We are tremendously thankful for the interest and support many have expressed in responding to the disaster and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In collaboration with, including la Mesa de Trabajo de Acceso a la Justicia, the legal clinics at the University of Puerto Rico and Interamerican University Schools of Law and the Colectivo Accion Legal, with institutions in the U.S., we are initiating efforts to organize and train lawyers (preferably bilingual) who will be able to help with post-disaster relief legal aid assistance.
Our volunteer efforts will likely develop across three stages:
- (1) Collect legal knowledge & information:We are identifying the relevant laws and regulations surrounding disaster relief and identifying collaborating organizations with experience who can help provide training and materials.
- (2) Offer & participate in trainings: Once legal needs have been identified, we will share information about webinars and live training opportunities. At least initially, there are conversations to host live trainings in New York City and Puerto Rico. If you have expertise or experience in offering legal aid after a natural disaster, please let us know.
- (3) Provide direct legal assistance: The initial capacity building stages will eventually devolve into providing direct assistance to individuals, families, and communities in need in Puerto Rico. We expect to begin sharing opportunities of this sort in a few weeks after the most urgent relief efforts have been completed and communication networks reestablished. We hope to organize legal “brigades” of lawyers who can help go down and assist lawyers in Puerto Rico in filing FEMA claims, insurance claims, unemployment claims and other claims related to public benefits and assistance as needed.
To sign-up or express interest in helping at any or all stages, please fill out this form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.