The Clinic provides pro se litigants with the opportunity to preschedule an appointment to meet with an attorney for a free half-hour consultation. Volunteer attorneys staff the Clinic in one to three hour shifts. Each volunteer attorney is asked to commit to serve at least twelve hours per year.
At the appointment, volunteer attorneys should be available to answer questions, review filings, and address other matters that pro se debtors and creditors may encounter. To ensure volunteers are capable of answering questions at the clinic, the Clinic requires volunteers have at least three years of bankruptcy experience and be admitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida. If a volunteer has less than three years of experience but feels competent to staff the Clinic, a waiver of this policy may be granted. For more information about the experience policy, please review the Pro Se Clinic Experience Policy. Attorneys are not expected to answer all the client’s questions. The Clinic hopes to answer questions that can reasonably be answered within a half-hour consultation and to provide direction and guidance to the individuals on how to proceed after the consultation (i.e. what to expect in their case if they continue without an attorney).
The Clinic offices have a computer, printer, and wireless internet connectivity available for use by volunteer attorneys. The Clinic also has forms and other printed resource materials to give to clients as well as reference materials for the volunteers including a Volunteer Handbook, a current Bankruptcy Code & Rules and links to various websites that are useful to the volunteer.
Each courthouse in the Middle District has attorney/client conference rooms available for use by any attorney. Volunteers should use one of those vacant meeting rooms for their Clinic consultations.
Malpractice coverage is not provided to Clinic volunteers. However, all pro se parties are required to sign a form acknowledging that no attorney-client relationship is formed during their Clinic appointment. To maintain a clear understanding that no attorney-client relationship is being formed and to protect the integrity of the program, attorney volunteers are not permitted to solicit clients nor are they permitted to discuss representation during a consultation at the Clinic. During consultations, Clinic volunteers are permitted to give referral suggestions that are available in the Clinic. However, this does not prevent an attorney who is individually contacted by a client, after a Clinic appointment, from taking on representation of that individual. Additionally, the Clinic volunteer may give their contact information to a client if the client specifically asks for it.
Volunteer training will be made available periodically through live presentations, video presentations and other materials on our website. The content of the training will be directed at updating non-consumer attorneys on law relevant to assisting consumer debtors and creditors.
Once volunteers have registered through the Volunteer Registration Portal on our website, they can use the Pro Se Clinic Calendar to reserve specific time slots to staff the Clinic office. A link to access and instructions on how to use the Pro Se Clinic Calendar will be emailed to all volunteers who register as a volunteer. Questions can be directed to the Clinic’s Administrator at Bankruptcy400@gmail.com or by calling (407) 476-4331.