This article originally appeared on the Chicago Bar Foundation’s website and has been updated to include information on Hurricane Irma relief.
As we continue to tackle our local access to justice challenges, we are also greatly concerned about the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The human toll is creating huge challenges for everyone, and there are lots of ways to contribute through the Red Cross, Salvation Army and others to help meet some of those immediate needs.
As the recovery process begins, many thousands of people are going to need legal help for storm-related issues as well. That heightened need will be exacerbated in the Houston area because the main legal aid program there, Lone Star Legal Aid, had their office burn down due to storm-related causes.
The easiest and best thing you can do from here to help on the access to justice front is to make a contribution to support the pro bono and legal aid efforts in the impacted areas. The Texas Access to Justice Foundation and Florida Bar Foundation have each set up a special fund if you are interested in making a contribution to directly support legal aid for storm victims.
On the pro bono front, the ABA has created a central hub for information on pro bono efforts for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center is also a good resource for individuals looking for ways to get involved and to support relief efforts.
In Texas, the state Supreme Court has issued an order allowing out-of-state attorneys to temporarily practice in Texas in order to help the thousands of victims of this week’s devastating storm and flooding. The State Bar of Texas has an online volunteer form you can fill out, and Brenna DeVaney of Skadden Arps is taking the lead on coordinating law firm efforts in through the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.