An Open Letter to the Bankruptcy Bar

seal of the chief judge

         Peter H. Carroll 
   Chief Bankruptcy Judge

United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California
Roybal Federal Building & Courthouse
255 East Temple Street, Suite 1460
Los Angeles, California 90012




       Ph:   213-894-6343
       Fax:  213-894-1312

December 7, 2012

An Open Letter to the Bankruptcy Bar

The Bankruptcy Judges of the Central District of California once again urge you to consider volunteering for one of the bankruptcy pro bono opportunities available in your area. In recent years, the number of low-income self-represented individuals in our court has risen dramatically. As you might imagine, the organizations currently assisting low-income people in bankruptcy are seeing hundreds of families on the brink of foreclosure or in other economic distress.

Volunteer opportunities range from just a few hours every other month at a clinic to full representation in a Chapter 7 case or adversary proceeding. With a self help desk in every division, you can easily volunteer close to home for only the number of hours that fit into your schedule. Consumer bankruptcy training can often be provided where necessary. While most requests are for debtor assistance, low-income creditor assistance is also needed. The programs are structured so that traditionally creditor or business attorneys may volunteer without a concern about conflicts or being designated a debt relief agency. The vast majority of the people coming to these programs cannot afford counsel, but attorney referrals are also made through these organizations where appropriate.

Even a brief consultation with an attorney can make a big difference to an unrepresented party. Attorney assistance also greatly helps the court and other litigants. You can find the contact information for the group in your area along with the types of opportunities available on the Court’s website ( in the “Programs and Services” section, by clicking on “Pro Bono Opportunities.” We encourage you to contact one of these groups and see if there might be a way to contribute your expertise in these difficult economic times. To those of you who already volunteer or provide badly needed pro bono help in other ways, we say thank you. Your efforts help the court be more responsive to all litigants, regardless of income level.

                                                                                                                                                                       Peter H. Carroll
                                                                                                                                                                       Chief Bankruptcy Judge

Printable Version


Organization: Public Counsel
Area served: Los Angeles County
Go to and click on the “Volunteer” tab OR
Contact David Daniels, Pro Bono Director
Phone: (213) 385-2977

Volunteers Needed for:
Self Help Desk – Mondays and Wednesdays 10 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm
Reaffirmation Clinics, Chapter 7 Seminars, preparing chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions


Organization: Bet Tzedek
Area served: Los Angeles County
Contact: Jenny Williams, Pro Bono & Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (323) 549-5895
or go to

Volunteers Needed for:
Client intake interviews and follow-up; preparing chapter 7 bankruptcy  petitions


Organization: Neighborhood Legal Services
Area served: Northern Los Angeles County
or go to

Volunteers Needed for:
Self Help Desk in Woodland Hills:
Thursdays from 9 am – 12 pm and 1 – 4 pm


Organization: Public Service Law Corporation
Area served: Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
Contact: Bob Simmons, Pro Se Clinic Manager
Phone: (951) 310-5845
or go to

Volunteers Needed for: non-dischargeability cases;
Self Help Desk – Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am – 2 pm


Organization: Public Law Center
Area served: Orange County
Contact: 714-541-1010 or

Volunteers Needed for:
Prefiling chapter 7 Clinic; Post Filing chapter 7 clinic
Reaffirmation Clinic in Santa Ana, chapter 7 representation
Clinic open Wednesdays 1:30 - 3:30; Fridays 9 am - 11 am


Organization: Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County
Area served: Santa Barbara County
or go to

Volunteers Needed for:
Chapter 7 representation and Self Help Clinic – Weekly on Fridays 10 am – 12 pm

* Updated April 1, 2013