Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed Dec. 11, 2018, “McGuireWoods Day” in the city, honoring the firm for critical assistance to lawyers and staff from Lone Star Legal Aid displaced by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The City Council approved the proclamation at its Dec. 11 meeting.
Lone Star Legal Aid is the nation’s fourth-largest legal aid organization, serving 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas and four counties in southwest Arkansas. Flooding from Harvey’s historic rainfall caused an explosion and fire in its downtown Houston headquarters on Aug. 28, 2017. LSLA staff set up makeshift headquarters in the George R. Brown Convention Center to assist flood victims with applying for FEMA assistance and replacing lost benefits cards and other important documents.
McGuireWoods associate Siobhan Ray was volunteering at the center when she learned about the fire. She approached firm leaders about providing workspace for LSLA in McGuireWoods’ offices in JPMorgan Chase Tower. The firm quickly dedicated four conference rooms for 23 lawyers, paralegals and staff from LSLA’s Equitable Development Initiative unit, which focuses on fair housing, community advocacy and environmental justice matters — issues that took on new urgency after the hurricane.
The city’s proclamation commends the firm for “continuing its critical work and strengthening a formidable partnership with Lone Star Legal Aid that has provided relief to some of Houston’s most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Harvey.”
Jay Hughes, managing partner of the firm’s Houston office, said: “Community is a McGuireWoods core value and we are proud to lend a hand to Lone Star Legal Aid, which has done so much to help struggling families recover from Harvey.”
The EDI team has called McGuireWoods home for the past 16 months, but will rejoin the rest of LSLA’s Houston staff in January in leased office space the organization will occupy until it can return to its downtown headquarters.
“McGuireWoods stepped up and offered us space to work right after our office was destroyed. It allowed our team some stability to take on significant work, immediately assisting survivors of Harvey,” said Marty Orozco, the EDI team’s project director. “The support Jay and his staff have shown us has been invaluable. McGuireWoods gave us the opportunity to hit the ground running after Harvey and to continue building on the work from those initial months.”