Creating Blueprints for Law School Responses to Natural Disasters

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Natural disasters are becoming more common and destructive. There is a critical need to build accessible legal services for vulnerable populations that suffer disproportionately from natural disasters. Law schools, legal clinics, and law professors are well-positioned to serve vulnerable and marginalized communities and can address the issues of poverty and race that exacerbate the harm caused by natural disasters. Access to justice and civil legal aid after natural disasters should be rooted in preparedness and planning before the disaster. Understanding the nature of natural disasters, the ecosystem of response systems, existing networks, common legal issues, and the typical arc of recovery will help law schools, legal clinics, and lawyers prepare and plan for response. The models and lessons discussed in this chapter may help provide increased post disaster legal services to vulnerable people to empower them with confidence and tools to serve their communities. This chapter builds on lessons learned from previous natural disasters and offers information and insights on responsive program design, professionalism, and disaster response systems. Building a framework for institutional responses in the legal academy can advance and improve access to justice for vulnerable communities recovering after a disaster so that they can survive, rebuild and return home.

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Cambridge University Press


Susan S. Kuo, John Travis Marshall & Ryan Rowberry

Book Title

The Cambridge Handbook of Disaster Law and Policy

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