State Bar of Texas, ABA, Lone Star Legal Aid and Local Bar Associations Stand Ready to Assist Texans Impacted by the Disaster in West, Texas

The State Bar of Texas has established a disaster legal hotline – 800.504.7030 – to assist people with basic legal questions following the devastating plant explosion in West, Texas.

The hotline – answered in English and Spanish by Lone Star Legal Aid – is intended to help low-income persons affected by the disaster with such issues as replacing lost documents, insurance questions, landlord-tenant issues, and consumer protection issues such as price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process. Residents can call and leave a message any time. People who qualify for assistance will be matched with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free, limited legal help. 

A partnership between the State Bar of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Association, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Lone Star Legal Aid, local bar associations, and other legal services providers throughout Texas is making a range of assistance available.

Additional resources are available at www.texasbar.com/disasterresponse and www.texaslawhelp.org.

The State Bar of Texas reminds the public that solicitation of a potential legal case is a crime unless the lawyer has a family relationship with you or you have been a client of the lawyer in the past or are currently a client. Solicitation of you is also a crime if perpetrated by a non-lawyer employee or representative of the lawyer, unless the previous conditions exist. Please report any prohibited contacts by lawyers or their representatives, whether in person, telephone or otherwise, to your local law enforcement authority or the State Bar of Texas at 877.953.5535.

Attorneys who want to volunteer to help may visit our Disaster Relief and Attorney Resources page.

Attorney volunteers needed for central Texas wildfire response

The Austin Bar Association in partnership with the Bastrop County Bar Association is scheduling attorney volunteers for the free legal clinic in the FEMA Disaster Relief Center, 1602 Hill St., Bastrop High School 9th Grade Center. If you wish to help, email your full name, cell phone number, and when you can volunteer to Michelle Fox at Michelle@austinbar.org.

Available attorney volunteers slots:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 14., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 17., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 21., 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 21., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Texas wildfire disaster relief

The Houston Bar Association and the Houston Young Lawyers Association are responding to the needs of our neighbors, and we are offering our members several ways to get involved in disaster relief.

• Donations may be made to wildfire relief efforts of the American Red Cross through the Houston Bar Foundation. Make checks payable to the Houston Bar Foundation and write Texas Wildfire Relief on the information line. Send your check to the Foundation at 1001 Fannin Street, Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77002.

• The HBA's Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program has set up a disaster hotline and an email where those affected by the fires can email questions to disaster.assistance@hvlp.org or call 713-225-9455 and leave a message, which will then be answered by a staff attorney or volunteer. The HBA is evaluating other legal needs that displaced persons may have in the future to determine services.

• The Austin Bar Association is recruiting volunteer attorneys to staff legal clinics in two locations in Bastrop and is providing additional services for those affected by the fires in Central Texas. For more information, visit www.austinbar.org.
 

Austin Bar Association's wildfire response seminar

The Austin Bar Association's wildfire response seminar for volunteer lawyers is now featured on http://www.tenminutementor.com. Video segments are free to view or download.

Seminar segments include:

An Introduction to the Central Texas Wildfire Response Team 
Background Information on the Austin Bar’s Response to the Wildfire Disaster 
Ethics & Pro Bono Service 
FEMA & Public Benefits 
Home Ownership Issues (title/mortgage, tax & fencing, barn, pens) 
Insurance and Consumer Law Issues 
Landlord/Tenant Concerns  
Pet and Animal Welfare Law 

Bell County Bar Association collecting items and donations for victims of the Bastrop County fire

The Bell County Bar Association will be collecting items next week, specifically at the Bench Bar Conference on Sept. 22. The items will be delivered to victims of the Bastrop County fire. Please limit your donations to these specific items: gift cards for grocery stores (HEB, Walmart, Target), new socks and undergarments (all sizes), toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, body soap, shampoo, disposable razors), baby clothing, blankets, diapers, gently used small toys, school supplies (pens, pencils, notebooks) talcum powder, anti bacterial hand gel, eyedrops, chapstick, and sunscreen.

During the week of Sept. 19 - Sept. 23 boxes will be set up at the Justice Complex located at 1201 Huey Road, Belton. Cash donations are always accepted, please make checks payable to BCBA.

Volunteers are still needed to assist at onsite legal clinics in Bastrop. Free legal advice will be provided to those affected by the fires. For more information on the clinics, please contact Lisa Richardson (lisa.richardson@rclawtexas.com).

Austin Bar Wildfire Response Team offers attorney volunteer training

The Austin Bar Association is offering a free CLE training for attorney volunteers responding to legal questions and providing assistance to all those affected by the wildfires. The training will be Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Austin Bar Association, 816 Congress Ave., Suite 700, Austin.

The cost is free to Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyers Association members. The CLE credit for this training is 2.0 hours MCLE ethics credit.

This training will cover:

  •  Ethics & Pro Bono Service
  •  FEMA & Public Benefits
  •  Home Ownership Issues (title/mortgage, tax & fencing, barn, pens)
  •  Landlord-Tenant Concerns
  •  Insurance and Consumer Law Issues
  •  Pet and Animal Welfare Law

Read the full agenda.

Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas is providing malpractice coverage to lawyers volunteering through the Austin Bar.

To RSVP for this training, please contact Marissa Lara-Arebalo at 512-472-0279, x100 or at Marissa@austinbar.org.

Thank you to all the volunteer attorneys and donors for your support in helping evacuees affected by the Bastrop wildfires.

Legal clinic for wildfire victims is available today in Smithville

State Bar staff are volunteering today at a legal clinic in Smithville. Volunteers are available to provide legal advice and disaster information to those who have been affected by the wildfires. The clinic is located on 210 Main St., Smithville and volunteers will be available from 10a.m. - 6p.m.

Clinics are also available in Bastrop which are sponsored by the Austin Bar Association. Download a pdf for clinic details.

(Pictured: State Bar of Texas Executive Director Michelle Hunter (right) and State Bar employee Elma Garcia. Volunteers not pictured, State Bar staff Pat Nester and John Sirman).

 

Austin Bar expands free legal advice clinics for wildfire evacuees

From the Austin Bar Association:

Austin, TX – The Austin Bar Association, in partnership with the Bastrop County Bar Association, has expanded the free legal clinics for wildfire evacuees to six shelters in Bastrop County.

Attorneys will be available in Bastrop at the following locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Sept. 8 through Saturday, Sept. 10 (and possibly into next week depending on need):

  • Bastrop Christian Outreach, 1096 Hwy 71 W.
  • Ascension Catholic Church, 802 Pine St. (Water St. & Pine St.)
  • Celebration Christian Church, 107 Longhorn St.
  • First Assembly of God, 609 Pecan St.
  • Premerica Baptist Church, 308 Paul C Bell
  • Sears Hometown Store, 735 Old Austin Hwy, Ste. B

In addition, two hotlines have been set up for legal questions for those that cannot return to the area:

  • State Bar of Texas: 1-800-504-7030
  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid: 1-866-757-1570

Attorneys who want to volunteer, should contact Michelle Fox at michelle@austinbar.org.

Volunteers sought for wildfire legal response

The Austin Bar Disaster Response Team is looking for more volunteers this week to serve at its Austin Bar Legal Clinic at two locations in Bastrop. Please visit this website to sign up and help. The Austin Bar needs need attorneys, legal assistants, legal administrators, receptionists, legal secretaries, and couriers (with cars).

The Austin Bar also seeks donations of necessities for evacuees.