April 7, 2009


Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee Providing Assistance to Victims' Family Members

In the wake of last Friday's fatal shooting at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, members of the New York State Bar Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee are working with state and local authorities to provide legal assistance to the family members of those who were killed in the incident.  The committee was established by the State Bar in 1997 to provide free, short-term legal assistance to victims and their families in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or other tragic event.

Bernice Leber (Arent Fox LLP), President of the New York State Bar Association, said, "Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those lives have been shattered by this senseless and violent tragedy.  During this kind of crisis, the lawyers of the State Bar have responded time and again, to those in need of our help, to provide guidance and comfort to those who have to face personal tragedy." 

Members of the Committee have been volunteering at the family assistance center in Binghamton in order to provide important information to the families about their basic legal rights, as well as issues related to immigration, property matters, and other areas.  The legal team, led by Maria Lisi-Murray and aided by Binghamton native and Immediate Past President of the Bar Association Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP), will remain at the center as needed to provide on-going assistance and counsel.

This year, members of the Mass Disaster Response Committee have also provided assistance in the aftermath of other recent incidents including the plane crashes in Buffalo and New York City (Hudson River).
The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  Founded in 1876, the Association's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.