The BBA Bankruptcy Section, in collaboration with
the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the BBA (VLP), today issued an urgent appeal
for volunteer lawyers and law firms to take on pro bono Chapter 7 bankruptcy
cases. All cases will be prescreened by the VLP, and volunteers will be provided
with mentoring assistance by both VLP and seasoned bankruptcy
“Given what is going on in the broader economy,
there is a substantial need for pro bono bankruptcy services,” said Adrienne K.
Walker, Co-Chair of the BBA Bankruptcy Section and an attorney at Mintz Levin.
“You need not be a bankruptcy lawyer or insolvency expert to volunteer. Given
the quality of the mentoring provided, this is a great opportunity for
litigators and real estate practitioners, and also for newer lawyers to do
client counseling, and if the need arises, to argue before a bankruptcy
Today’s appeal comes in direct response to the
rising number of low income people appearing pro se in Chapter 7 bankruptcy
cases. One recent such pro bono bankruptcy case, handled by Walker herself,
involved a family where the husband, a National Guardsman, was deployed to Iraq.
During his deployment, the small business he owned fell apart, and his wife had
no choice but to use credit cards for basic needs.
Other pro bono cases are expected to involve
individuals that have recently lost their jobs, many of whom are living below
the poverty level and need bankruptcy assistance to protect their ability to
stay in their
In response to this urgent need, the BBA Bankruptcy
Section and VLP have already recruited more than 105 volunteer lawyers to assist
debtors who would otherwise be pro se. Bankruptcy departments of many larger law
firms have already agreed to take at least three such pro bono cases per
“We need all the volunteers we can get,” said
Walker. “We acknowledge that in the past lawyers at large firms felt precluded
from volunteering because of client conflicts. But we trust that an ethics
opinion http://www.bostonbar.org/sc/ethics/op08_1.pdf issued by the BBA Ethics Committee will reduce any barriers
For more information, please contact the Co-chairs
of the Bankruptcy Section’s Pro Bono Committee: Doug Gooding at (617)
248-5277 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Elaine
Benkoski at (781) 461-0369 (email@example.com).