CALIFORNIA LAWYERS OFFER FIRE DISASTER
MEDIA CONTACT: Kathleen
San Francisco, November 06, 2003
— Hundreds of attorneys have volunteered
their expertise to help victims of the recent disastrous fires
in southern California.
Coordinated by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar
Association, the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) and
the State Bar's Office of Legal Services, Access and Fairness
Programs, the volunteers are working with broad coalitions set
up by local bar associations and legal services organizations.
The lawyers are staffing tables set up at FEMA disaster
relief sites in several locations. They are offering a kind of
first-step triage to victims who need advice about issues
ranging from mortgages to landlord-tenant to insurance
They also will staff toll-free telephone lines set up to
provide guidance to victims. In addition, a Disaster
Legal Services Hotline has been set up ---
All services are provided free of charge.
Serious legal issues that may require a long-term commitment
will be referred to local county bar associations for referral
to a pro bono attorney.
Below is a list of resources and links for fire victims who
need legal help.
TIPS FOR VICTIMS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRES
- To apply for Disaster Assistance: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
1-800-462-7585 (speech & hearing impaired). More information
- Lawyers are prohibited from seeking employment
face-to-face or by telephone at the scene of an accident,
hospital or at a time when you are not physically,
emotionally or mentally able to evaluate your legal needs
reasonably. If lawyers contact you inappropriately or you
have questions about certain behavior, call the State Bar's
Complaint Hotline: 1-800-843-9053.
- If you need a lawyer and you are a disaster victim from
San Diego, San Bernardino Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley),
Riverside or Ventura County, call the Disaster Legal
Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029.
- If you need more assistance finding a lawyer go to the
State Bar's Web site (www.calbar.ca.gov)
to find a certified lawyer referral service to put you in
touch with a lawyer who can handle your problem. From the
Home Page, go to Public Services>Lawyer Referral
- To check an attorney's official State Bar membership
record, go www.calbar.ca.gov and click on "Attorney
- For legal assistance in San Bernardino County: Community
Meeting: "Disaster Relief Legal Issues" Saturday, Nov 8,
Morning: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Legal information on real
estate, contracts, landlord-tenant, insurance, fraud
avoidance and other fire related issues for fire victims.
Afternoon: 12 - 5 p.m. Free consultations with attorneys on
fire-related issues. Feldhym Public Library, 555 West Sixth
Street, San Bernardino, CA.
- More information and specific resources available for
Native American individuals affected by the fires:
- For questions about your insurance or to find the name
of your insurance carrier, call the California Department of
Insurance, Consumer Hotline: 1-800-927-4357.
- For frequently asked questions about insurance:
- For shelter locations and information on affected areas
call the American Red Cross at 1-866-GET-INFO or
- For Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the
Department of Labor:
- Don't be the victim of disaster consumer scams! Tips
from the Department of Consumer Affairs:
TIPS FOR LAWYERS WHO WANT TO HELP
What can attorneys do to help victims of the California
Wildfires? Attorneys can play a vital role in the recovery
effort of disaster victims by providing free legal advice
through a hotline service, meeting with clients at an intake
clinic, or by providing more substantive, long-term involvement
pro bono counsel for disaster victims.
To find out about these opportunities, trainings and other
ways to provide assistance contact the local organizations below
or visit their Web sites. Attorneys do not need to reside in one
of these counties to provide help to victims.
Community Meeting: "Disaster Relief Legal
Issues" Saturday, Nov 8, Morning: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. -
Legal information on real estate, contracts, landlord-tenant,
insurance, fraud avoidance and other fire related issues for
fire victims. Afternoon: 12 - 5 p.m. Free consultations
with attorneys on fire-related issues. Feldhym Public Library,
555 West Sixth Street, San Bernardino, CA. Attorney pro bono
volunteers are needed for this event. Please call 909-885-1986
to indicate your availability.
San Diego County Bar Association: 1-800-464-1529
San Bernardino Bar Association: 1-909-885-1986
Founded in 1927 by the legislature, the State Bar is an
administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the
public and seeking to improve the justice system for 75 years.
All lawyers practicing in California must be members of the
State Bar. With more than 190,000 members, the State Bar of
California is the largest state bar in the nation.
For more legal information please visit the
State Bar of California