Free Bankruptcy Lawyers
Whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have fees to pay. The average filing fee for Chapter 7 is $245, with a $46 administrative fee, and $15 fee for the trustee. In the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filing fee is typically $235 with an admin fee of $46. The fees may vary from state to state, so check with your local bankruptcy court for current fee information. Filing and administrative fees are paid directly to the clerk of the court. Then there is the cost of the attorney. You are already struggling financially, how will you afford an attorney? Are there any free bankruptcy lawyers out there to help?
While most attorneys carry the reputation of charging high fees for their services, many firms will handle bankruptcy cases pro bono, meaning free of charge. You cannot check the yellow pages for free bankruptcy lawyers, nor will you see ads offering pro bono services. However, many firms will work pro bono in certain cases. Make phone calls to the law firms in your area and inquire about free bankruptcy lawyers.
Contacting local legal aid societies may also be a good tool in locating free bankruptcy lawyers. Legal aid lawyers earn CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credits for their volunteer work. Legal aid websites and newsletters will tell you which law firms have a legal aid division or work in partnership with legal aid.
Another good source for locating pro bono legal services is to contact your state and local bar associations. They can give you a listing of volunteer lawyers who will handle your bankruptcy for free. Additionally, many law schools offer pro bono services through their legal clinics. It is definitely worth checking into.
Most often in order to obtain free bankruptcy lawyers through legal aid services, the client must be deemed indigent. Typically this means your income is less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. As of 2012 the 125% level ranges from $13,963 for an individual to $48,613 for a family of eight. Add $4,950 for each additional household member. This information should save you time in determining if you qualify for free representation in your bankruptcy case.