State Bar Association, Bar Foundation Raising Money to Help Superstorm Sandy Victims Obtain Legal Help

ALBANY, NY (12/20/2012)(readMedia)-- Recognizing that many victims of Superstorm Sandy are in dire need of legal assistance, the New York State Bar Association and The New York Bar Foundation have jointly established a fund to help them.

The "Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund" will lend financial support to local bar associations and legal service providers, helping those organizations reach out to those in need and provide essential legal services to storm victims. Among the legal services most sought by victims are help with landlord-tenant issues, insurance matters, obtaining government assistance and dealing with contractors.

"As we move forward with the recovery process, we anticipate that there will be a growing need for assistance with the many legal issues facing individuals, families and businesses in the affected areas," State Bar President Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City) and Bar Foundation President Cristine Cioffi of Niskayuna (Cioffi Slezak Wildgrube) said in a joint letter to potential donors.

Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207. Checks should be made payable to: The New York Bar Foundation, with the notation, "Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund." Donors also can contribute online by visiting, clicking "Make a Donation," and choosing this fund from the "Restricted Funds" drop-down.

The creation of the legal assistance fund is the latest in a series of efforts by the State Bar Association to assist victims of Superstorm Sandy.

In the wake of the storm, the State Bar Association created a toll-free helpline specifically for storm-related legal questions. It also has been working with local bar associations throughout the affected area to coordinate relief efforts and to assist service providers in recruiting volunteers and publicizing clinics and other free legal assistance.

In November, the State Bar held a free webcast covering a wide range of disaster recovery issues. The webcast was viewed by more than 2,000 people and continues to be available on its website for viewing. In addition, the association has been working with other organizations to educate attorneys to help people in need and bolster pro bono efforts.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, The New York Bar Foundation raised more than $50,000 for legal service providers and bar associations in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to help fund their hurricane recovery work.

The New York Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the New York State Bar Association, is a tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The New York State Bar Association, with 77,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.