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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Disaster Relief Clinic

Our Work

The Pepperdine Caruso School of Law has established a strong framework for disaster recovery related legal services since beginning disaster recovery work in 2017. Its work includes but is not limited to legal assistance for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Woolsey, Bobcat, and Lake fires and other disasters.

The Disaster Relief Clinic seeks to close the justice gap for those affected by disasters by providing a swift and continuing response to disasters as legal needs transition from the immediate need for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and insurance to transitioning to recovery and rebuilding. This broad array of matters include FEMA assistance, including advocacy regarding additional individual assistance (IA) benefits; employment law, including pandemic unemployment assistance, sick leave, unemployment, and Family and Medical Leave Act; housing law, including moratorium, nonpayment of rent, default evictions, and harassment by landlords; and small business law, including employment, insurance, and small business loans.

Student Experience

Students gain hands-on experience in the transitioning legal needs of clients recovering from disasters in matters navigating bureaucratic and administrative processes, insurance, government permits and benefits, and rebuilding. This work will include advice and counsel, evaluation and analysis, negotiation and advocacy, research and writing, and guidance on legal matters as they arise and evolve during the course of recovery and rebuilding.



Overview of Federal Disaster Assistance

Individual Assistance Handbook

25 Pro Tips for Working with FEMA

National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center Quick Reference Guide

FEMA Disaster Assistance


Disaster Relief Helping Handbooks

A Homeowner's Insurance Policy Guide for California Fire Survivors

California's Statewide Wildfire Recovery Resources


United Policyholders: Woolsey Fire - Insurance Claim Help

United Policyholders: Claim Guidance Library

United Policyholders: Contents Claim Help

Insurance Commissioner: Important California Laws that Pertain to Property Insurance Policies after a Declared Disaster

Insurance Commissioner: Expedited Claim Handling Billing Grace Period Procedures for California Wildfires

Insurance Commissioner: Declaration of Emergency Situation


Business Physical Disaster Loans

Economic Injury Disaster Loans


California Disaster Unemployment Assistance:


Food Assistance

Public Benefits Disaster Relief

For further information about the Disaster Relief Clinic, please contact Professors Sophia Hamilton and David DeJute.