August-September 2016: The Rains Came and the LSBA Responded
Humbled, humbled, humbled . . . On Aug. 13, 2016, I watched the rain stay on top of Baton Rouge for hours dumping water, then the water began to rise and stopped three feet from the back of my home. I was lucky!
On Aug. 29, 2005, I was a third-year law student and all I could do was watch on television as the Hurricane Katrina waters rose and devastated many homes, lives and law practices.
Looking back, I keep asking myself, “Could I have done more then?” Do not sit idle and be left asking that same question of yourself.
Together with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, FEMA and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Louisiana State Bar Association has set up free legal assistance for Louisiana flood victims via a toll-free legal aid hotline, 800-310-7029. This hotline for victims of the storms and flooding allows victims to call and request assistance of a lawyer for the following types of assistance:
• securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors;
• assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
• help with home repairs and contractors;
• replacement of wills and other legal documents destroyed in the floods;
• aid in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures; and
• counseling on mortgage-foreclosure and landlord-tenant problems.
The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and callers can leave a message. Those individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Louisiana lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. This is where you come in!
If by the time you read this message you have not volunteered, then consider volunteering today. I am often reminded that practicing law is not a “right” but a “privilege.” Use the privilege you have been given to help another. Of course, if you want to step out of your lawyer suit, feel free to head to Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes and get your hands dirty. There is no shortage of demolition, cleanup and rebuilding tasks to be done.