(New York) Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Today, the legal education platform TalksOnLaw announced the release of “Disaster Relief Top 5 FEMA Mistakes to Avoid,” its latest legal explainer focused on helping victims of natural disasters.

After a natural disaster, the process for obtaining FEMA disaster assistance is not automatic and victims seeking aid frequently make avoidable mistakes that delay or prevent their recovery relief. Disaster Relief Top 5 FEMA Mistakes to Avoid” breaks down these mistakes. The video, narrated by actress Adrienne Houghtonaims to help natural disaster victims in the U.S. protect their chances of receiving FEMA disaster assistance.

Made in cooperation with the New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s Emergency Legal Task Force and The Association of Pro Bono Counsel, this 5-min TalksOnLaw video draws on the experience of seasoned public interest and pro bono attorneys and provides practical tips to help disaster victims of major storms, floods, or fires such as the Carr Fire still burning in California.


Judge DiFiore’s Emergency Legal Task Force, established in 2017 by the Honorable Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, is charged with mobilizing pro bono legal assistance on behalf of disaster victims in an effort to support their recovery.

Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the New York State:

“This educational video, with its focus on FEMA applications, will help ensure victims of natural disasters are better informed and prepared in pursuing relief, reinforcing the mission of the New York State Task Force on Legal Assistance Related to Hurricanes I appointed last year. I am grateful to Joel Cohen [TalksOnLaw Founder] and the Task Force members, led by Sharon Katz of Davis Polk & Wardwell and John Kiernan of Debevoise & Plimpton, for their efforts in bringing this project to fruition, as well as the many attorneys in New York and beyond for their pro bono contributions on behalf of individuals adversely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”

Adrienne Houghton narrated this video as a labor of love. The actress and natural disaster victim advocate has family and friends in Puerto Rico who were deeply affected by Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. She said, 

“My family was personally affected by the recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Natural disasters are absolutely devastating, and the victims desperately need government funding. But the benefits are not automatic.”

Adrienne is an actress, singer, and a co-host of The Real on Fox for which she has won a NAACP Image Award and a Daytime Emmy. She has millions of followers and subscribers on various social media platforms.

The Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) is a mission-driven membership organization made up of people who run pro bono programs in law firms. APBCo is dedicated to maximizing access to justice through the delivery of pro bono legal services. APBCo currently has over 240 members from more than 115 firms around the globe.

Allegra Nethery, Pro Bono & Philanthropy Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and current APBCo President:

“Our members’ pro bono attorneys regularly step forward to assist disaster survivors. We are proud to work with TalksOnLaw and Judge DiFiore’s Task Force to produce a video that captures the collective wisdom of legal aid organizations and pro bono lawyers and translates those best practices into an easily understood message. Our hope is that the video will allow disaster survivors to maximize their opportunity to obtain the FEMA benefits that will help them rebuild their lives.”