA is on a ‘promising path forward,’ President Patricia Lee Refo says
Since taking office, ABA President Patricia Lee Refo has maintained a schedule of events that would've once been unimaginable.
Citing a consumer need, ABA Legal Ed keeps March law school employment reporting deadline
The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will not be granting a request to push the employment data deadline from March to June.
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.