An existing toll-free hotline created last month by the New York State Bar Association for survivors of recent storms and flooding in New York is being bolstered by a partnership with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Homeowners and tenants facing legal issues may call 800-342-3661 to request assistance. Callers should say that they are seeking storm-related legal assistance, and should identify the county in which they are located. They will be matched with New York lawyers who have volunteered to provide at least 30 minutes of free legal consultation.

The type of legal assistance available includes:

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

When the U.S. President declares a major disaster, FEMA, in cooperation with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, establishes a toll-free number for disaster survivors to request legal assistance. Funding for the toll-free line comes from FEMA under the authority of Section 415 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707). 

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division in turn joins with state bar associations and other legal organizations to recruit volunteer lawyers in affected areas to handle survivors' cases. In this instance, there will be no additional expense for the federal government, because the State Bar Association if offering use of its existing toll-free line.

Partnership Members
The following organizations have joined forces to support a toll-free phone line for New York storm survivors to request free legal assistance, and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from recent storm damage.

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division - The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law.  Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.

Federal Emergency Management Agency - FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror

The New York State Bar Association - The NYSBA, which has 77,000 members, is the nation's largest voluntary state bar association. Its Lawyer Referral and Information Service and its Young Lawyers Section has been offering free legal consultation to flood survivors since early September. The section is comprised of lawyers in their first ten years of practice or under 37 years of age.


Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs