Attorneys -- The bankruptcy court is prohibited from directing you to a particular attorney. View list of local county bar associations and regional bankruptcy law groups.
Free or Low Cost Legal Assistance -- An individual debtor who is unable to afford an attorney may qualify for free legal representation. View list of phone numbers for low cost and free legal assistance.
Friends or Bankruptcy Petition Preparers - The court often encounters debtors who cannot afford to pay an attorney to help them prepare bankruptcy forms. Sometimes a debtor pays a few hundred dollars to a "friend" to help file for bankruptcy. Often this is a mistake because there are many forms to fill out, many important deadlines, and many notices that a debtor will receive from the court. Often, this "friend" does not have access to the correct forms or gives bad advice to the debtor. Bad advice may be worse than waiting to file for bankruptcy because bad advice may result in a bankruptcy case getting dismissed. A debtor does not get a refund if the bankruptcy case is dismissed, and a debtor may not even get the relief that was hoped for.
It is recommended that a debtor spend time on the court's website studying all of the required forms instead of relying on a person who may not be properly informed or educated in bankruptcy processes, or may not have the debtor's best interest in mind. An individual who cannot afford an attorney may come to the court before filing for bankruptcy and obtain a list of phone numbers for low-cost or free bankruptcy assistance. See Debtor Assistance Project for information.