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An Open Letter to the Bankruptcy Bar

seal of the chief judge

Theodor C. Albert
Chief Bankruptcy Judge

United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California
Roybal Federal Building & Courthouse
21041 Burbank Boulevard, Suite 324
Woodland Hills, California 91367




Ph:   818-587-2806

January 3, 2022

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.  Over the past several years, notwithstanding the cyclical increases and decreases in our filing numbers, one thing has remained constant:  there are large numbers of low-income individuals in our court in need of representation.  Organizations currently assisting low-income people in our district see hundreds of families on the brink of foreclosure or in other economic distress each year. 

Volunteer opportunities available range from commitments that require only 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 may be available for you. While most requests are for debtor assistance, low-income creditor assistance is needed as well.  The programs are structured so that attorneys who generally represent creditors may volunteer without concern about conflicts of interest or being designated a debt relief agency.  The vast majority of the people who come 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 contact information for an organization 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 agencies to explore whether there might be a way for you to contribute your time and expertise to someone in need.  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 and are truly appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                       Theodor C. Albert
                                                                                                                                                                       Chief Bankruptcy Judge




Organization: Public Counsel
Area served: Los Angeles County (Los Angeles and San Fernando Divisions)
Contact David Daniels, Pro Bono Director, at 213-385-2977 ext. 105 or via email at or go to and click on the “Volunteer” tab

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: Neighborhood Legal Services
Area served: Northern Los Angeles County (San Fernando Valley Division)
Contact: Ana Maria Garcia at 818-291-1788 or via email at or Diana Avendano at 818-834-7504 or via email at or

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


Organization: Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County
Area served: Santa Barbara County (Northern Division)
Contact: Randall Sutter at 805-650-7100 or via email at

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


Organization: Riverside Legal Aid (formerly, Public Service Law Corporation)
Area served: Riverside and San Bernardino Counties (Riverside Division)
Contact: Bob Simmons at 951-310-5845 or via email at or go to

Volunteers Needed in Riverside for Chapter 7 Self-Help Clinic
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am – 2 pm (pre- & post-filing issues)
Adversary Proceedings

Volunteers Needed in Cathedral City for Chapter 7 Self-Help Clinic
4th Monday of every month, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm


Organization: Public Law Center
Area served: Orange County (Santa Ana Division)
Contact:  Leigh Ferrin at 714-541-1010 x 290 or via email at or go to

Volunteers Needed for
Chapter 7 self-help clinic, Wednesdays 1:30 - 3:30 and Fridays 10 am - 12 pm
Reaffirmation Clinic in Santa Ana; Chapter 7 and Adversary Proceeding Representation 

* Updated September 26, 2019