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Abstract

The New York legal community's response to the September 11th disaster provides an excellent example of pro bono assistance in a time of crisis. The New York response featured many well-trained lawyers with extensive resources and organizational efforts from the New York City bar. However, not all communities have the same resources and ability to mobilize for a large pro bono effort in response to a disaster. While the New York response was impressive, a lasting effect on pro bono participation or an improvement in the public's perception of the legal profession has not resulted. This essay explores whether, despite the New York bar's inspiring model, securing more comprehensive federal support of post-disaster legal services should be a long-term goal of the legal profession. It further discusses the funding and administration of a federal support model. The authors argues for the adoption of a federal funding model, as it would improve the public perception of attorneys and more effectively administer aid to victims of disaster.

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