In recognition of National Pro Bono Week, WMU-Cooley Law School Debt Relief Clinic student externs, under the supervision of local attorney and Clinic Director Victor H. Veschio, launched the clinic’s Pro Se Reach-Out Project to assist individuals in what can be an overwhelming and stressful legal process.
As part of the project, pro se bankruptcy filers, meaning individuals who are advocating on their own behalf before a court rather than being represented by a lawyer, are identified. If they are considered to be at risk pro se filers who are in need of free legal services and qualify under clinic guidelines, they are connected with the clinic for assistance through the legal process.
The project’s goals are to help make the bankruptcy process less stressful on the pro se filer, minimize errors and lessen the amount of judicial labor associated with pro se filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.
“Imagine someone dealing with the stress of financial difficulty maneuvering through a complicated bankruptcy system with voluminous forms, rules, procedures and deadlines,” said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine Peek McEwen.
McEwen also said the services provided by the project “is a win-win for the pro se filer.”
Senior student associate externs April Pent and Alex Rodriguez were able to begin the project after receiving confirmation from the Florida Bar that the direct solicitation of potential pro se clients would be acceptable because the representation provided through the project would not include any monetary or economic gain.
Photo: WMU-Cooley Law School Debt Relief Clinic Externs Alex Rodriguez (left) and April Pent (right) launched the clinic’s Pro Se Reach-Out Project, which takes proactive steps in reaching out to pro se bankruptcy filers to assist in what can be an overwhelming and stressful legal process.