Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic

Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic

Our Mission: Because recovery goes beyond disaster relief, #UBLawResponds provides practical legal research and thoughtful pro bono service, through an ongoing collaborative effort to empower a resilient Puerto Rico.

El camino a la restauración va más allá de responder a los efectos de un desastre natural. La misión de la clínica legal de la Universidad del Estado de Nueva York es contribuir al proceso de empoderamiento de Puerto Rico proveyendo servicios de investigación legal gratuitos con aplicaciones prácticas en colaboración con la comunidad puertorriqueña y sus aliados. #UBLawResponds

Contact Us

University at Buffalo
School of Law
507 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
716-645-2167, law-clinic@buffalo.edu

Natural disasters, like 2017’s Hurricane Maria, leave behind more than physical devastation and lives in upheaval. They leave real people facing unforeseen and urgent crises, in need of lawyers. They leave governmental institutions stuck and unable to provide their citizens legal support.

In response to the devastating hurricane aftermath facing the Island, #UBLawResponds, the University at Buffalo School of Law Clinical Legal Education Program, chose ten students from pool of applicants to learn about disaster recovery in context through the Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic (PRC). Starting the day after fall exams ended in December, these Student Attorneys began an amazing journey.

Starting December 15th, each PRC Student Attorney entered into a learning contract, chose a focus area, and prepared a draft paper on a topic of their choice related to Hurricane Maria. Those papers were submitted the last day of December. The second day of January, these #UBLawResponds Student Attorneys began three weeks of six-hour-a-day intensive classes to study and learn relevant law in context, exploring background matters, what disaster response really means in legal terms, and what the immediate legal needs facing the people of Puerto Rico entailed. They also had valuable skills training, including trauma-informed lawyering. These classes in Buffalo were taught by Kim Diana Connolly, Vice Dean for Advocacy & Experiential Learning and Director of Clinical Legal Education, with the assistance of Karla Raimundi, J.D., LL.M. Professor Luis Chiesa provided technical assistance.

On January 21st, after the intense preparation in Buffalo, each student had the opportunity to travel on a 10-day service-learning experience on the front lines in Puerto Rico. There they worked on urgent legal issues alongside by local experts, and provided humanitarian relief around the island. Links to their blog postings chronicle their learning adventure. This was made possible by incredibly generous donor underwriting of this trip.

#UBLawResponds views the December 2017 – February 2018 clinic as the first chapter in its commitment to helping Puerto Rico recover and move forward. Come back later in the Spring semester to check up on the students’ final reports, and our plans for the coming year!

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