A trio of Puerto Rican students at Columbia Law School is mustering an army of attorneys and fellow law students on the mainland to provide free legal assistance to those on the island impacted by Hurricane Maria.


The so-called Legal Corps for Puerto Rico now boasts more than 700 volunteers who are ready to help once the legal needs of islanders are established—a task made more difficult by spotty phone and Internet service there.

The Legal Corp is the brainchild of third-year Columbia students Patricio Martinez Llompart, Jorge Garcia and Eva Jimenez, who are from the island that was battered by Maria two weeks ago. As soon as the hurricane moved through, they began thinking of how they could best help their homeland from 1,600 miles away. Hopping a plane back home seemed ill-advised, as authorities warned that resources are limited on the ground.

The students organized a campus food and medical supply drive, but quickly realized that Puerto Ricans will have long-term legal needs when rebuilding destroyed homes and reestablishing their lives. Hence, creating a roster of law students and lawyers ready to help, researching the legal matters likely to arise, and training them to assist when the time is right seemed the best way to lend a hand.

“It has been a challenge, but we’re trying to do what we can around this issue to feel a little less useless,” said Martinez Llompart, whose immediate family is still in Puerto Rico.

The Columbia students have connected with lawyer groups in New York and Puerto Rico to share resources and begin training volunteers.  Read the full article at   http://www.law.com/sites/almstaff/2017/10/06/columbia-law-students-create-legal-corps-for-puerto-rico/