In the wake of the Louisiana’s catastrophic flooding in August 2016, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law School (LSU), and Southern University Law Center (SULC), launched a collaborative project called Flood Proof. The Project’s purpose is to increase access to free civil legal help to low-income disaster victims to resolve heir property problems and home ownership disputes. Resolving these issues is key to the ability of disaster survivors to access long-term recovery funding from the Restore Louisiana Program, FEMA/SBA funds, to qualify for loans, to sell their property, and to preserve the family home as an asset for future generations.
Through this project, two new successful clinics at LSU and SULC were launched in which law students work on heirship and property title issues for disaster survivors. Then ABA Center for Innovation along with Stanford University worked with SLLS to create an innovative app and web- based platform as a tool to perform triage, streamline intake, and share documents. After achieving an economic benefit of over $8.5 million to disaster survivors for the overall project, SLLS is still working on 30 open cases with an average of five new disaster survivors per month.
To meet the continued demand for heirship and property title work by disaster survivors, SULC, LSU, SLLS, and the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Legal Innovators for Tomorrow (LIFT) Incubator program have partnered to create a new incubator program to address the legal needs of disaster affected victims in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Point Coupee. The project will offer two attorney participants the opportunity to develop and grow their own solo practices that address the need for disaster-related legal services. During the 18-month period, attorneys receive a $10,000 stipend, free access to case management software and legal research programs, training, mentorship, and court shadowing opportunities.
Louisiana licensed attorneys with 0-5 years practice experience who plan to develop or have begun to develop a sustainable solo law practice providing free and cost-effective legal solutions to disaster survivors are encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2018.
Questions about the program and application process should be directed to Amy Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the program go to www.lsba.org/LIFT