17:57, October 13 309 0 abajournal.com

2017-10-13 17:57:05
Napa ranch owned by former ABA president Stephen Zack and David Boies is destroyed in wildfires

Zack, a partner with Boies Schiller Flexner, received a call at about 4 a.m. that day. The property manager on the phone told Zack he shouldn’t come because the place was on fire.

The entire home was lost, along with a nine-horse barn and the wine crop. The horses on the property managed to find their way through a gate to what appears to be the only patch of green grass around for miles, Zack says. It is “frankly a miracle” that the horses survived, “but thank God they did,” Zack says.

Zack had co-owned the ranch on Atlas Peak for more than a half-dozen years. “We called it ‘the refuge’ because that’s really what it was,” Zack says. “A place to go, relax and enjoy life a bit.”

Zack had hosted ABA and charitable events on the property, including a reception when he became ABA president in San Francisco.

Zack says the plan is to rebuild. There is insurance on the home, and there is crop insurance as well. “We’re going to miss it,” he said, “but the property is still there.”

Zack is grateful for the calls and emails he has received expressing concern. Though he is saddened by loss of the property, “you’ve got to keep it in perspective,” he said. Lives have been lost and people have been devastated by the losses, he said.

“My heart is really broken for the people who lost everything out there,” he says. “This was a second home and one we loved but many people lost everything.”

The fires have affected several law firms in Northern California, as well as their employees and clients, Law.com reports. Several law firm employees and clients have lost their homes, and some law firms had to close offices. Many lawyers are working remotely.

A list of California court closings is here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making disaster assistance available to Sonoma County residents whose homes or businesses have been damaged or destroyed in the fires, report the Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle. The assistance includes disaster legal services, according to the FEMA notice.

The declaration means the ABA can get involved through the Disaster Legal Services Program of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. The program uses volunteer lawyers to give free legal help to victims of disasters.