By Daniel Wiessner
Nov 2 (Reuters) - As New Yorkers continue recovery efforts
in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, bar groups in the area have
pledged a variety of services to aid storm victims and attorneys
who were impacted.
State Bar Association President Seymour James on Friday held
a phone conference with representatives of bar groups in New
York City, Long Island and Westchester to coordinate pro bono
efforts ranging from assisting storm victims with insurance
claims and federal aid applications to recovering lost legal
"Throughout the affected areas, the State Bar anticipates a
great need for assistance with legal issues," the group said in
Bar associations in New York provided similar services
following Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the terrorist attacks on
Sept. 11, 2001.
The monster storm claimed at least 41 lives and caused
billions of dollars in damage in New York state. Many courts
were up and running by Friday, but some, including state and
federal courts in Manhattan, remained shuttered on Friday.
The state bar association said it is developing a training
program to enable attorneys "to become better equipped to
provide pro bono services to people in need of assistance in the
wake of the storm." It also posted a free video on its website
that encourages attorneys to adopt customized recovery plans in
the event of natural disasters, medical emergencies and other
It is also using its website to track emergency measures
that will affect lawyers, including Governor Andrew Cuomo's
suspension this week of statutory time limits for filing or
service of legal actions and for filing appeals.
BEYOND THE CITY
Local groups in New York City and Long Island also will
assist attorneys whose practices have been affected by the storm
by providing temporary office space or offering advice on
Marian Rice, the president of the Nassau County Bar
Association, said the group is working to set up an
office-sharing program next week for lawyers who can't use their
own offices. She said Sandy's aftermath is highlighting the need
to prepare for disasters and to be able to work remotely.
The Suffolk County Bar Association has partnered with Touro
Law School to open a center next week to provide referrals and
legal advice for local residents and small businesses affected
by the storm. The center will be staffed with volunteer lawyers
and law students, said its president, Arthur Shulman.
Queens County Bar Association President Joseph Risi said the
group is coordinating with the Queens Volunteer Lawyer Project
to assist local residents with insurance claims, landlord-tenant
issues, home repair contracts and consumer protection issues.
The bar groups were not spared from the storm's impact. The
Suffolk bar association had no power on Friday, and the Nassau
bar had limited power. The New York County Lawyers Association's
office in lower Manhattan was open but did not have phone or
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