Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Monday, October 29, 2007

 

Page 3

 

Malibu Courthouse to Reopen, State Bar to Assist Wildfire Victims

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

The Malibu courthouse at 23525 W. Civic Center Way will re-open today, court officials said.

The court reiterated its previous announcement that cases that were to be heard last week at the facility, which was closed because of road closures related to the recent wildfires, will be heard exactly one week from the original scheduled date.

Also, the State Bar announced Friday that it is working with the San Diego County Bar Association and local law firms to assist disaster victims in that county, which has seen the most serious devastation from the fires.

Residents with legal questions related to the fires can call 1-866-636-9041, a hotline sponsored by the State Bar and hosted by the law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP, which should be fully operational by tomorrow, the State Bar said.

The State Bar also warned that unscrupulous lawyers or others may solicit legal work from disaster victims, who may report such activity to the State Barís discipline complaint intake hotline at 1-800-843-9053. It is illegal for attorneys or their agents to solicit clients at the scene of an accident or other disaster.

While the State Bar is concentrating on San Diego County, Los Angeles County residents may obtain free referrals to attorneys and legal aid services from the Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

LACBA said Thursday it will waive the serviceís normal referral fee for wildfire victims in need of legal assistance, and attorneys in the program will provide the first 30 minutes of consultation free of charge.

Fire victims may contact the service by phone at (213) 243-1525, Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and speak to a bilingual interviewer who will refer them to an attorney or legal services agency.

After-hours callers who leave a message will receive a return call the next business day, LACBA said, adding that referrals and information for disaster victims are also available online at www.smartlaw.org.

 

Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company