“Volunteering doesn’t have to be direct legal services or taking on a case, I think that is actually a misconception. It can also be reviewing or preparing know your rights materials for the public on a topic you’re an expert on, or it can be conducting research on policy or being a mentor to a law student.” – Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz

This month officially marks the beginning of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends in November. What should attorneys and other legal advocates know about the legal needs disaster survivors face, and why does that matter if we want to help communities recover? Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz, Pro Bono Net’s Pro Bono & Strategic Initiatives Manager, recently went on Practising Law Institute’s Pursuing Justice: The Pro Bono Files Podcast to discuss Pro Bono Net’s Disaster Response Initiative. This podcast provides a behind-the-scenes exploration of pro bono and public interest legal work.¹ 

In this episode, Alicia Aiken, Director of the Danu Center’s Confidentiality Institute and Faculty Fellow at Practising Law Institute (PLI), talks to Jeanne and other seasoned disaster relief attorneys about how pro bono can make a difference in disasters, and how lawyers can prepare to pitch in.²

When asked about how attorneys can prepare in helping after a disaster, Jeanne says:

“One of the things that Pro Bono Net did with Equal Justice Works and Lone Star Legal Aid was the PLI training on current and emerging disaster response issues, which I think is an excellent resource for people who are new to disaster legal aid, and we cover everything from the lifecycle of disaster legal issues, how to advocate for survivors, and changes in federal regulations that have taken place in recent months.”

Another great resource Jeanne highlights is:

“One of the things that Pro Bono Net did after the 2017 major disasters was build on our partnership with Lone Star Legal Aid to create the National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center, which is an online resource to facilitate connections between advocates working in disaster legal aid and also to give additional visibility to what’s going on in the disaster legal aid field.”

For more information and to listen to the podcast, visit Practising Law Institute’s website. For more information on Pro Bono Net’s disaster work, visit: probono.net/our-work/initiatives/disaster

¹ https://www.pli.edu/probono/probonopodcast 

² https://www.pli.edu/probono/probonopodcast/episode-21