Disaster Resiliency: Opportunities for Pro Bono Before and After Disaster Strikes

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 95 minutes
Recorded Date: August 20, 2018
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  • Navigating the Post-Disaster Landscape
  • Pro Bono Opportunities Helping Disaster Survivors Outside the Area of Impact
  • Restoring Power
  • Trial by Water: Reflections on Superstorm Sandy
  • What are the Legal Needs Following a Disaster?
  • Attorney Disaster Toolkit
  • Intake Questionnaires for Common Disaster Legal Problems
Runtime: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Recorded: August 20, 2018


Learn about the most common legal issues that disaster survivors face and how attorneys and law students can get involved to provide much needed pro bono assistance, no matter where they are located.

Panelists will also discuss ways that attorneys can assist individuals and communities to prepare for disasters before they strike. Hear from industry experts about new and innovative ways that attorneys can provide pro bono assistance and readily available resources to assist in pro bono representation. Come away prepared to do your part to assist with disaster resiliency efforts across the country.

This program was recorded on August 20th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Hannah Allison

Texas Free Legal Answers Administrator
Texas Bar Association

Hannah Allison is the Pro Bono Programs administrator for the State Bar of Texas and manages Texas's Free Legal Answers-Texas Legal Answers. She has been at the State Bar for just over nine years, working within the Legal Access Division and the Texas Access to Justice Commission. As Pro Bono Programs administrator, she will be shaping and stewarding a statewide culture of pro bono and cultivating partnerships to increase the number of low-income Texans who get help from a pro bono lawyer.

Thomas Maligno

Director of Pro Bono and Public Service
Touro College Jacog D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Thomas Maligno is Director of ProBono and Public Interest at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and Executive Director of its William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center (PAC), which was created by Touro Law in 2007 to bring together non-profit legal advocacy agencies to provide services to the community while providing opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work and gain hands-on legal training. Housed within the law school, the Center provides furnished offices to the advocacy groups. He oversees the Public Advocacy Center and works with its agencies and Touro Law students.

In addition to working with the PAC, Mr. Maligno has developed a wide range of public interest career opportunities for Touro Law students and graduates, and has been a highly visible supporter of pro bono activities at the law school. He is the advisor for the Public Interest Law Organization of Touro (PILOT) and works with the organization in securing summer fellowships. Beyond helping students to fulfill their pro bono requirements, Mr. Maligno has been instrumental in helping students develop an understanding of the value of pro bono work. Student fellows defend the victims of domestic violence, guard the legal interests of children, and work with advocacy groups on a broad spectrum of poverty and civil rights issues. At Touro Law, Mr. Maligno uses the same creative energy for which he is known and applies it to the provision of pro bono work by students and PAC agencies. He serves as a role model for students and those in the community and is a strong advocate for public interest and pro bono work. He instills these values in our students and in everyone he meets.

During his 40-year career in public interest law, Mr. Maligno has received numerous state, local and national awards for his efforts in pro bono and public interest work. He has been part of the organized pro bono movement since 1978 when he helped create the Pro Bono Project on Long Island and his leadership was integral in creating a nationally recognized volunteer effort. His ability to bring together the private bar, public interest community, government and legal services contributed to the success of the project. In 1989, Mr. Maligno left the Pro Bono Project to become the Executive Director of Nassau Suffolk Law Services, one of the largest legal services program in the country. During his tenure, the organization was often acknowledged for its creative ways of assisting clients. Mr. Maligno has a nationwide reputation for promoting pro bono representation and is a consultant for the American Bar Association, helping to organize pro bono efforts in numerous communities across the United States. He is also the leader of the organized pro bono effort of both local bar associations; the Nassau County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Bar Association.

Most recently, Mr. Maligno has been a leader in Touro Law Center’s response to Hurricane Sandy by creating our disaster response hotline which was the predecessor to Touro Law’s nationally recognized Disaster Law Clinic. In response to his efforts, he was asked by FEMA to become a senior attorney advisor to assist them in reforming the disaster response system. Mr. Maligno has also been an integral part of building a network of immigration advocates for Long Island and has been a leader in building that coalition to better serve this growing population.

WIll Gonzalez, Esq.

Executive Director

Executive Director, has over 35 years of experience working in the Latino community. The Philadelphia Foundation's Williams Award for Organizational Excellence & The Community Change Award from the Bread & Roses Community Fund recognized his leadership of non-profits. Mr. Gonzalez has received various community awards, among them a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Legal Intelligencer, PA's premier legal publication. He is licensed to practice law in NJ and PA. He is the Past President of the Hispanic Bar Association of PA and a member of the board of the PA Chapter of the ACLU.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Lehigh University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law where he was awarded the Ralph Bunch Fellowship and the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council Fellowship.

Lisa Gavin

Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Project Manager
Iowa Legal Aid

Lisa Gavin has been a staff attorney with Iowa Legal Aid since 1995 working under a variety of different grants. In January 2015, she became the project manager of the Midwest Legal Disaster Coordination Project for Iowa Legal Aid.

Lisa earned her JD at the University of Iowa College of Law.

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