The Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Texas began sponsoring and coordinating its first Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project (BP2) in collaboration with the University of Texas School of Law in 2015. The project is presently slated to expand to include collaboration with St. Mary’s University School of Law, with the intent of further expansion to additional law schools across Texas.
With the goal of providing pro bono representation to individuals considering seeking bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7, the BP2 pairs volunteer attorneys with law students for the purpose of taking referrals from local organizations focused on providing low-income clients with access to the civil justice system. With the law student acting as a legal assistant, the volunteer attorney and the law student help the potential client determine whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would be suitable for that client’s needs, and if so they represent that client in all of the primary aspects of preparing, filing, and seeing through to discharge a Chapter 7 case.
On account of the semester schedules of the law students, BP2 tends to take referrals from early September until late October and again from early February until late March.
This is an excellent opportunity to both provide pro bono legal services and mentor law students.
At present, the referral sources for the BP2 are Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid with a focus on the Austin area. In Fall of 2017, the BP2 will also be taking referrals in the San Antonio area from the Community Justice Program.
List of resources:
W.D. Tex. Standing Order: (I) That Pro Bono Legal Counsel are Not Debt Relief Agencies and (II) That Pro Bono Counsel for Debtors are Not Subject to Sections 526 Through 528 of the Bankruptcy Code