Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $1 million award to the Disaster Recovery Clinic at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University to help families and small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties affected by Superstorm Sandy. The award will expand the pro bono counseling services at the clinic to an additional 250 homeowners and businesses.
“Families and small business owners who have already suffered greatly from the damage of Superstorm Sandy should not have to incur the added financial stress of enormous legal bills,” Governor Cuomo said. “This investment will allow Hofstra Law students to use their skills to enormous public benefit, serving their state by helping clients in need navigate complicated situations — and helping their neighbors put their lives back together.”
Seth Diamond, Director of State Storm Recovery, said, “I thank Hofstra Law and its dedicated students for stepping up, and committing to assist their fellow Long Islanders in storm recovery. This award will expand the pro bono services to hundreds more families and businesses in need.”
The funds were made available through the State’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The award to Hofstra Law’s Disaster Recovery Clinic will allow for continuing services until at least May 2015.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to gain hands-on skills training, while serving members of our community who greatly need legal assistance,” said Hofstra Law Dean Eric Lane. “I thank Governor Cuomo and the dedicated staff at NY Rising for making this grant possible. I also thank President Stuart Rabinowitz for his leadership in having the Law School and the University respond to Sandy’s devastation immediately after the storm hit.”
Through the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University’s Disaster Recovery Clinic, established by Professor Michael Haber, second- and third-year law students provide supervised pro bono legal assistance on a wide range of issues affecting local small businesses and individuals as they recover from Superstorm Sandy. The clinic handles the investigation, negotiation, appeals, mediations and trials for matters that have a serious impact on its clients’ lives. Since the storm, the clinic has represented roughly 75 families and many small businesses on Long Island.
The $1 million is expected to allow the Disaster Recovery Clinic to expand from one lawyer and eight law students to three attorneys, 70 law students and 10 J.D./M.B.A. students and provide more than 35,000 hours of pro bono legal help and an additional 5,000 hours of business counseling to clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties over the next two years.