For court closures, please check the Florida Supreme Court Emergency page.
Resources for Florida Bar Members
Member Benefits: More than a dozen Florida Bar Member Benefit providers offer free trials or initial services for Florida Bar members, including practice resources, legal forms and legal research. Fastcase lists additional disaster-related resources.
The Florida Office of State Courts Administrator posts information when a hurricane affects our courts.
LegalFuel: The Practice Resource Center of The Florida Bar has disaster planning information and resources for Bar members collected on one page including links to The American Bar Association disaster response, preparedness, and recovery advice; a LexisNexis publication “Surviving Disasters: Questions and Considerations for Law Firms Preparing Business Continuity Plans;” an after disaster strikes checklist; as well as disaster recovery services provided by the Florida Small Business Development Council. Advisers can assist members by phone during regular business hours, 866-730-2020, via live chat at LegalFuel.com, or email.
Disaster Relief Hotline: After a storm, The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the ABA Young Lawyers Section and Federal Emergency Management Agency, activates the Disaster Relief Hotline, 1-866-550-2929, to provide basic civil legal services for people who cannot otherwise afford representation.
Florida Free Legal Answers: an online advice clinic to match low-income Floridians with licensed attorneys who can answer basic legal questions.
Legal Aid Assistance: The Florida Bar Foundation created the Florida Hurricane Legal Aid Fund for civil legal assistance for Floridians affected by a hurricane that makes landfall in Florida.
Mass Disaster Consumer Pamphlet: The Florida Bar’s consumer pamphlet for victims of mass disasters provides guidance for consumers on who to contact for legal assistance and how to protect their legal rights (En español aquí). The Bar also has pamphlets on homeowners’ insurance and rights and duties of tenants and landlords that could offer important information to people affected by the storm.
Legal complaints: If you feel you have been unfairly treated by a lawyer, contact The Florida Bar’s Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) at 866-352-0707. The Florida Bar is responsible for prosecuting unethical lawyers for sanctions to be imposed by the Supreme Court of Florida.
Price gouging: State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 866-9-NO-SCAM.
Unlawful solicitations: Florida citizens should use caution and good judgment in any emergency, particularly when dealing with representatives of insurance companies or direct contact from lawyers. Any contact by a lawyer or a lawyer’s representative in person or by telephone asking to handle a specific case is a direct violation of The Florida Bar’s disciplinary rules, unless the injured party has requested contact from the lawyer. Florida Bar rules also prohibit lawyers from writing or emailing within 30 days of an accident unless they have been specifically asked to provide information. To report an unlawful contact, call The Florida Bar at 866-352-0707.
Unlicensed practice of law: Only a lawyer can give legal advice and provide legal services. If you believe that an individual or business has engaged in the unlicensed practice of law, call The Florida Bar at 850-561-5840.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): People who have sustained property damage as a result of the severe storms and flooding are urged to register with FEMA, as they may be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
After a storm, FEMA may open Disaster Recovery Centers to assist people and businesses in the recovery process. Register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center. A FEMA app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices. Learn how to file your claim.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): Low-interest disaster loans from the SBA are available for eligible applicants. SBA helps businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or damaged personal property. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries. For more information, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 (TTY), send an email, or visit the SBA’s website.
FEMA/YLD Disaster Hotline: After a storm, The Florida Bar YLD, in conjunction with the ABA Young Lawyers Section and FEMA, may activate the Disaster Relief Hotline. All Florida Bar members eligible to practice may volunteer to provide basic civil legal services for people who cannot otherwise afford legal representation in non-fee generating cases. After a hurricane hits, many people need simple advice about how to get their life back in order. Sign up to volunteer to answer the questions of hurricane victims on a pro bono basis.
Florida Free Legal Answers: Although attorneys are strongly cautioned against engaging in the solicitation of hurricane victims (which is prohibited by Rule 4-7.18), the Florida Free Legal Answers program offers a relatively easy way to lend your expertise. Sign up to to quickly and easily answer questions from the public. It is easy to do, takes only a couple of minutes and can mean so much to those in need.
Florida Pro Bono Matters is another way to assist Floridians via an interactive website funded by The Florida Bar Foundation — both in hurricane recovery and year-round. You can view descriptions of available pro bono opportunities and indicate an interest in any of them; you then will be contacted by the posting organization with more information.
National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center welcomes all advocates and volunteers from nonprofit legal aid organizations, bar associations, pro bono counsel from law firms and corporations, law school students and faculty, and allied nonprofits working on disaster legal aid. Visit the website to sign up. The website has links to a multitude of disaster relief manuals and training tools.
Helpful Government Links
Florida Attorney General’s Office: Information on price gouging and other consumer protection issues.
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: Provides useful information and links, including hurricane claims data information and consumer alerts.
Florida Governor’s Office: Announcements on any state of Florida disaster response.