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Urgent: Volunteer Attorneys Needed

Urgent: Volunteer Attorneys Needed

The North Carolina Bar Association, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division are partnering to provide free legal services to low-income survivors of Hurricane Matthew.

Volunteer pro bono attorneys are needed to address the legal needs of the survivors.

The types of legal assistance available to survivors include:

  • Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;
  • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster;
  • Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

To serve as a volunteer attorney, email both Cabell Clay (cabellclay@mvalaw.com) and Rachel Blunk (RMB@sharpless-stavola.com) with your name, email, phone number, and the areas of law with which you are willing to assist (i.e. insurance claims, property issues, landlord-tenant issues, general, etc.)

It is anticipated that the largest needs will relate to insurance, landlord-tenant and FEMA issues. Volunteer attorneys with experience in these areas are especially needed.

A special toll-free telephone number has been established at North Carolina Bar Association to receive requests for legal help. Storm victims needing help with legal problems may call the NCBA weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-800-662-7407. All calls are screened, and then referred to volunteer attorneys who agree to offer a telephone consultation, providing free legal advice for disaster-related problems.

The Disaster Legal Services Hotline was activated Monday, Oct. 10, by the declaration of a federal disaster by President Obama, and subsequently expanded, to cover the following North Carolina counties: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chatham, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, Wake, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson. Additional designations, the declaration order stated, may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Volunteer lawyers must agree not to accept fee generating cases from the disaster victims they help. Volunteer lawyers will answer most legal questions by telephone. Training resources will be available. Callers who need representation in court or who have issues requiring fee-generating services should be referred to the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-662-7660 or www.NCFindALawyer.org.