FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEMA, ABA, State Bar of Texas, Local Bar Associations and Legal Services Providers Team Up to Assist Texans Displaced by Wildfires
AUSTIN – The State Bar of Texas has established a legal hotline – 800.504.7030 – to assist people with basic legal questions following recent devastating wildfires in Texas. A partnership between the State Bar of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Association, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Austin Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, and other local bar associations and legal services providers throughout Texas is making a range of assistance available.
Residents can call and leave a message any time. Survivors who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. Survivors should be aware that there are some limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee (i.e., those cases where attorneys are paid part of the settlement by the court). Such cases will be referred to a local lawyer referral service.
The Houston Bar Association is hosting a legal clinic on October 1, 2011. Volunteer attorneys will be available to meet with residents who have legal questions related to the wildfires at the Saturday clinic sponsored by the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Consumer Law Task Force. The clinic will run from 9 a.m. until noon at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation, Houston, Texas 77011. The HBA's Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program has also set up a disaster hotline and an email where those affected by the fires can email questions. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713.225.9455 and leave a message, which will then be answered by a staff attorney or volunteer.
There is also a Disaster Recovery Center in Bastrop that is ready to help survivors get the registration process started and provide information on a range of available disaster assistance programs. The center is located at Bastrop High School 9th Grade Academy, 1602 Hill Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602. The hours of operation are Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. Through an agreement with the ABA, FEMA underwrites the cost of operating toll-free legal assistance lines for survivors in areas designated as federal disaster sites.