As a consequence of Hurricane Sandy last October, Long Islanders have been besieged by numerous legal problems: environmental, zoning and permit issues, FEMA appeals, insurance appeals, foreclosure matters, contractor fraud, consumer complaints, landlord tenant problems, unemployment and homelessness, just to name a few.
Starting this summer and going through the fall Touro Law Center is sponsoring a “boots on the ground” effort to survey the legal needs of hurricane survivors across Long Island. In a two pronged approach we will be placing law students in community centers as well as having students going door to door, to try to learn how well government and other agencies have been able to meet the legal needs of individuals and families in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In addition to gaining an understanding of how legal services have been provided to date, the survey will seek out those who, whether because of age, disability or for other reasons are unable or afraid to access the help they may need.
While this is an enormous undertaking, it will also provide a valuable opportunity for students to see, in a very dramatic way, the importance of providing access to legal services for all segments of society.
Touro Law Center’s Hurricane Relief Team has dozens of pro bono opportunities. In addition to our Survey Project, Research Bank, Resolved Cases Initiative and Disaster Clinic, Touro Law Center partners with local not for profit agencies across Long Island all of whom work to serve the largely invisible and underserved communities still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on Long Island. The Nassau County Bar Association, Suffolk County Bar Association, Make the Road, Hofstra University Disaster Recovery Clinic, Nassau Suffolk Law Services, Community Development Center of Long Island, EraseRacism, FEGS, Shearman & Sterling, New York Legal Assistance Group, Long Island Housing Services, Nassau County Attorney’s Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, New York Communities for Change, Sustainable Long Island, Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Empire Justice, Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Labor and Industry for Education.
For students who wish to be admitted in New York, a summer’s worth of pro bono would meet the 50 hour rule of the Office of Court Administration for admission to the bar. For metro area law schools, we have year-round opportunities for students who wish to engage in pro bono hurricane relief work or who wish to be placed in for credit fellowships on Long Island. Many of these can be performed on weekends or even during weekdays in addition to summer employment. For Akron Law Students, this work would satisfy your pro bono requirements.
If you are interested, please contact Deidre Byrne:
Student Pro Bono Coordinator for
Hurricane Relief Efforts