What is the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project?
It goes without saying that people facing bankruptcy usually do not have a lot of money. Paying for necessary legal assistance can be very difficult and can often delay a much needed bankruptcy. An interesting program known as the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance project has been created to help low income New Yorkers get the legal assistance they need from pro-bono bankruptcy attorneys. The program is great in theory and we hope to see it do well, but it does have some limitations.
If you are 200% or below the Federal poverty line then you may apply for legal aid from the program. They give advice and provide counseling for debtors in a group setting, then with one on one meetings. If deemed appropriate the project may be able to help find a pro bono attorney to help someone who wants to file on their own (pro se). A law student or volunteer bankruptcy attorney will help you prepare your petition, but you will be representing yourself once the case is filed. The volunteer attorneys do not sign on as the “counsel of record” for the bankruptcy case. If problems arise during the case they may or may not be able to assist you further. If you are determined to be judgment proof then you will receive some brief and limited advice as well as a good example of a “do not call” letter that you can give to your creditors. Furthermore, if you are a good candidate for Chapter 13 the best they can normally do is refer you to a qualified New York Attorney that is not volunteering in the project.
There is no question the New York Bankruptcy Assistance Project is helping many low income New Yorkers get the fresh start they need. They have discharged almost five million dollars of collective bad debt for people who need it the most in New York. Unfortunately their legal advice is limited and offered in a group setting. It could take a number of workshops to understand what you are up against, and even if they help you prepare a petition you will be on your own once you actually file. If you need Chapter 13, they most likely won’t be able to help at all. If you are underwater on your bills and need immediate assistance realize that most attorneys in New York City will offer a free consultation and can also work with clients on favorable payment terms. You will get what you pay for as well. The attorney you hire will take care of immediately getting your creditors off your back, and will be there to represent you during your case. If there are any problems your attorney will take care of them so you can focus on getting the most out of the fresh start bankruptcy will provide.
If you live in New York City and need affordable bankruptcy assistance please contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free bankruptcy consultation. We know what to expect with each and every case we file before entering a petition and maintain a 99% Chapter 7 discharge record in New York City as of 8/31/16.
This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading this no attorney-client privilege has been created.