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January 16, 2009

STATE BAR RESPONDS TO US AIRWAYS PLANE CRASH IN HUDSON RIVER

Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee Provides Assistance to State and City Authorities, Emergency Response Teams

In the wake of yesterday's plane crash of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in Manhattan, members of the New York State Bar Association's Mass Disaster Response Committee are working with state and city authorities, as well as emergency response personnel, to provide assistance to the passengers, who were miraculously spared serious injury, but may still require help with a variety of issues.

Mass Disaster Response Committee Chair Bob Saltzman was on the scene throughout last evening, helping to coordinate response efforts and aiding passengers rescued from the plane.  Among the types of legal support the committee is providing include distributing pamphlets that explain victims' basic legal rights and supplying any other information needed by the victims.

Bernice Leber, President of the State Bar Association, said: "I want to commend Bob Saltzman and the members of the Mass Disaster Response Committee for their outstanding efforts and timely response in helping to ensure that the needs of the crash victims are being met.

"The safe rescue of all passengers and crew members aboard US Airways Flight 1549 is indeed a miracle and we are eternally grateful to all of the emergency response personnel who did such a wonderful job.

"At the same time, we must remember the importance of respecting the privacy 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 or their 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."

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