Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Louisiana State Bar Association Launches Effort to Help Displaced Attorneys and Their Families
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Louisiana State Bar Association has launched an effort to help attorneys deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and is encouraging lawyers around the country to send donations.
“The Red Cross and FEMA are poised to help citizens cope with their personal losses but I am confident members of the legal community will come together to help their colleagues whose law practices and families have been displaced by this unprecedented disaster,” LSBA President Frank X. Neuner Jr. of Lafayette said in a statement.
“Lawyers from across the state and country have contacted me in the past few days to determine what they can do to assist other members of the profession,” Neuner added. “We created the [Hurricane Katrina Legal Community Relief Fund] to provide a mechanism for these caring members of the legal community to assist their colleagues in this time of need.”
The fund is being administered by the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation. The LSBA said it is unable to coordinate the effort itself because its headquarters, the Louisiana Bar Center in downtown New Orleans, will be closed indefinitely.
A temporary headquarters is being set up in Lafayette, the LSBA said.
Officials asked that donations be sent to Hurricane Katrina Legal Community Relief Fund, c/o Baton Rouge Bar Foundation, 544 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. Further information about the fund will be posted in the future at lsba.org, they said.
The LSBA Web site also reported that the deadline for dues payments, due Sept. 6, has been extended.
In a separate development, State Bar of California President John Van de Kamp Friday encouraged California lawyers to support ongoing relief operations.
“Our hearts go out to the people who are suffering through the unspeakable upheaval and havoc of the hurricane and its aftermath,” Van de Kamp said in a statement. “Not surprisingly, members of the State Bar are eager to help and have asked how they can join other California attorneys in the relief effort.”
Van de Kamp urged support for organizations that are providing food, water, health care, medicine and shelter to the survivors. He noted that the American Bar Association has set up a page on its Web site, www.abanet.org/katrina, where lawyers may find information on making donations to relief agencies, volunteering to provide legal assistance and receiving guidance on how best to help hurricane victims.
The ABA has a disaster response plan that relies on its Young Lawyers Division and lawyers from several ABA sections to assist with insurance claims, home repair contracts, wills and other documents, and related issues. ABA President Michael S. Greco also has appointed the ABA Task Force on Hurricane Katrina to begin addressing the longer term needs of victims.
“At a time like this, we count on our fellow human beings to come to each others’ aid,” Van de Kamp said. “Members of The State Bar of California are more than willing to do that.”
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company