New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

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Director of Communications

New Jersey State Bar Association Launches Disaster Preparedness Initiative for New Jersey Law Firms

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks showed Americans that disasters can happen and that not being prepared can result in a snail’s pace recovery with detrimental consequences to the economy, legal system and public at-large. The New Jersey State Bar Association is taking a front seat regarding disaster preparedness for law firms in New Jersey with the creation of its Task Force on Disaster Planning by NJSBA President Wayne J. Positan. NJSBA members Brian S. Montag and Kevin P. McCann were named as co-chairs of the task force.

“One of my primary initiatives as president of the State Bar was to appoint a task force on disaster planning to address what I sense as dangerous complacency by us in the legal profession in New Jersey and our surrounding states,” said Positan. “When I visited the New Orleans area seven months after Hurricane Katrina, thousands of lawyers were still not back to their practices, there still had not been a criminal trial since the hurricane hit, and clients were left in legal limbo because their records and documents were lost.”

The task force is formulating a number of projects as part of its mission. The first will be the release a new brochure, “Disaster Planning – What To Do Now.” The booklet will provide checklists for law firms and suggested guidelines for such things as forming a disaster team, identifying the potential consequences of a disaster, establishing potential alternate work locations, preparing staff contact lists, and protecting data. The publication will also include sample disaster planning documents. The NJSBA will be making the brochure available through its website,, and will be posting additional information, resources and announcements as the task force continues its work. Law firms can also contact the NJSBA at 732-249-5000, or the New Jersey State Bar Foundation at 1 800 FREE LAW for copies.

The task force is also planning an extensive program and expo in disaster planning in April 2007. Details will be announced for this event.

“It is not always a major disaster that creates problems,” added Positan. “We all recall recent events in New Jersey where there has been flooding, floods in law offices, power outages and even a state government shutdown. We must be prepared to face even these smaller scale disasters and help ensure that our practices continue.”

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.