Disaster Relief Attorney Handbooks
- NC Pro Bono Resource Center Disaster Assistance Manual (Nov. 2018, updated Sept. 2021)
- Legal Aid of NC Disaster Relief Handbook
Disaster Relief Video Trainings for Attorney Volunteers
- CLE Offered by Legal Aid of NC in Response to Hurricane Matthew (Dec. 2016, updated Oct. 2020)
- DLS “Bootcamp” by NC Pro Bono Resource Center (Nov. 2019)
- Legal Services Corporation “Disaster Counseling” Video Series
For General Disaster Information, Resource & Referral Guides
- North Carolina Bar Foundation Pro Bono Resource Manual
- NC Pro Bono Resource Center Disaster Assistance Manual Resource & Referral Guide
- NC Pro Bono Resource Center, Disaster Legal Assistance Resources
- National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center
FEMA-Related Information & Resources
- FEMA Helpline: 1.800.621.FEMA
- To locate a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, text “DRC” and zip code to 4FEMA (43362). Example: “DRC 27513”
- To locate an open shelter, text “SHELTER” and zip code to SHELTER1234. Example “SHELTER 27513”
Helplines & Hotlines
- American Red Cross Disaster Services Relief Hotline: 1.800.RED.CROSS
- North Carolina Department of Insurance Consumer Helpline: 1.855.408.1212
- North Carolina Attorney General: 919.716.6400
Volunteer Expectations & Timeline
Every DLS pro bono attorney volunteer is asked to assist clients with FEMA claim filing. Volunteers who are willing to assist clients with other legal needs, as indicated on the DLS Volunteer Registration Form, may also receive referrals in other legal areas. Volunteers are asked to help clients with basic services such as filling out forms, writing letters, and placing phone calls. Clients with matters that require more significant representation should be directed to the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service at 1.800.662.7660, M-F 8am-5pm (Spanish-speaking operators are available).
Volunteers are asked to provide:
· Basic counseling, advice and limited-scope representation;
· Extended representation; and/or
· Clinic-based brief advice and counseling (dates, times and places TBD).
An NCBA Young Lawyers Division volunteer will pair you with a DLS Hotline client referral after callers are processed through an intake conducted by Legal Aid of North Carolina staff. Please note that you may not receive a referral immediately after signing up to serve as a volunteer — please be patient, and stay engaged with us. NC residents affected by disaster will have legal assistance needs for up to a year, or more, post-event.
- In the first few weeks after a storm passes, the legal needs of those affected will concern initial FEMA and insurance claims, government benefits, school enrollment for displaced families, landlord/tenant and real property issues, document replacement and income protection matters.
- Two to six months out from the event, those affected by the hurricane will require assistance with FEMA/SBA appeals and recoupments, housing displacement, repair and contractor scams, and powers of attorney.
- In the longer term (6+ months post-event), affected residents may need legal advice and assistance regarding foreclosure, insurance disputes, bankruptcy and disaster relief tax applications.
If you are interested in providing immediate, brief pro bono legal assistance to disaster survivors, please sign up to volunteer with the NC Free Legal Answers pro bono project, through which volunteer attorneys provide answers to questions posed by members of the public through an online portal, in a Q&A format. Register at NC Free Legal Answers.
Malpractice insurance coverage is provided to North Carolina attorneys who volunteer through the DLS program. For more information, please email [email protected].