The American Bar Association has created a national task force of volunteer lawyers to assist ‘ordinary Americans’ to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Described as ‘The Task Force on Legal Needs Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic’ it includes representatives from major US legal organizations and will work to identify legal needs arising from the pandemic, make recommendations to address those needs and help mobilize volunteer lawyers and legal professionals for people who need help.
Chaired by James J. Sandman, former president of the Legal Services Corporation, the nation’s largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans. Sandman is also former managing partner of Arnold & Porter LLP and past president of the District of Columbia Bar Association.
“As the pandemic spreads, thousands of Americans will need help – not just with medical issues but also with legal issues, including lost jobs, evictions, insurance claims, family emergencies and obtaining government benefits they need to survive,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez (pictured above) said.
“Those who come before our criminal justice system will face additional challenges as jobs are lost, the inability to pay fines and fees escalates and we face a greater risk of detentions. In times of crisis, lawyers help. With this task force, we will start by looking for where the need is greatest and where we can make the biggest difference for people in dire situations.”
The ABA Journal reports that the task force includes experts in disaster response; health law; insurance; legal needs of families to protect basic human needs such as food, shelter, medical and employment benefits; criminal justice; domestic violence; civil rights and social justice. The group includes representatives from:
- The Conference of Chief Justices
- The National Center for State Courts
- The National Association of Bar Executives
- The National Conference of Bar Presidents
- The National Conference of Bar Foundations
- The Legal Services Corporation
- The National Legal Aid & Defender Association
- The Association of Pro Bono Counsel
- Sections and committees within the ABA
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