Recent news and articles on www.OKbar.org

News & Press Releases

Attorneys Offer Free Legal Advice to Recent Tornado Victims

(Oklahoma City - May 24, 2013) Oklahoma lawyers are among those ready to lend a hand to this month’s tornado victims.  Through the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Disaster Relief program and a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, lawyers are gearing up to offer no-cost, disaster-related legal advice to those impacted in Caddo, Cleveland, Comanche, Creek, Garfield, Grant, Greer, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne and Pottawatomie counties.

Victims seeking legal advice can visit www.okbar.org to complete a legal assistance form or call toll-free 866-341-8416 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Those seeking assistance are asked to provide as many details about their situations in the online form as possible.  Applications of victims seeking help will be reviewed to determine the areas in which they need assistance and then paired with a volunteer attorney who has experience in those areas of the law.  This free service begins immediately.

OBA President Jim Stuart of Shawnee said, “We have all been affected by this tragedy directly or indirectly; and as Oklahomans, we feel impelled to reach out and help our neighbors.  When victims are ready to start piecing their lives back together, Oklahoma attorneys will step in and do our part.  At that point, providing free legal assistance related to this disaster will become essential.”  

Aid will be provided free of charge regarding insurance claims, landlord-tenant law, repair contracts, consumer protection, mortgage foreclosure, legal document replacement and more.  Advice will only be offered for legal questions related to the recent tornadoes. OBA Disaster Response and Relief Committee Chair Molly Aspan of Tulsa is spearheading the bar’s efforts to assist victims.  

Background

When the U.S. President declares a major disaster, FEMA, in cooperation with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, establishes a toll-free number for disaster survivors to request legal assistance.  The ABA Young Lawyers Division in turn partners with state bar associations and other legal organizations to recruit volunteer lawyers in affected areas to handle survivors’ cases.

Partnership Members
The following organizations have joined forces to establish a toll-free phone line for Oklahoma tornado survivors to request free legal assistance and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from recent storm damage:

Oklahoma Bar Association
The 17,000-member Oklahoma Bar Association, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to advance the administration of justice and to foster and maintain learning, integrity, competence, public service and high standards of conduct among Oklahoma's legal community.

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law.  Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigation the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.  Through an agreement with the ABA, FEMA underwrites the cost of operating toll-free legal assistance lines for survivors in areas designated as federal disaster sites.