New Pro Bono Program Announced: Adversary Proceedings

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts is pleased to announce the implementation of a court‐sponsored pro bono attorney program for unrepresented indigent litigants in adversary proceedings. An adversary proceeding is a civil action filed in a bankruptcy case and presided over by the bankruptcy court.

Through this program, qualified pro se litigants may be able to obtain representation from a panel of volunteer attorneys. A litigant may apply for counsel using a form available on the court’s website, and in support of the application must submit financial information to enable the court to determine whether he or she is eligible for representation by a panel volunteer. If the litigant is eligible, any attorney member of the panel may volunteer to represent the litigant. Out of pocket expenses incurred by the attorney may be reimbursed by the court, subject to the availability of funds.

“The bankruptcy process can be challenging enough for pro se parties,” said Chief Judge Melvin S. Hoffman. “Add to this the procedural and evidentiary complexities of adversary proceedings and the pro se litigant can easily become overwhelmed.”

“This program” he added, “advances one of the core missions of the court which is to enhance public access to justice by helping litigants with limited financial resources defend or prosecute adversary proceedings.”

The program will begin accepting applications from litigants on July 1, 2015.  You can read the program guidelines, FAQs for Attorneys, FAQs for Parties, and attorneys interested in participating on the pro bono panel can find the registration form here.