To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
I've recently returned home from Baton Rouge where I did a week of volunteer legal work for victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, organized by the Louisiana State Bar Association. The LSBA has a call center at the law school on the Louisiana State University campus. There is a three-week backlog at the call center, meaning I was phoning people who had called three weeks earlier.
A lot of what I did was give common sense advice, not strictly legal advice, such as how to deal with contractors and insurance claims and unresponsive or unhelpful insurance companies.Legal questions were mostly about landlord/tenant issues.
I was calling hurricane victims who had scattered all over the region: about half in Louisiana, a quarter in Texas and another quarter in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and other states.Five months after the storm, it was a surprise to find so many people with such basic needs, still waiting for a settlement from their insurance and/or help from FEMA.
Before I traveled to Baton Rouge I wondered:
Was the work of a short term nature that was suited to a short stay of just a week? Absolutely, yes it was.
With my in-house banking skills (it has been almost 12 years since I left private practice), could I still be of help?Absolutely, yes I could.
Doing volunteer legal work was very satisfying - so many people still need basic advice and help. As a fellow in-house lawyer, can I encourage you to consider giving some time to the LSBA?
There is information available on the LSBA web site (www.lsba.org), and anyone who is interested should contact Gabrielle Jones at the call center on (225) 334-2237 or Monte Mollere at the LSBA on (800) 421-5722, ext. 146.
Michael R. Nelson