Don’t Get Hurled Away by a Hurricane!

Hurricane 09

Hurricane season is here! (June 1-November 30) 

A hurricane can have potentially long lasting and devastating effects if you are caught unprepared.  It is not difficult to take steps before a hurricane hits to protect you and your home, but dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane when you did not prepare can be a long painful process.  Don’t wait until a hurricane is on its way toward your home town; take the time now to secure the safety of you and your family so you are not caught off-guard by a hurricane this season.  In South Carolina, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division is a great place to start to prepare for a disaster.

Steps to take before a hurricane hits (FEMA):

  1. Secure your home with permanent storm shutters or plywood.
  2. Make sure your roof is securely fastened to the frame structure of your home.
  3. Trim trees and shrubs.
  4. Clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  5. If you have a boat, secure it.
  6. Build or determine which room in your house is the most secure in case of an emergency.
  7. Make copies of your personal records including Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Passport, etc.  Give the copies to relatives in another state or keep them stored electronically where they can be accessed from anywhere.

How to get help after a hurricane hits (National Disaster Legal Aid):

  1. A list of local organizations that can help can be found at
  2. If you lose your ID, passport, Social Security card, or other important documents you can find out how to replace them at
  3. Sometimes homes are destroyed or inaccessible in the wake of a hurricane and families are not able to return home.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing and FEMA have programs that provide temporary housing.
  4. Families that are displaced due to hurricane might have problems finding employment.  The Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program gives assistance through unemployment benefits.  You cannot be eligible for these benefits if you already receive unemployment.  Visit their website for eligibility requirements.
  5. If you are displaced because of a hurricane then your children will need to find a temporary school to meet their education needs.
  6. Disaster food stamps assistance is available in the wake of a hurricane.
  7. Legal aid attorneys can help with landlord/tenant issues, contractor disputes, insurance issues and more.
  8. Other websites that can help in disaster preparedness:


Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois – ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York – A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia – LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant


Shameless Plug

Tune in “LIVE” or set your TiVo


Next Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 7:30 p.m., the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission will be featured on The Big Picture. Although the program will introduce access to justice in general, the main focus of the program is on self-represented litigants (SRLs) or pro se litigants.

TV repeats of Thursdays broadcast will air each Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

The following morning at 9:00 a.m., the Big Picture radio show will continue the topic.


If you’re unfamiliar with SRLs, please check out my previous posts at

Want to Recognize Someone Special for their Pro Bono Work?

Attorneys often get a bad rap. Think about the terms ambulance chaser, sharks, bottom-feeders, and more. You get the picture.

But, this is not an accurate picture of attorneys. Each year, thousands of hours of legal work are donated, that’s right, for FREE, to assist individuals with legal problems. These individuals are unable to afford attorneys on their own and often meet federal poverty guidelines. Many times these individuals would end up losing their homes, employment, medical coverage, child custody, etc. without this assistance.

And, each year, the South Carolina Bar recognizes these attorneys for the good they do – their pro bono publico (for the public good) service.

If you know of an attorney who has helped you, helped a family member or a neighbor with their pro bono work, I encourage you to nominate them. Right now the South Carolina Bar’s Pro Bono Program is accepting nominations.


(a) Demonstrated dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to South Carolinians who meet up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines through a pro bono or other volunteer program.

(b) Contributed significant work toward developing innovative approaches to delivery of volunteer legal services.

(c) Participated in an activity that resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population.

(d) Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to South Carolinians who meet up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

(e) Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to the delivery of legal services to South Carolinians who meet up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines .

 Why is this so important? It’s important to recognize that although there may be attorneys who live up to the reputation of being a shark, there are so many more who devote their time and expertise to making the world a better place, one person at a time.

Help us recognize these attorneys – nominate one.

For more information, visit