FAQ About Volunteering
The Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic is a clinic which provides pro se debtors and creditors with an opportunity to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a cost-free half hour consultation.
The Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic for the Orlando Division is located on the 6th floor of the George C. Young Federal Building and Courthouse in room 6107.
The Clinic is open on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9am – Noon. The Clinic also schedules appointments at the convenience of the attorney volunteer. Days and times are subject to change.
The Clinic is administered by the Middle District of Florida Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to assisting unrepresented parties involved in bankruptcy proceedings in the Middle District of Florida. The Clinic is not related to or affiliated with the United States Bankruptcy Court.
No, malpractice coverage is not provided to volunteers while staffing the Clinic. All volunteers and unrepresented parties must sign an Agreement for Limited Legal Advice (See Attachment B) prior to the consultation.
Volunteers are needed to staff the Clinic at a minimum of one-hour shifts. A person may volunteer as frequently as he or she wishes but we ask that all volunteers commit to volunteer at least 12 hours per year. Attorneys have the following options:
- 3 hours scheduled every 3 months
- 2 hours scheduled every 2 months
- 1 hour scheduled every month
Generally, an attorney must have three years of bankruptcy experience and must be admitted to practice in the Middle District. An attorney with less than three years of experience may be approved as a volunteer in certain circumstances. Any waivers of the experience requirement must be approved by the Clinic’s administration. Pro Se Clinic Experience Policy.
The person seeking assistance signs an agreement acknowledging that the “representation” ends when the meeting concludes. The agreement also contains a conflict waiver. Agreement for Limited Legal Advice.
The Clinic welcomes experienced Chapter 7 trustees. The person who schedules the meetings makes sure that a debtor does not meet with the trustee appointed in his or her Chapter 7 case.
Maybe. A volunteer may not solicit clients nor provide direct referrals to a specific attorney or firm while working at the Pro Se Assistance Clinic. However, a volunteer who is independently contacted by a debtor or creditor after an appointment may take on representation of that individual.
There is a computer with Internet and PACER access, a printer/copier/scanner, a hard copy of the Bankruptcy Code and Rules, a binder with current rules, procedures, preferred forms and contact lists, and general office supplies. Volunteers have access to an online interpretation service and Skype. Additionally, the computer has “Favorites” bookmarked, such as the median income amounts, approved credit counseling agencies, required forms and frequently asked questions. Copies of forms and other reference materials may also be available although we do not generally provide forms due to limited operating funds.
Yes, a login and password are provided for use by the volunteers and is posted in the clinic.
Absolutely. There are referral materials in the Clinic office for county legal assistance and community charitable agencies. Additionally, volunteers are asked to refer the individual back to the Clinic Administrator who will further assist them if necessary.
To sign up to volunteer, go to the Clinic’s website (www.proseclinic.com) and click on SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER under the “I want to Help” heading. Once you are on the scheduling page you will be able to sign up for a particular day & time or request more information. You may also contact the Clinic’s Administrator for more information on how to become a volunteer.
The Pro Se Clinics are administered by the Middle District of Florida Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the State of Florida. Funding is provided by individual and corporate contributions, grants and fundraisers. The Bankruptcy Law Educational Series Foundation, the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, the Bench Bar Committee for the Middle District of Florida and the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation are among those that offer continued financial support. The Middle District of Florida Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic is a private company and no public monies are used to fund the program. The Clinic is not related to or affiliated with the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Yes! You can still support the program even if you are not permitted to give legal advice. Consider contributing to the Bankruptcy Law Educational Series (B.L.E.S.) Foundation by donating money and/or getting involved in its fundraising efforts. You can also support the practice of bankruptcy law by mentoring a law student or attorney new to this area of practice.