FAQ About Volunteering

What is it?

The Bankruptcy Pro Se Assistance Clinic is a virtual clinic which provides pro se debtors and creditors with an opportunity to meet virtually or telephonically with a bankruptcy attorney for a cost-free half hour consultation.

Who runs the program?

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.

Is malpractice coverage provided?

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 prior to the consultation.

What is the commitment for a volunteer?

Attorneys can volunteer as frequently or rarely as they want. Volunteers pick dates and times convenient to them. No long term commitment is needed.

What are the experience requirements for volunteers?

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.

To what extent does a volunteer "represent" the person who seeks assistance through the Pro Se Assistance Clinic?

As part of the request for assistance 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.

Can a member of the Chapter 7 trustee panel be a volunteer?

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.

Can a volunteer represent a person with whom the volunteer meets at the Pro Se Assistance Clinic?

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.

Does the Pro Se Assistance Clinic provide volunteer attorneys qith free PACER access?

Yes, a login and password are provided for use by the volunteer attorneys.

Can I refer the debtor to a state or county legal assistance agency?

Absolutely. Volunteer attorneys can refer people to county legal assistance and community charitable agencies.

How do I volunteer?

To sign up to volunteer, go to the Clinic’s website (prosefls.wpenginepowered.com) and click on REGISTER UP TO VOLUNTEER.  Once you are on the scheduling page you will be able to sign up for a particular day & time.

How is the clinc funded?

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.

My employer prohibits me from volunteering to give legal advice at the Clinic. Is there another way that I can still help?

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.