ABA President Visits Bar Center
American Bar Association President Bob Carlson visited the N.C. Bar Center on Wednesday, Dec. 12, to discuss North Carolina Disaster Legal Services (DLS) and ongoing efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Florence.
Carlson met with representatives of the North Carolina Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division, the North Carolina Bar Foundation, the ABA Young Lawyers Division, Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) and the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center, all of which have been involved in the relief effort.
“We really want you to understand that while some of the publicity is gone, some of the press is gone, that we as a group of lawyers and volunteers have not forgotten,” Carlson said.
“The goal is for me to listen and see what’s going on here, what’s working, what the ABA through our Young Lawyers Division can do, and what we can learn from what happened here so that you can prepare for the future – for the next one.”
Discussions focused on a review of activities and experiences to date and critical needs moving forward. The participants were in agreement that the relief effort has only just begun, and that volunteers will be crucial to providing low-income survivors with the free legal assistance they will need to navigate the recovery process in the aftermath of the historic storm.
Participants also touched on the importance of training, coordination and communication, especially as it pertains to working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is responsible for providing support and financial assistance in the wake of natural disasters.
“The volunteer spirit that you have as a voluntary bar is contagious,” said Carlson. “We are glad and hopeful that we continue to have this connection, and that people are willing to do more.”
Participants included, from the NCBA/NCBF, President Jacqueline Grant, President-Elect LeAnn Nease Brown, Executive Director Jason Hensley, YLD Chair Rachel Blunk, YLD DLS Coordinators Will Quick and Kristen Kirby, NCBF Senior Director Kim Bart Mullikin and NCBF Pro Bono Attorney Nihad Mansour; from LANC, Executive Director George Hausen, Lesley Albritton and Alison Everett, staff attorneys, David Wormald, pro bono team supervisor, Nathan Koennig, pro bono coordinator, and Jacob Wisner, technology specialist; from the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center, Director Sylvia Novinsky and Katherine Asaro, staff attorney; and ABA DLS Vice Coordinator Courtney Emerson.