Happy October! I can't believe how fast this semester is going. Before I know it, finals will be here, and then I will get to go home!! Yay. :)
I've had a couple of very lawyer-y experiences the last few days. A couple of weeks ago I got an email saying there was a group putting together an effort to offer pro bono legal services to the victims of Hurricane Irene. I decided that would be a good way to be useful to society, so I've been trying to help out. This last Wednesday I was able to go out and help do intake and that sort of thing. It was interesting. For one thing, it was raining. I don't think it will ever stop raining here! The people that were there while I was there were, for the most part, quiet. Filled out the forms and then waited silently for an attorney to be available. I had an opportunity to read through some of the information packets that are given to Hurricane victims. Ridiculous. The hoops these people have to jump through just to get a real human being on the phone is unconscionable. Seriously, I struggle to understand how, as a society, we think it's ok to let these people languish. FEMA is woefully underfunded. I think currently the max these people can get from FEMA, assuming they can even get that far, is like $30,000. That is definitely better than nothing, but if your house has floated down the river, $30,000 won't build you a new one. One woman, who was lucky enough to have her house not float down the river, needed to have the floors in her house replaced. Her house had flooded and the floors were beyond repair. FEMA gave her $272. And because FEMA helped her, the insurance company won't.
And the insurance companies are even worse. That woman probably got more money from FEMA than her insurance company would have given her, if she had insurance. The older I get, the more I think insurance is just a giant ponzi scheme. You pay in your whole life and then when you need it they don't want to give you the money. Ass holes.
So, anyway, I'm glad I'm getting the opportunity to help a bit. I'm basically useless at this point because I don't know very much, but every little bit of help counts I guess. And I think it's really cool that there are attorneys willing to take a day or two off to come and help these people. We're not all bad, you know.
I did notice something I thought was interesting though. There were two attorneys working that day. Both times they came in and were introduced to me, they went straight to me (the woman in the suit) before even acknowledging the client (who wasn't wearing a suit). It made me very uncomfortable. I was grateful to meet these two attorneys, but it seemed strange to me that their first priority was to meet the law student rather than to meet the person there for much needed legal advice. I may have just perceived the entire thing wrong, but I still thought it was interesting, and it still made me a little uncomfortable.
In any event, they're doing a lot of good for these people, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to help!