Legal Services Hotline Established to Assist Tornado Victims

Courtesy The Iowa State Bar Association

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By Becky Ogann

A toll-free number is in place to provide free short-term assistance with legal questions for people affected by the Butler County tornado. The number is scheduled to be operational May 30th.

Iowa State Bar Association, with the cooperation of the Butler County Bar Association and its member attorneys, has set up the toll-free hotline so victims can call and be connected with an attorney anywhere in the state. Calls to the number, 877-775-8882, will be answered at the ISBA headquarters in Des Moines. Staff members there will take down basic information, then pass it on to a volunteer attorney who will contact the caller.

The free service is designed to provide immediate, emergency advice over the phone, not ongoing legal assistance. Callers needing ongoing legal assistance will receive instructions and advice as to how to retain an attorney on their own. Some Parkersburg-area lawyers lost their offices and homes, and the ISBA is providing computers and office equipment to help those lawyers set up their offices as quickly as possible to be available to handle the long-term needs of the storm victims.

Subject areas the ISBA anticipates that callers to the hotline might have questions about include: 1) insurance claims, 2) landlord/tenant claims, 3) home repair contracts, 4) consumer protection, 5) preservation of legal documents, 6) estate administration, 7) powers of attorney, 8) replacement of important documents, and 9) FEMA regulations. Attorney volunteers from around the state will be able to give callers direction on how to deal with issues in these areas.
“Iowa attorneys stand ready to help citizens whose lives were turned upside down by the devastating storm,” said ISBA President Joel Greer.

The Iowa State Bar Association is a voluntary organization of more than 7,900 lawyers and judges who are licensed to practice law in the state of Iowa. Oldest of the voluntary bar associations in the country, The ISBA has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1874.

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