Thursday, September 1, 2005

Give/Get Assist to Lawyers Who Are Katrina Victims

Lawyers in Louisiana need assistance as a result of the devastation caused by Katrina.  Sources inform us that 1/3 of the Louisiana lawyers have lost their offices.  The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has instituted a help needed/help available bulletin board for people to provide shelter, office space, supplies, case supervision, etc. to criminal lawyers in need to help to repair the Bayou legal infrastructure.  It is located at:   The user name is Katrina  katrinarelief and the password is Help. help There is also an online place to donate funds to assist criminal defense attorneys from this area.

Addedum: The official NACDL email , now available states:

Dear NACDL Member:

Hurricane Katrina has brought devastation to vast areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.  Among them are hundreds of NACDL members and other defense lawyers whose law practices have come to a standstill, and it is unclear how soon they will be able to recover. 

Today we have established a new Katrina Disaster Bulletin Board for affected members to communicate with their NACDL colleagues, so that if they need assistance of any kind, our members in the affected areas can post messages and NACDL members nationwide can respond.  The new Bulletin Board appears on our Web site at  This will be the place where members can offer assistance, where those in need can learn about the assistance being offered, and where we can match-up those in need with those who are able to assist.  To access the site, either enter your NACDL user name and password, or enter "Katrina" "katrinarelief" as the user name and "Help" "help" as the password.

Also, we have designated Alison Sterling of the NACDL staff as our Katrina Disaster Relief Coordinator.  Her job for the next several months will be to field phone calls and e-mail messages from members in LA, AL, and MS and elsewhere, and to serve as a clearinghouse for offers of help and requests for assistance.  She will also be monitoring the new Katrina Disaster Bulletin Board and serve as a conduit for communications among members.  Further, Alison will have information available about relief efforts and organizations that are providing humanitarian assistance on-the-ground.  Her phone number is 202-872-8600 x248 and her e-mail is   

By way of this e-mail, we are asking our membership to post offers of assistance on the new Bulletin Board.  This could include (1) providing housing and shelter for any members and their families in need;  (2) assisting affected members with temporary office space;  (3) providing short-term employment for affected lawyers;  (4) providing short-term case oversight; and (5) donating office equipment and supplies, telephones and cellphones, calling cards, etc. once conditions improve and these supplies can be delivered to them.  Again, please post your messages on the new Bulletin Board located at   If you are unable to post to the Bulletin Board, please contact Alison Sterling: 202-872-8600 x248 and her e-mail is   

In the meantime, we encourage all NACDL members to make tax-deductible contributions to the Foundation for Criminal Justice and its Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.  Please click here to make a contribution online:    NACDL has just donated $5,000 to this fund -- and we hope all NACDL members will do likewise.  Indeed, if each member were to contribute a minimum of $100, we would raise more than $1.2 million.  Once we have a better understanding of the needs of our members, we will provide cash grants and loans to help defense lawyers get back on their feet.  Please donate today.

In addition, we encourage you to give generously to the various humanitarian agencies that are on-the-ground helping in the rescue and relief efforts.  These agencies are helping the victims of Katrina.  Please click here to learn how you can donate to these organizations.  Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter to the victims.  Please make a generous contribution today. 

NACDL will also provide links to Web sites of affected local organizations that are part of the defense and criminal justice community as they begin the process of recovery and return to normal operations.  Please check our Web site periodically as we update this information in the coming weeks and months. 

Barbara E. Bergman                Ralph Grunewald
NACDL President                NACDL Executive Director


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