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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jan. 20, 201412:00 PM EST

Pro Bono bankruptcy efforts expanding to serve more clients

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by: Kathy Para

The Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services are working together to respond to the bankruptcy needs of low-income people in Northeast Florida and expand existing pro bono efforts.

Please let us know how you may be able to assist in the 4th Circuit pro bono bankruptcy project with the following needs:

Pro bono bankruptcy case representation 

Go to jaxlegalaid.org and click on the link "cases in need of placement with pro bono attorneys" or send an email to Kathy Para, ([email protected]) indicating your interest and willingness to consider assisting a pro bono bankruptcy client. Clients in need of assistance are identified by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services.

Bankruptcy judicial appro bono panel

Bankruptcy judges throughout Florida maintain a list of attorneys willing to accept pro bono appointments from the bench. The 4th Circuit is under-represented on this list. Attorneys willing to be available to accept an occasional pro bono appointment initiated by a bankruptcy judge should email Para at [email protected] list will be provided to judges and staff, and updated.

Pro se bankruptcy assistance clinics

A committee of representatives from Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services is working with bankruptcy judges and staff to create a sustainable pro se bankruptcy guidance opportunity for pro se litigants at the courthouse. Interested pro bono attorneys will volunteer to staff the guidance resource once or twice a month as time permits. The day, time and courthouse location have not been determined (possible day/time, the first Wednesday of the month, 12-1:30 p.m.). If you would like to be a pro bono attorney on the staffing rotation for the new bankruptcy guidance resource for pro se filers (or would just like to be kept informed of the progress of this project) please send an email to Chardea Murray ([email protected]) indicating your interest.

Reaffirmation hearing guidance for pro se filers 

Pro Bono attorneys are present periodically at reaffirmation hearings to provide guidance for pro se filers.  Interested attorneys should contact Jerrett McConnell ([email protected]) or Ed Jackson ([email protected]) to sign up to participate in this resource.

Bankruptcy group information clinic

This occurs monthly at JALA, 126 West Adams Street, on the first Thursday of every month at 5:00 pm.  Presented by Ed Jackson and Rehan Khawaja, this informational resource helps attendees consider whether bankruptcy is right for them.

Online resources for pro se filers

A committee of representatives from the JBBA, JALA, and TRLS, with funding by a grant from the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation is developing online video resources for pro se filers that will be posted on various websites and publicized to persons throughout northeast Florida. 

New resources will complement those already available to pro se filers.  Contact Kathy Para, ([email protected]), to be part of the planning and development of these online resources.

For information on pro bono opportunities in the 4th Judicial Circuit, attorneys are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman of The JBA Pro Bono Committee, at [email protected].

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