6-Hour Program

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This program was recorded on November 19, 2021, and organized by Pro Bono Net, Lone Star Legal Aid, and Equal Justice Works.


There have been over 300 federal major disaster declarations across the United States and territories in the past five years, resulting from hurricanes, wildfires, severe weather events, earthquakes, and other emergencies. These major disasters have devastated communities and cost the lives of thousands of people. During the response and recovery phases, the legal issues that individuals face often go unnoticed. Legal problems include landlord and tenant disputes, obtaining disaster assistance, replacing important documents lost during the weather event, and insurance claims. These problems also span over several months after the disaster, and in some cases, even years.

This program will provide attendees a comprehensive overview of the legal landscape after a disaster. Speakers will share insights from their disaster response work and provide practical advice for supporting survivors and impacted communities through a path of recovery and resilience. In addition, program faculty will explain why and how climate disasters, preparedness (or lack thereof), and policies concerning disaster recovery affect racial minorities, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and immigrant survivors.


What You Will Learn

  • The difference between a Federal Emergency and Disaster Declaration
  • The Major Disaster Declaration Process and the types of assistance made available after a major disaster declaration
  • The basics of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including the application and appeals process
  • Types of legal needs that arise after a disaster
  • How climate disasters and policies concerning disaster recovery affect at-risk individuals and communities
  • Examples of legal response frameworks and efforts in the aftermath of past major disasters
  • Uses of technology in disaster preparedness, response, and long-term recovery
  • When and how pro bono attorneys, law students, and other advocates can assist legal response efforts


Interested in learning more? In this episode of Pursuing Justice: The Pro Bono Files, Alicia Aiken talks to seasoned disaster relief attorneys about how pro bono assistance can make a difference for survivors.

Credit Details