FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2019
Contact: Amy Starnes
Public Information Director, State Bar of Texas
(800) 204-2222, ext. 1706, or (512) 427-1706
Free disaster legal hotline available for people affected by tornadoes, severe storms
AUSTIN — The State Bar of Texas reminds residents that free civil legal resources are available to low-income individuals and families struggling to recover from the tornadoes and severe storms that affected 16 Texas counties on October 20.
The State Bar of Texas toll-free legal hotline — 800-504-7030 — connects callers with legal aid providers in their area who can help with such issues as replacing lost documents, insurance questions, landlord-tenant problems, and consumer protection matters such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process. The hotline can assist callers in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who can provide free, limited civil legal help.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration on October 21 for the following counties: Cass, Cameron, Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Erath, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Panola, Rains, Rockwall, Rusk, Tarrant, Van Zandt, and Wood.
Individuals who qualify also may use texaslegalanswers.org — an online, Q&A-style service where people can pose specific questions related to disaster civil legal issues and have them answered online by Texas volunteer attorneys.
Additional disaster recovery resources are available at texasbar.com/disaster, texaslawhelp.org, trla.org/disasters, lonestarlegal.blog/services/disaster-relief and internet.lanwt.org/en-us/Pages/DisasterResponsePage.aspx.
Barratry or improper solicitation
The State Bar of Texas reminds the public that in many cases it is a crime in Texas for a lawyer or someone representing a lawyer to contact a person for purposes of legal representation if the person has not first requested the call or personal visit. The contact is not illegal if the attorney is not seeking payment or has a preexisting professional-client or family relationship with the person being contacted.
If you witness something you believe to be improper solicitation, or barratry, please get the name and phone number of the person making contact and report it to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office toll free at 866-224-5999.
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The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @statebaroftexas, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/statebaroftexas, or visit texasbar.com.