Disaster Relief Assistance - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 30, 2012

Information for the public and lawyers seeking to help or be helped

The Tennessee Bar Association works with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and other organizations to provide assistance to those in need following natural disasters in the state. The table below guides you to available resources.




HELP4TN is a website with a broad range of legal and social service resources, including updated information for disaster relief. 

HELP4TN can be accessed via its website or by phone (1-844-HELP4TN). 

TN Free Legal Answers (formerly OnlineTNJustice) is a free online resource that provides free legal information and advice for low-income Tennesseans. Help is also available for disaster relief situations.  

Volunteer to Help
There are many opportunities for lawyers willing to volunteer following a disaster. Lawyers can volunteer to staff clinics in disaster areas, conduct legal outreach and information sessions, answer legal questions that come in through TN Free Legal Answers or calls from HELP4TN or other disaster legal assistance helpline. Sign up now!

Lawyers Needing Help
If your office was damaged, the TBA can coordinate relief and volunteer help from the legal community. Contact TBA Access to Justice Coordinator Liz Todaro for more information and visit the Disaster Relief Resources for Attorneys page. 

Disaster Legal Assistance Hotline
Residents of counties that have been declared a federal disaster area will be provided a toll free number to call to have their legal questions answered. More information coming soon!

Disaster Assistance Manual
This manual, produced by the TBA Young Lawyers Division, guides attorneys providing volunteer assistance to victims of disaster across the state.

Donate Office Equipment & Supplies
Donate office equipment, supplies or other resources to help attorneys who have been hit by a disaster. Sign up online.

Walk-in Legal Clinics
Depending on the needs of a specific area, walk-in clinics may be planned in counties that have been declared a federal disaster area. This page will be updated as clinics and legal outreach events are scheduled. 

Consumer Protection
A number of federal and state agencies offer resources for consumers recovering from a disaster and those who believe they have not been treated fairly. Some of these offices include:

Tennessee Attorney General's Office: Information from the state attorney general protects consumers from contracting scams, price gouging and other pitfalls after a natural disaster.

Specific guidance helps consumers deal with home repairs and working with insurance companies:

Department of Commerce & Insurance: The department offers a price gouging complaint form

Red Cross: The agency offers tips on repairing a flooded home

File a Claim with FEMA: Learn about the FEMA claims process at www.fema.gov

Training Webinars
The TBA offers two webinar programs to prepare lawyers willing to provide free legal services to disaster victims.

Providing Pro Bono Legal Services After a Disaster: This one-hour free webcast, presented by the TBA Young Lawyers Division, provides an overview of disaster legal services in Tennessee and equips volunteer lawyers to handle disaster-related pro bono cases. Using the YLD-produced Disaster Assistance Manual as a guide, the presenters identify the types of legal issues that most frequently arise after a natural disaster, and highlight the resources available for lawyers who volunteer to help disaster victims.

FEMA: Facts, Forms & Follow-Up: This one-hour session provides information about the FEMA application process necessary for Tennesseans to be eligible for federal benefits as well as the appeals process for those dissatisfied with the assistance granted. Speaker Juli Gallup is an Advocate at Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC). After Hurricane Katrina, Juli became DLAC’s Project Manager and the Tennessee state lead for Katrina Aid.

Preparing for a Disaster
This checklist will help lawyers make sure they are prepared for a potential disaster.

Recovering from a Disaster
This guide will help lawyers with damage assessments and business continuation issues for their law firms.