The NJSBA’s Mass Disaster Response Program for victims of Hurricane Sandy is aimed at helping persons who have incurred legal problems resulting directly from Hurricane Sandy.
1. Is malpractice insurance available through the Program? Do I need it to participate?
Malpractice insurance is not available through the Program. Malpractice insurance is not mandatory in New Jersey. Accepting a pro bono case as a part of the NJSBA’s Mass Disaster Response Program is no different from accepting such a case that you will be handling as a part of your own practice. If your malpractice insurance does not cover pro bono work, it is up to you to decide if you can participate in the Program or not.
2. What is the nature of the legal assistance which I am expected to provide?
The answer to this question is up to each attorney volunteer. The MDRP expects attorney volunteers to offer legal advice consistent with an initial consultation, assisting the individual in completing forms, or perhaps sending a letter on the individual’s behalf. Further obligation/legal assistance is based upon the attorney’s own volition, with the caveat that any assistance provided must be done on a completely pro bono basis.
3. How does one sign up as an attorney volunteer for the MDRP?
Joining the MDRP requires an attorney to complete a contact form which includes which practice areas the attorney agrees to provide assistance in and a “pledge form” where the attorney agrees not to charge for his legal services (the client may be billed for associated expenses so long as the client is advised of this fact at the time the
attorney agrees to provide legal representation beyond the initial consultation).
4. What are the practices areas where legal assistance from attorney volunteers is needed?
Presently, the list includes business insurance, homeowners insurance, automobile insurance, insurance related claims, landlord/ tenant law, real estate law and Federal Emergency Management Administration appeals. However, on occasion the list grows as new areas of need are identified. We will keep updated the list as necessary.
5. Is there any reference material available to assist me?
The law firm of McCarter and English is in the process of preparing an information booklet similar to the one they provided when the MDRP was activated for Hurricane Irene. As soon as such materials are available they will be posted on this website at http://www.njsba.com/resources/mass-disaster.html.
6. What about training?
The MSRP hopes to provide initial basic training to attorney volunteers in each of the areas noted with a particular emphasis on FEMA appeals.
7. What if I have additional questions?
Additional questions by attorney volunteers can be answered by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.