The Disaster Legal Response Program (DLRP) has been created by Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) to offer pro bono assistance to New Jersey residents who have incurred legal problems directly related to Superstorm Sandy. Victims of Sandy have a number of ways they can access assistance from the VLJ program.
Legal Clinics: VLJ is sponsoring ongoing free legal clinics in Monmouth, Ocean, Hudson and Bergen Counties at which VLJs volunteer attorneys provide counsel, advice and/or limited scope assistance to participants. Topics include insurance, housing or landlord/tenant issues, contractor disputes, and FEMA appeals. Volunteers at the clinics have included attorneys from McCarter & English LLP, Patton Boggs LLP, UBS, Citi, Duane Morris LLP, Gibbons PC, Jackson Lewis LLP and Morgan Lewis. Clinic participants should bring all relevant documents, such as correspondence with FEMA, insurance policies and correspondence with insurers, mortgages and recent mortgage statements, and leases and correspondence with landlords.
Extended Representation: All victims of the storm with legal issues in New Jersey, regardless of their income and assets, are eligible to meet with a volunteer attorney at the legal clinic for advice and/or brief service. Clinic participants needing extended representation are screened for financial eligibility. Generally, a family of four must have an annual income that is less than $71,000, and applicants will also be asked questions about the value of their assets. VLJ will attempt to locate a volunteer attorney to take on full representation of the clients legal issue.
Statewide Hotline: Victims can also call VLJs statewide toll-free disaster hotline (855) 301-2525 staffed by volunteer attorneys, VLJ staff, and law students. Intake staff is available to answer calls on Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will screen cases for potential placement with volunteer lawyers. Callers may also leave a message on the hotline after hours and receive a prompt call-back from a VLJ volunteer or staff member to address their issues.
About the program: VLJs Disaster Legal Response Program is funded through the generosity of The Merck Company Foundation, McCarter & English LLP, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund. More than 100 attorneys are participating including those in law firms, solo practitioners, corporations and VLJ lawyers, who provide a variety of pro bono legal services for victims of the storm. VLJ is a state-wide 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation based in Newark, which provides comprehensive legal services to adults, children, and families in New Jersey to ensure fair and equal treatment within the legal system.