ABA mobilizes to help survivors of Maui wildfires

The American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local legal aid offices to provide legal assistance to survivors of the Maui wildfires.

“The ABA is prepared to assist with the legal needs that so often arise after these natural disasters, including FEMA financial benefits, insurance claims and consumer issues such as contractor fraud,” said ABA President Mary Smith.

Hotlines are being set up to connect survivors who cannot afford an attorney with free legal services in qualifying geographic areas.  In addition to the services mentioned by Smith, attorneys will help with:

• Rewriting wills and other important legal documents destroyed or lost in the disaster

• Responding to price gouging, scams or identity theft

• Handling landlord or tenant disputes, or threats of foreclosure

Since September 2007, YLD has responded to around 300 declared disasters in 45 states and five U.S. territories.

Lawyers interested in providing assistance can consult the Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal, an online resource with opportunities to address legal issues arising from natural disasters at https://aba. joinpaladin.com/aba-disaster-relief.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Maui devastated by the wildfires,” Smith said. 

“Lawyers stand ready to help and will be there for those affected by this tragedy.”