By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The Legal Aid Society is
finally home again.
Hundreds of staffers returned to their headquarters on
Tuesday, 2-1/2 months after Superstorm Sandy damaged the
building at 199 Water Street and forced them to seek other
The group found refuge at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &
Flom and at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, as well as
at Legal Aid's other satellite offices around the city.
The telephone lines remain out of service, but everything
else is back to normal, said spokeswoman Pat Bath.
Legal Services NYC and the New York Legal Assistance Group
also were displaced by Sandy but have already returned to their
NYLAG's staff members were housed at UJA-Federation of New
York and at a host of law firms around the city before remanning
their office at 7 Hanover Square last Thursday, said president
Legal Services was forced out of its downtown offices for
about a week, with most of its lawyers moving to its Harlem
The temporary relocations hampered the groups' efforts to
provide a range of civil legal services to thousands of
low-income New Yorkers who were affected by Sandy, which
barreled ashore in late October and caused billions of dollars
in damage to the state. With phone lines down and computers
off-line, lawyers scrambled to access files and communicate with
both staff members and clients.
Kate Whalen, a spokeswoman for Legal Services NYC, said the
group had committed thousands of hours to Sandy-related legal
aid since the storm.
NYLAG's 200 lawyers have provided assistance to
approximately 3,000 clients since launching a disaster aid
initiative in Sandy's aftermath, despite being unable to return
to the central office, Schulman said. Much of that work has
taken the form of helping residents apply for federal emergency
"We committed ourselves that it should not hamper the
delivery of services at all," he said.
(A previous version of this story misspelled the first name
of Yisroel Schulman.)
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook