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More on How Lawyers Can Help in Haiti

Yesterday, Legal Blog Watch's Bob Ambrogi discussed here some of the legal community's relief and fundraising efforts for Haiti. On a related point, the Tex Parte Blog had a post yesterday afternoon interviewing author Ben Fountain, a former associate with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Dallas, who discussed other ways that lawyers may be able to help the situation.

Fountain Fountain (pictured here) first visited Haiti in 1991 and has since traveled to the island nation approximately 30 times. His fascination with the country developed in tandem with his career shift from lawyer to author, as described in this Malcom Gladwell piece in The New Yorker, and he has maintained friendships over the years that keep him in regular contact with Haitians. He tells Tex Parte he cannot reach anyone in Haiti now by telephone, e-mail or text. Fountain expects that Haiti's recovery will be "long, difficult, expensive and complex," and may not even occur in this generation. 

Asked what lawyers can do to help the people of Haiti right now, Fountain offers a few suggestions:

1. Give money to charities such as Catholic Relief Services, which has a special page set up for Haiti; Save the Children; and the St. Joseph's Home for Boys. All three of these groups do great work, he says.

2. For those willing to go beyond a financial donation, Fountain suggests contacting the St. Joseph's Home about volunteer opportunities. He adds that "lots of churches send aid missions to Haiti on a regular basis, so check that out. There is plenty of work even for unskilled (i.e., manually challenged lawyers) workers in Haiti."

3. More broadly, Fountain says that the Haitian judiciary system is in the process of reform and renewal, and the United Nations is involved in that effort. He believes that the U.N. would be pleased to talk to any lawyer who was willing to help for an extended length of time.

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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