Law Students, Attorneys Offer Assistance for Ala. Residents Impacted by Hurricane Katrina

November 21, 2005

Residents and evacuees affected by Hurricane Katrina can now take advantage of free legal assistance offered by the University of Alabama, the Alabama State Bar Association (ABA) and Legal Services Alabama (LSA).

Law students from the University of Alabama are donating their time to help persons affected by the hurricane. The students, along with volunteer Tuscaloosa area lawyers, are part of the Hurricane Katrina Legal Assistance Project. The undertaking is part of the Public Interest Institute and the Clinical Law Program at the University of Alabama School of Law. Students are paired with lawyers to research a problem an evacuee is having.

More than 80 students and lawyers are currently helping evacuees obtain information about what kind of issues the evacuees face. The team can also answer questions evacuees might have about general legal issues. The Hurricane Legal Assistance Project can be reached at (205) 348-8302 or

The ABA Young Lawyers Section has partnered with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that hurricane victims have legal assistance if they need it. Residents and evacuees can call the Disaster Legal Services line to get more information about what assistance is available. The toll free number is 800-354-6154. The line is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Legal Services Alabama (LSA), a statewide non-profit organization that provides legal counseling to the elderly and to low income families, is also helping Katrina victims who might otherwise not be able to afford legal assistance. Individuals and families who suffered losses can contact LSA at (877) 393-2333. The number is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The programs can offer legal guidance on a number of different topics, including:

* Health and Medical issues;
* Avoiding fraud during repairs;
* Housing issues;
* Unemployment Assistance;
* Family-related legal issues.

“Legal aid is an important part of the recovery effort.” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bolch. “I know the help of law students and volunteer attorneys is appreciated by the people whose lives were disrupted and changed by Katrina.”

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