Many New Jerseyans like Eric Brophy, Esq. of Wall Township remember Superstorm Sandy like it was yesterday. A partner and co-founder of Diegnan Brophy LLC, also in Wall Township, Brophy was a first responder in New Jersey’s legal community and a vital component of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice’s pro-bono legal aid in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
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Release Date: Friday, February 07, 2014
Media Contact: Christine Ziomek (201) 796-7788
Wall Township, N.J. Resident Plays Essential Role in VLJ’s Legal Aid in Monmouth and Ocean Counties
WALL TOWNSHIP/NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 7, 2014 – Many New Jerseyans like Eric Brophy, Esq. of Wall Township remember Superstorm Sandy like it was yesterday. A partner and co-founder of Diegnan Brophy LLC, also in Wall Township, Brophy was a first responder in New Jersey’s legal community and a vital component of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice’s pro-bono legal aid in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
Brophy took immediate action in the first days after the storm, working with the mayor of Belmar to establish a legal clinic at Belmar Town Hall. The clinic was up and running several days later and during the next four weeks, lawyers were on site daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Soon after, Brophy connected with VLJ, which was sending pro-bono lawyers out to FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers in the hardest-hit communities.
“We knew immediately that Eric’s knowledge of the area would be essential in planning an effective long-term pro-bono project to serve the victims of the storm,” said Cathy Keenan, Esq., director of VLJ. Right around this time, VLJ received additional funding to hire full-time legal staff to effectively operate a new Disaster Legal Response Program (DLRP).
In 2013, VLJ’s DLRP held 72 free legal clinics staffed by 70 different volunteer attorneys, placed numerous direct referral cases for full representation, and helped more than 558 families with their legal problems. DLRP also operates a daily toll-free number from Monday to Friday manned by volunteer attorneys, VLJ staff members and law students.
“Not only has Eric volunteered at countless legal clinics, but he has also recruited attorney volunteers and has served as a mentor to clinic volunteers who may have less experience in disaster-related legal issues,” added Keenan. “Eric is truly invested in his community and his pro-bono leadership has been remarkable.”
Brophy, who focuses his legal practice on business, condominium, criminal and municipal law, among others, knew right from the start that he would employ his knowledge in a wide variety of areas. One of the first storm victims he assisted was a renter whose possessions had been unilaterally discarded by a landlord. A result of Superstorm Sandy, the case quickly became a classic landlord/tenant matter. This case is just one of many Brophy has assisted with during the past year.
“I have been astounded that a year after the storm, victims continue to come to VLJ’s clinics,” noted Brophy. “I am most amazed at the fortitude of the Sandy victims who continue to fight to get back to normalcy every day. Meeting and getting to know these people has been the most rewarding part of my experience with VLJ’s Disaster Legal Response Program.”
In addition to his work with VLJ, Brophy has assisted numerous Sandy survivors through his private practice and also served as a mediator under NJ’s Sandy Insurance Mediation Program. When asked what compelled him to volunteer before even being asked, Brophy had a simple, straightforward answer, “When we become lawyers we take on the responsibility of doing good and doing the right thing.”
VLJ’s DLRP is made possible through the generous funding of Merck, McCarter & English LLP, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Project and the Robin Hood Foundation. It continues to hold clinics in Bergen, Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Sandy victims. For more information or clinic dates, visit http://www.vljnj.org/ or call the DLRP toll-free number – (855) 301-2525.
About Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ)
About Disaster Legal Response Program (DLRP)