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Equal Justice Works Launches Disaster Recovery Legal Corps

/ Press Release

Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law today, announced the launch of the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps, a new Fellowship program, made up of 21 lawyers who will deliver legal and recovery assistance to individuals affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

In the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, there is a pressing need for lawyers as individuals are left to deal with a host of legal issues,” said Sara Morello, executive vice president of Equal Justice Works. “We are proud that the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps will ensure the availability of lawyers with the expertise and skills necessary to serve communities ravaged by these hurricanes.”

Disaster Recovery Legal Corps will place 18 lawyers in Texas and 3 lawyers in Florida, where they will work with established nonprofit legal services organizations to serve the highest-need communities in disaster-affected areas. Fellows will provide legal assistance on issues related to housing, employment, homeowners’/flood insurance, public benefits, and other disaster-related legal issues. Additionally, Fellows will expand the capacity of nonprofit legal services organizations to ensure that all residents have access to the legal services they need to stabilize and rebuild their lives.

“In the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, there is a pressing need for lawyers as individuals are left to deal with a host of legal issues,” said Sara Morello, executive vice president of Equal Justice Works. “We are proud that the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps will ensure the availability of lawyers with the expertise and skills necessary to serve communities ravaged by these hurricanes.”

Fellows will begin their two-year terms following a three-day training in Houston, Texas, from July 9 to 11, hosted by the law firm DLA Piper. Fellows will receive in-depth substantive and skills-based training to equip them with the tools they need to assist with disaster recovery.

Equal Justice Works will draw on years of experience in bringing together talented lawyers who can deliver critical legal assistance to individuals following a disaster. Since 2005, the organization has mobilized 45 disaster recovery Fellows to provide legal aid to individuals affected by crises, including tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and Norman, Oklahoma; Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike; Superstorm Sandy in New York;  the BP oil spill in the Gulf; and flooding in both Texas and Louisiana.

Disaster Recovery Legal Corps received philanthropic support from the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Florida Bar Foundation, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

Over the past three decades, Equal Justice Works has awarded more than 2,000 Fellowships to public interest lawyers committed to building a more just society. Roughly 85 percent of Fellows continue to serve the public interest beyond their Fellowships.

Click here to learn more about the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps Fellows.

In the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, there is a pressing need for lawyers as individuals are left to deal with a host of legal issues. We are proud that the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps will ensure the availability of lawyers with the expertise and skills necessary to serve communities ravaged by these hurricanes.

Sara Morello /
Executive Vice President, Equal Justice Works

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow