Texas Lawyers Man Legal Hotline to Assist Disaster Victims

Photo: LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Texas lawyers are manning legal hotlines to assist victims of the disastrous storms and tornadoes in Texas.

The State Bar of Texas is coordinating disaster response teams to man these legal hotlines. A State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — has been set up to connect lawyers and legal aid providers and those who need help during the aftermath of the disaster in Texas.

The legal services are intended to help people find answers to basic legal questions. Legal providers speak both English and Spanish.

The goal is to help put legal aid providers and lawyers and low-income people together.

The hotline has been set up to answer questions about how to replace lost documents, as well as questions about insurance, landlord-tenant issues and other legal issues. Consumer protection questions about price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams can also be answered.

Callers can leave a message at any time if someone is not available or the lines are busy when they call. Those who qualify for help will be connected with Texas lawyers who have volunteered to provide free but limited legal help.

Although this legal assistance is available, the State Bar of Texas has issued a warning to both the public and to lawyers that solicitation of a potential legal case is a crime. It is not a crime if the lawyer is a family member, or has helped the client in the past. Solicitation of a legal case is also a crime if perpetrated by an employee or other representative for a lawyer unless these enumerated exceptions apply.

Any prohibited contact by a lawyer, or by a lawyer’s representative maybe reported to local law enforcement authorities or to the State Bar of Texas at (877) 953-5535.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, Texas Representative Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) was recently convicted for barratry, more commonly known as “ambulance chasing.”

The lawmaker was sentenced by a Montgomery County, Texas, jury in Conroe, Texas, in connection with five counts of Class A misdemeanor barratry. Reynolds received one year in jail for each count, to run concurrently. He was also fined $4,000. Although Reynolds and his lawyer claim that the convictions were racially-motivated, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office responded that the racism allegations were “ridiculous.”

Breitbart Texas reported in September of 2014 that the embattled Texas state representative had made Texas Monthly magazine’s list of Worst Representatives of 2013. At that time, he had been arrested in connection to 10 counts of barratry in Montgomery County. He faced similar charges in 2012 in Harris County.

Any prohibited contact by a lawyer, or by a lawyer’s representative, may be reported to local law enforcement authorities, or to the State Bar of Texas at (877) 953-5535.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2


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