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Legal aid heading to Katrina victims; lawyers across US donating funds, services

[JURIST] The American Bar Association heads a growing list of lawyers groups organizing legal aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. Bar associations from across the US are donating funds to support the provision of legal help to the hundreds of thousands of displaced citizens reconstructing their lives in the aftermath of the disaster; they're also calling for volunteers to offer free legal services to those filing insurance claims, applying for federal aid, registering for new identity documents, getting death certificates completed, etc.. The American Bar Association currently offers the most elaborate online Katrina legal aid resource, providing general information for victims and their families, lawyers affected by the disaster, lawyers wanting to personally volunteer their services, and military personnel needing legal help. The ABA has teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to open 24-hour toll-free legal help lines. The numbers are:

For Louisiana residents: 1-800-310-7029

For Mississippi residents: 1-866-255-4495

For Alabama residents: 1-800-354-6154

Callers will be connected with lawyers from local bar associations who will answer legal questions and provide assistance for problems resulting from the disaster.

Bar associations in New York [NYSBA press release], Virginia [VSB notice] and Illinois [ISBA press release] have also launched major fund and volunteer drives. Locally in the Gulf Coast region, the Louisiana State Bar has set up its own disaster relief fund and legal assistance project [LSBA information] as has the Mississippi Bar [official website], and the Alabama State Bar [press release].

Additional legal aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina is being offered by:

Are you involved in legal aid efforts for people affected by Hurricane Katrina? Tell us what you're doing. E-mail JURIST@law.pitt.edu

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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