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: Weil Gotshal special bonuses tied to hours; Trump sued by his niece

Weil Gotshal bonuses could reach $50K for top billers

Weil Gotshal & Manges is breaking from the ranks by tying special bonuses to hours worked and raising the top amount…

Divided DC appeals court announces bar exam waiver as 1 option for licensing
A divided District of Columbia Court of Appeals granted Thursday what it describes as an "emergency examination waiver" admission to practice law with various restrictions.
How to empower working moms during the coronavirus pandemic
Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Carolyn Elefant, an attorney who focuses her practice on energy and environmental matters and the author of several books, including Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be.
Afternoon Briefs: Mueller prosecutor has regrets in tell-all book; federal courthouse is a hurricane casualty

Book by Mueller prosecutor says more could have been done

A book by Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller said the office failed to fully investigate…

Ethics charges allege judge defied order to delay hearings and issued no-show warrants
A Cleveland municipal judge is facing ethics charges after holding court hearings despite a rescheduling order because of the coronavirus pandemic, and then issuing arrest warrants for no-shows.
Ginsburg’s death could doom health care law, cement environmental rollbacks, imperil right to abortion
Environmental regulations, the right to abortion and the Affordable Care Act are all in danger if President Donald Trump’s next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court is confirmed.
Will partner offices shrink to associate size after the pandemic?
Law firms are moving toward smaller, single-size offices, as remote work is expected to remain an option after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Have COVID-19 bonus wars begun? Milbank matches higher scale for special bonuses

Milbank is paying special bonuses to its associates that match those of Davis Polk & Wardwell while sweetening the payout for top performers. “We called it yesterday. The COVID-19 bonus wars are upon us,” says one publication.

AG Barr defends authority to overrule career prosecutors, says BLM uses deaths as ‘props’
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a speech Wednesday he has the responsibility to overrule career prosecutors, part of the “permanent bureaucracy,” when they lose perspective.
Afternoon Briefs: Bill Gates Sr. dies at 94; federal judiciary seeks $500M for better security

Bill Gates Sr., lawyer and ABA Medal winner, dies at 94

Lawyer and 2009 ABA Medal winner Bill Gates Sr. has died at age 94. Gates was a name…

Lawyers, nurse raise concerns about hysterectomies performed at ICE detention center
Immigrants at a privately operated detention center in Georgia and a whistleblower nurse have provided accounts of “jarring medical neglect” and questionable hysterectomies performed on detainees, according to a complaint filed Monday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
No bathroom break allowed? Suit says rules for remote bar exam discriminate against disabled grads
A lawsuit by law graduates who have disabilities says they will be forced to take the California bar exam in person because of a failure to provide accommodations for a remote test.
This Louisiana judge continues to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis
Judge Scott Schlegel’s history of utilizing technology in his Louisiana courtroom to make life easier for attorneys and members of the public has come in very handy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooley announces ‘appreciation bonuses,’ commits to year-end bonuses at least this high
Cooley has told its associates that they will receive “special appreciation bonuses” to recognize their “resilience, sacrifice and commitment” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Afternoon Briefs: Godmother feels betrayed after law firm money theft; state AG staffer probed over BLM buttons fuss

Bookkeeper accused of embezzling $740K from godmother’s law firm

A former bookkeeper and office manager accused of embezzling $740,000 from a Rhode Island law firm has agreed to plead guilty…

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.