A bankruptcy case is a legal proceeding that affects the rights of both debtors and creditors. Only an attorney is authorized to give you legal advice regarding a bankruptcy case or proceeding. The Clerk’s Office, the judges, and their staff cannot give you legal advice. For example, they cannot explain the meaning of a particular statutory provision, case, or applicable rule, help you complete forms, advise you on what action to take or complaint to file, or explain who should receive proper notice or service.
For Information on How to Obtain Legal Advice:
- Bar Association of Norfolk County: 617-471-9396
- Barnstable County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 508-362-2121
- Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 617-742-0625, 800-552-7046; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday
- Bristol County Bar Association: 508-990-1303, 800-647-5151
- Essex County Bar Association: 978-741-7888
- Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 617-654-0400, 866-627-7577, 9:00 am - 4:45 pm Monday through Friday
- Franklin County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 413-773-9839
- Hampden County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service: 413-432-4648, Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM or by email
- Hampshire County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 413-586-8729
- Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 617-654-0400, 866-627-7577, 9:00am - 4:45 pm Monday through Friday
- Worcester County Bar Association: 508-752-1311, 800-622-9700 9:00 am - 4:00 pm., Monday through Friday
For Information on Obtaining Reduced or No Cost ("Pro Bono") Legal Services:
- Community Legal Aid
- Massachusetts Bar Association Student Loan Bankruptcy Assistance Project
- MetroWest Legal Services
- Northeast Legal Aid and Northeast Justice Center
- South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.
- Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers:
By law, bankruptcy petition preparers are only a typing service and they cannot give legal advice. They may type information on bankruptcy forms which are available for free from the Clerk's Office, this website, or the U.S. Courts website. Many of the forms on the website are in pdf-fillable form.
There is no training, testing, or certification required to act as a bankruptcy petition preparer.
Petition preparers must sign all documents they prepare as a petition preparer; their name, address, and full social security number must appear on the documents; and copies furnished to the debtor.
Bankruptcy petition preparers CAN NOT:
- Give legal advice or explain how to answer legal questions;
- Represent debtors at their Meeting of Creditors (the “341 Meeting”);
- Represent debtors in any court proceeding or hearing;
- Draft or file motions, notices, objections, responses, or other pleadings; or
- Sign a document on the debtor’s behalf nor receive payment from the debtor for court fees.
BEWARE of bankruptcy petition preparers who do not comply with these requirements.
Additional Legal Resources:
American Bankruptcy Institute
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
National Consumer Law Center