Frequently Asked Questions About the Bankruptcy Court's Pro Bono Program

What is the Bankruptcy Court’s Pro Bono program?
In an appropriate adversary proceeding, the Bankruptcy Court may grant an indigent party's Application for Pro Bono Counsel. Such a motion might be granted at different stages of the case, such as before discovery, before a hearing on a dispositive motion, or before a final pretrial conference. The Court’s Pro Bono Coordinator will contact members of bar who have expressed a general interest in accepting appointment as pro bono counsel to see if one of them will agree to accept appointment in the particular case.

In what types of cases does the Bankruptcy Court grant an Application for Pro Bono Counsel?
At this time the program is limited to indigent parties in adversary proceedings. It is not available in the main bankruptcy case. Pro se parties seeking assistance obtaining legal counsel should speak to the Pro Se Clerk/Pro Bono Coordinator.

Why is an Application required under this program?
In cases where an Application has been allowed, Pro Bono Counsel may seek reimbursement from the Court for certain costs and expenses. Reimbursement is not guaranteed, is subject to Court approval and is subject to available funding. For more information on what costs and expenses may be recoverable, please refer to Reimbursement Guidelines available on the Court’s web page.

How do I know I am eligible?
In addition to the Application, you will be required to submit a Supplemental Questionnaire with supporting documents along with an affidavit. With the exception of the Application, all documents are filed under seal and not made available to the public or to parties in the proceeding. At a minimum, your household income must be 200 per cent or below the HHS Poverty Guidelines. Other information is also considered. Contact the Pro Bono Coordinator to learn more.

Will I get an attorney if I am eligible?
If the Court allows the Application, a volunteer attorney may appear in the case on your behalf. The availability of an attorney depends on many factors including whether there are volunteers available at that time. Allowance of the application is no guarantee an attorney will appear throughout the case.

Who do I contact to learn more?
Contact the Pro Bono Coordinator who can ask any specific questions you may have. Remember, you cannot obtain any legal advice from the Clerk’s office.

William J. McLeod, Pro Se Clerk

Boston 617‐748‐5351
Worcester 508‐770‐8925
Springfield 413‐785‐6892