"We're all Inn" Response to Hurricane Michael: 2,100 Hours
Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle one week before the first scheduled regular meeting of the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court. There, an Inn pupillage team was scheduled to present a traditional legal CLE program. Rather than canceling or postponing the program, the team rapidly pivoted, creating a new program focused on a call to service. It was a unique project for a unique set of devastating circumstances in the region, but it illustrates how a local organization can channel its resources and talents to be a leading force in times of need and make a difference in the community. Numerous guests were called to describe where volunteers were desperately needed. The team issued a challenge for 1,000 hours of service, asking all of the other Inn teams to contribute at least 100 hours, including legal assistance or any kind of help. Inn members were invited to bring supplies to the meeting, which were then distributed to areas in need. Many follow-up communications with additional opportunities and tracking were distributed to the Inn. This meeting was the launchpad for an enormous amount of service over the next two months. Stafford Inn members participated in a multitude of ways in various organizations, such as food banks, disaster relief hotlines, legal aid services, hospitals, and animal rescue organizations, even taking to the radio to promote their efforts. The Inn reconvened in November and focused on providing more information on opportunities, describing ways that the presenting team had served, and highlighting opportunities for legal aid which included training on supporting FEMA claims and assistance. It also further emphasized the important role that attorneys should play in times of need. In December, another Inn team orchestrated a joint meeting to support the Inn in Panama City, Florida, one of the hardest hit areas. There they connected with colleagues and further highlighted the collegiality of the profession in supporting one another. In all, the project resulted in 2,167 hours of service by the Stafford Inn to those in need, including providing leadership in collecting and distributing supplies and partnering with numerous others.

Presented By: The William H. Stafford American Inn of Court (30074)

Presented: October through December, 2018

Topic Areas: Pro Bono, Special Projects

Materials: PowerPoint Presentation, Handouts and Video

CLE Approval: N/A

State: Florida

Hours: N/A

2019 National Program Awards Placement: Best Special Project

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