Dear Bar Association family,

Many of you have contacted me and the PUERTO RICAN BAR ASSOCIATION to ask how best you can help Puerto Rico.  Thank you for your offer of help and support.  We need to unite now more than ever to help Puerto Rico.  The PRBA today has launched U.S. BAR LEADERS FOR PUERTO RICO.  

We are in the process of identifying the best not for profit organizations that would help the people most devastated by the Hurricane, those in the poorer towns on the Island that are very difficult to reach.

We are assisting in organizing the volunteers lawyers here and throughout the U.S. who are willing to volunteer and obtain a training to assist the victims with their basic FEMA and insurance applications, benefits and other legal issues that may arise.  We have a tentative date set for the HURRICANE VOLUNTEER ATTORNEY TRAINING ON OCTOBER 24, 2017 AT THE CITY BAR.  More Details to follow.

The PRBA President Carmen A. Pacheco, Esq. and Betty Lugo, Esq. (PRBA Judiciary Chair and Immediate Past President) are working with the Chief Judge Janet DiFiore New York Emergency Legal Task Force to Assist Hurricane Victims working with NYC Bar President John Kiernan and Sharon Katz, Esq. Co-Chairs, as well as with the American Bar Association and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. Today we had a conference call and spoke with Colegio’s leadership Mark Anthony Bimbela, Past President and Pilar Perez, Vice President who asked for our help in many respects but especially to HELP THE LAWYERS and the Judicial System so that the lawyers can be equipped to help the victims of the devastating hurricane and the administration of justice can do its work. We are waiting to hear back on whether a limited access Order can be obtained from the Chief Judge   of Puerto Rico to permit non Puerto Rico attorneys to come in and help the victims. We also learned that the Courts are closed, the Colegio is closed and many lawyers offices are closed and are unable to do their legal work since they are unable to get to their offices due to the flooded roads, little to no gas, no transportation, no electricity, no power, and little to no internet access.  The Three Law Schools have also been flooded and have sustained structural damage.

The PRBA is working to help El Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (PUERTO RICO BAR ASSOCIATION IN PUERTO RICO).  We have learned from the President and Board of Colegio that the Colegio bar building is in need of a diesel generator (Cost approximately $80K plus transportation costs).  With this generator the Colegio’s bar building can be operated so that Colegio staff, Pro Bono Counsel, and many lawyers can perform their legal work and provide legal services to the many victims that need their help. The lawyers will be able to work and meet with their clients at the bar building.  Many small and solo practitioners have been severely affected with no light, no electricity, no computers or access to client files.

Please spread the word.  If we can get each bar association to donate at least $1,000.00 or more each, we can help raise the funds needed by the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico.  As Bar Leaders we need to step up and help Puerto Rico lawyers and the Puerto Rico Judicial System.

The PRBA has also coordinated with the UPR Law School and Deans of Touro, Albany, Florida State, Barry University and others to assist the law students to transfer to law schools here so they can complete their studies.  So far 33 students from UPR law school are being assisted.  We thank the Law Schools who have stepped up especially Dean Harry Ballan (Touro) and Dean Alicia Ouellette (Albany).  These students will need our support as they weather this very difficult time in their careers.


#puertoricostrong  – PUERTO RICO SE LEVANTA!

Puerto Rican Bar Association