COVID-19 Legal Response
This page was last updated on May 28, 2020.
Due to changing circumstances, this information may be superseded by current events, new laws and regulations, disaster declarations and extensions, court orders and administrative agency decisions. While we will make every effort to update this information when possible, the user should always check for updates and be guided accordingly.
National Efforts & Resources
On Friday, March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency to address the impact of a novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 (“the virus”) that has caused outbreaks of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 around the world, including in the United States.
Coronavirus Legal Response Calls & Listserv
On March 12, 2020, legal aid and pro bono advocates across regions in the US met over a conference call to discuss a COVID-19 legal response. The call was chaired by Tiela Chalmers, co-chair of the Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative (DLAC) in California, and CEO the Alameda County Bar Association and Legal Access Alameda, in collaboration with Pro Bono Net.
- Advocates interested in continuing to share information, resources and strategies are welcome to join a new COVID-19 Legal Response listserv available here.
- For a brainstorming list of issues and resources identified by legal aid and pro bono advocates across regions, please click here.
- For California-specific resources, visit the statewide disaster legal services website at www.disasterlegalservicesca.org.
- If you are not yet a member of the Advocacy Center, please visit https://www.disasterlegalaid.org/advocates/join/ to submit a membership request.
The American Bar Association created a task force to address legal needs arising from coronavirus pandemic. The task force will include up to 20 representatives from top legal organizations in the United States. The group will identify legal needs arising from the pandemic, make recommendations to address those needs and help mobilize volunteer lawyers and legal professionals for people who need help. You can visit the ABA's pandemic website here.
Please visit our Events Calendar here to register for publicly available webinars related to COVID-19 response efforts, remote technology for legal aid programs, legal issues, and more.
- The National Center on Law & Elder Rights (NCLER) has materials on COVID-19 here. NCLER also provides free case consultation assistance for attorneys and professionals seeking more information to help older adults. Topics can include: Advance Planning, Elder Abuse, Guardianship, Health/LTSS, Economic Security, Supported Decision-Making, Consumer Protection, and Housing. NCLER does not provide direct legal assistance to individuals. Their consultation service is available to legal services and aging network professionals.
- The National Council on Aging has a COVID-19 Resource Center for older adults, caregivers and professionals.
- The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has Coronavirus Updates for the Elder Law Community here.
- Visit Voices for Civil Justice's COVID-19 page for media Guidance for Civil Justice Advocates.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition is maintaining a COVID-19/Housing and Homelessness News and Resource page.
- Justice in Aging has COVID-19 Resources for Advocates Serving Older Adults.
- The National Housing Law Project has put together resources for attorneys, advocates, policymakers, and others for assistance during the COVID-19 national public health crisis.
- The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has created a new COVID-19 & Consumer Protections page to provide updates on their current efforts to protect renters, homeowners, and consumers, and advocate for student loan borrowers whose ability to repay their loans may suffer due to lost income, insufficient paid leave, or lack of access to childcare. The NCLC is also offering free access to the digital edition of Surviving Debt: Expert Advice For Getting Out of Financial Trouble, NCLC’s most comprehensive guide to navigating debt for consumers and consumer advocates.
- The Immigration Advocates Network has resources for pro bono attorneys, nonprofit advocates, organizers, and service providers.
- The Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative has created a new COVID-19 Resources page to provide information on the current pandemic, connect community members to local resources and amplify self-care tools as social distancing goes into effect.
- The Self-Represented Litigation Network has a COVID-19 page with resources on remote service delivery, best practices in legal hotlines, and remote pro bono delivery.
- The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) has a page on COVID-19 Resources for Legal Services and Victims’ Rights.
- The Practising Law Institute (PLI) is providing free access to online programs covering legal developments related to the global coronavirus crisis.
- The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has a COVID-19 page for recommendations and resources.
- The National Health Law Program has an assortment of resources related to coronavirus from NHeLP and their trusted partners.
- The National Center for State Courts is compiling resources, news, and court orders related to COVID-19 here.
- The American Bar Association is regularly adding resources to their pandemic website, including free online training videos for lawyers on working remotely, and their CLE Marketplace with nearly 600 widely-accredited online and on-demand programs on pandemic-related and other topics, free with ABA membership.
- Baker Botts publishes comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Guide for individuals. The guide is divided into jurisdictions and includes federal resources on immigration, voting rights, unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
- Freddie Mac Lookup COVID-19 Support for Renters - Renters may use this property search tool to find out if they live in a property that has a mortgage loan purchased or securitized by Freddie Mac.
- Pathfinders, in partnership with over 50 organizations around the globe, developed briefings on Justice in a Pandemic, with a specific focus on Justice for All in the Public Health Emergency.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season in anticipation of hurricane season.
- Advocates and national advocacy organizations from across the country created a national survey to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and sexual violence survivors and the advocates/survivor leaders that serve them. The survey closes on May 31, 2020.
- The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project released a nationwide map of eviction moratoriums and tenant protections. They will keep building on it over the next few weeks and adding new information and policies as they emerge. If you've heard of anything you want to add to the map, you can use the "Submit your updates" button to add your knowledge to the map. They will also be working towards translating into multiple languages to increase accessibility.
- In March 2020, in the face of the increasing danger posed by Covid-19 to people held in jails and prisons, the UCLA Prison Law and Policy Program launched the UCLA Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project. The Project, spearheaded by Professor Sharon Dolovich, tracks Covid-19 conditions in jails and prisons and the efforts — both in and out of court — to decrease jail and prison populations and improve conditions to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
- The National Consumer Law Center is tracking state and local government responses to the coronavirus that are relevant to the collection of non-mortgage consumer debts, including State Protections for Wages and Cash in Bank Accounts. For additional trackers, visit NCLC's COVID-19 page.
- Public list of COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria by State, Commonwealth and Territory - This research is being conducted by Emily A. Benfer, Columbia Law School Visiting Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Health Justice Advocacy Clinic with pro bono assistance from students.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Service maintain a National Housing Preservation Database website that lists projects participating in the following housing programs: Project-Based Section 8, HUD insured housing, Section 202, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, RD Section 515 and 538 rental housing, Public Housing, Section 236, HOME, and State Subsidies. It is searchable by program, property name, address, city, zip code and other criteria.
- Stateside created the 2020 State and Local Government Responses to COVID-19 chart to track state legislative actions, executive agency actions, gubernatorial actions, and local government actions related to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
- The National Governors Association has a national (states + territories) COVID-19 tracking chart of shelter-in-place orders, travel limitations, and other state actions here.
- White & Case has state-by-state matrices, key guidelines, including restrictions of individuals’ movements, and restrictions on businesses and operations, enacted and enforced by local governments, across multiple jurisdictions in the United States.
- The Eviction Lab is tracking COVID-19 and Changing Eviction Policies Around the Nation here.
- The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share actions taken by local leaders in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- The National Notary Association is updating Important Notary information amid COVID-19 here.
Pro Bono Opportunities
- The National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide offers information on pro bono opportunities in your state. The Guide is a joint project of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, its project the ABA Center for Pro Bono, and Pro Bono Net.
- The American Bar Association's Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic that allows attorneys to provide legal information and advice online. You can sign up by visiting https://abafreelegalanswers.org/. You must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in your state.
- We the Action has remote opportunities available for pro bono attorneys. You can sign up at https://wetheaction.org/.
- Five Great Ways to Do Pro Bono Online (Coronavirus Edition) by Sarah Mills - Lawline
Law School Students
Over 300 law students, paralegals, and student paralegals have offered to provide remote pro-bono support for COVID-related matters. These students stand ready to provide research, drafting, and other support to attorneys. If attorneys are interested in receiving student support on their COVID-19 related matters, they should fill out this form. If students are interested in providing support, they should fill out this form.
Remote Legal Resources
The Remote Legal Support Guide: A Best Practices Manual for Nonprofit and Pro Bono Innovation is a collaborative text by over 10 organizations that pools expert resources and experience and explores different ways to leverage technology and share strategies that increase rural and underserved communities' access to justice. The Guide and more background on this initiative is available here. We hope this resource is helpful for any programs considering shifting to remote support to help keep staff, clients and communities healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are You Looking for Legal Help?
If you're looking for legal help or have questions about COVID-19 and your rights, consider visiting www.lawhelp.org to look up information in your area.