By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Nov 14 (Reuters) - New York court
administrators will temporarily allow attorneys licensed in
other states to provide pro bono legal services to victims of
The Court of Appeals on Wednesday announced that it was
invoking its Major Disaster Rule in response to a request from
the state bar association.
Section 520.11 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, which
was adopted last year, is being invoked by the high court for
the first time. It grants pro hac vice admission to out-of-state
lawyers solely for the purpose of performing pro bono work
related to a disaster.
Under the rule, attorneys must be supervised by a non-profit
or bar association, must notify clients that they were admitted
to the bar outside of New York and they cannot appear in court.
"There are a number of qualified lawyers who want to provide
assistance to those affected by the storm," Patricia Bucklin,
the executive director of the New York State Bar Association,
wrote in a letter to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on Wednesday.
Among the groups offering to help storm victims are the
Washington-based American Health Lawyers Association, whose
members have experience with insurance and federal disaster aid
claims, and the State Bar of Georgia, Bucklin said.
The rule will remain in effect until the Court of Appeals
"determines that the emergency conditions in New York have
ceased," according to a release by the court.
It applies in New York City, Long Island and the counties of
Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.
Bucklin said the state bar association is asking
out-of-state attorneys to register with the group's lawyer
Sandy, which hit landfall in the Northeast on Oct. 29,
caused about $33 billion in damage in New York, Governor Andrew
Cuomo said on Tuesday.
The state bar association, local bar groups and legal
service providers are offering a range of services, from free
advice for storm victims to office-sharing programs and disaster
training for attorneys.
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