Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee Providing Assistance to Federal, State and Local Authorities, Emergency Response Teams

In the wake of last night's plane crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 just outside of Buffalo, members of the New York State Bar Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee are working with federal, state and local authorities, as well as emergency response personnel, to provide disaster assistance to the families.

Members of the committee also are working to provide important information at the assistance center that is being set up for the families of the crash victims.  Among the types of legal support the committee is providing include distributing pamphlets that explain basic legal rights and supplying any other information needed by the crash victims' families.

Bernice Leber (Arent Fox LLP), President of the New York State Bar Association, said: "Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families affected by this horrible tragedy.  I want to commend all of the members of the Mass Disaster Response Committee for their outstanding efforts and quick response in ensuring that the families involved in this terrible accident receive the help and support they need.    
"At the same time, we must remember the importance of respecting the privacy of the families of these crash victims.  Accordingly, I would like to remind all members of the legal community that existing federal law precludes attorneys from having any unwanted communications relating to possible lawsuits or claims with air crash victims' families within 45 days of the incident.  In addition, both the current Code of Professional Responsibility, as well as the new Rules of Professional Conduct that become effective on April 1, provide that attorneys must refrain from solicitation for 30 days."

Members of the Mass Disaster Response Committee will be on-hand at the assistance center to answer any questions that the victims' family members may have and to provide additional information in the event family members are solicited by attorneys.  Continental Airlines is providing a hotline number for the family and friends of crash victims at 1-800-621-3263.