Homeowners and tenants affected by recent devastating floods across New York are eligible for free legal consultation through a program sponsored by the New York State Bar Association.

Assistance is being offered to flood victims throughout the state, not just to those living in the 24 counties that have been declared federal disaster areas. 

Volunteer attorneys will be available to answer questions about insurance, property disputes, landlord-tenant matters and general legal matters, such as replacing a missing will, medical proxy or other documents.

"The State Bar members have a long tradition of reaching out to help individuals in times of need. We are pleased to again offer our assistance," said Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo LLP). The Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) is coordinating the program.

Flood victims seeking legal advice should call LRIS at 1-800-342-3661. Callers will be given the name and telephone number of a volunteer attorney.  Callers will receive a free consultation of at least 30 minutes, either in-person or by telephone.

Reaching flood victims with information about the LRIS is complicated by interruption of telephone, Internet and television service in affected communities.  Informational posters are being sent to the local emergency centers.  The State Bar appreciates the assistance of local newspapers and broadcasters in helping to make flood victims aware of the legal services program. 

It is anticipated that the need for legal services (especially regarding denial of insurance claims) will increase once victims deal with immediate food and shelter concerns.

Attorneys wishing to volunteer their services to flood victims may call LRIS at 1-800-342-3661.

The federal government has declared 24 counties disaster areas. They include Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster,
Warren, and Westchester counties. Additional counties may be added. The State Bar's pro bono assistance is available to flood victims across the state, even if their counties have not qualified for federal funds. 

The LRIS puts New Yorkers in touch with lawyers and local bar referral services, legal aid societies, legal service programs, state agencies and mediation groups. It serves 44 counties throughout the state and receives more than 15,000 calls each year.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest state voluntary bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer