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Disaster Assistance: Want to Volunteer?

June 13, 2019

The Oklahoma Bar Association, together with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma (LASO) and Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS), in a partnership with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, is stepping forward to provide free legal advice to survivors of recent storms and flooding that began May 7.

Counties designated for federal disaster assistance and free legal services are Canadian, Creek, Delaware, Kay, Logan, Mayes, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Payne, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington.

Lawyers wanting to volunteer to help should sign up to become a member of the OBA Disaster Response and Relief Committee.  Log in to MyOKBar and select “Join a Committee” from the menu options.  Fill out the short online form, and you’ll receive a reply email confirming your membership.

As a committee member, you’ll receive updates and communications through the committee’s forum within MyOKBar Communities.

Committee Chair Molly Aspan of Tulsa is coordinating the OBA’s efforts to assist Oklahomans affected by the disasters.

Disaster survivors are being told the legal services are being offered as a public service, free of charge and for the purpose of providing brief legal advice pursuant to Rule 6.5 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. Services are provided in response to the damages caused by the recent severe weather and the need for quick advice. They are provided without expectation that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter. In instances where advice is given pursuant to Rule 6.5, the attorney may not be able to fully check for conflicts of interest and may not be obligated to disclose a conflict of interest unless he or she has knowledge of it at the time. If representation or legal services are provided beyond what is anticipated herein, the attorney and client should enter into a separate, complete agreement.

Questions and assistance are expected in the areas of:

  • securing FEMA and other government benefits
  • life, medical and property insurance claims
  • home repair contracts and contractors
  • replacement of wills and other vital legal documents destroyed in the disaster
  • consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures
  • mortgage-foreclosure problems and
  • landlord-tenant problems.

Volunteer lawyers participating in the OBA’s Oklahoma Free Legal Answers and Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes Program will also be assisting.

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