President’s Blog – September 6, 2017

PAABA is increasingly receiving requests from our members about how to put our legal training and expertise to use to protect vulnerable communities and victims of natural disasters.  Pro bono work is a core element of PAABA’s community service commitment, and it has been heartening to see so much interest in service from our members.  While we are not currently staffed to develop independent programs, PAABA is committed to keeping you informed about resources and calls for assistance both in the Bay Area and nationally.

This week, we focus on Hurricane Harvey and on the recently announced rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Survivors of Harvey need legal assistance with insurance, real property, landlord/tenant, criminal defense, immigration, and various civil disputes.  The Texas Supreme Court has issued an emergency order allowing non-Texas attorneys to practice pro bono in Texas through a local legal aid or pro bono program or through the Texas Bar Association.  Out of state attorneys should fill out the form provided by the Texas Bar Association to initiate the volunteer process.

The American Bar Association is providing two free on-demand CLE webinars aimed at getting pro bono attorneys quickly up to speed on representing disaster survivors.  Out of state attorneys can also sign up for the ABA’s “Free Legal Answers” program to remotely answer Texas citizens’ legal questions.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has posted a fact sheet about DACA and the decision to rescind it, which gives a good overview of the situation for non-immigration counsel and can also be provided directly to your clients who are affected by or have questions about the DACA rescission.

Lawyers for Good Government is coordinating with immigration groups all over the country to assist individuals with current DACA status to submit renewal applications.  Only individuals whose DACA status expires between now and March 5, 2018 are eligible to seek renewal, and all renewal applications must be processed by October 5, 2017.  Attorneys need not have immigration experience; training will be provided.  To participate, fill out the form on the L4GG website and you will be directed to a local clinic.

Our neighbor Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto is hosting a DACA Renewal workshop on September 28, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at Goodwin LLP in Menlo Park.  We will update with registration information as soon as it becomes available, or follow CLSEPA on Twitter for current information.

Finally, the Immigration Advocates Network identifies several other Bay Area nonprofits seeking volunteers to assist with immigration matters, although we do not have information about DACA-specific clinics at this time.  (Link goes to Peninsula resources; to find East Bay or South Bay resources, run a new search with your zip code).

Additional resources or requests for assistance will be posted at www.paaba.org, on the PAABA Facebook page, and/or on Twitter.

If you are aware of other local groups or nonprofits seeking volunteers for emergency pro bono services, or you would like to coordinate pro bono work for PAABA, please let us know at info@paaba.org!

 

Gretchen Birkheimer
President, Palo Alto Area Bar Association

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