Legal services organizations have been flooded with requests for help following the fires in California. The State Bar of California has a number of resources to help direct attorneys willing to help with the recovery.
In California, attorneys can sign up online with the State Bar to be notified about pro bono opportunities related to the fires.
In the aftermath of disasters, volunteers may be needed to help staff a legal hotline or a resource table at disaster recovery centers. Volunteers may also be needed to conduct legal research or handle pro bono cases to assist fire survivors.
Online training and technical assistance are available.
Contact Sharon Ngim at firstname.lastname@example.org or Elizabeth Hom at email@example.com at the State Bar of California Office of Legal Services with questions and for additional information.
Once attorneys have been trained in providing legal help after a disaster, they can volunteer to provide pro bono legal services with a disaster response team.
If attorneys are not trained to help after a disaster but want to help, they can find free training through organizations that provide training. Here are some suggestions:
State bars across the country also allow out-of-state attorneys to volunteer as pro bono attorneys in their states. Attorneys can contact the National Disaster Legal Aid Center to offer help. https://www.disasterlegalaid.org/
Finding forms. If an attorney can't do pro bono work, they can still help clients navigate through the recovery process, fill out forms, find documents and file claims. Clients may also need help recovering lost documents.
The State Bar provides a list of organizations that provide duplicate copies of important documents, such as drivers licenses, birth certificates and marriage and divorce records.
Attorneys who lost personal or client records in a disaster can contact the State Bar's Ethics Hotline with questions about what to do.