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Recognition of Pro Bono Volunteers 2021

seal of the chief judge

Maureen A. Tighe
Chief Bankruptcy Judge

United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California
21041 Burbank Boulevard, Suite 324
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Ph:   (818) 587-2806
Fax: (818) 587-2949


In honor of National Pro Bono Celebration week, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the attorneys serving self-represented filers.    The Central District of California has the largest population of self-represented parties of any bankruptcy court in the nation.  Attorneys that volunteer are helping those facing substantial economic hardship (and often language barriers) to navigate through the bankruptcy process.  These attorneys serve an area of extreme need, providing vital services, advice, and in some cases legal representation for qualifying individuals.  The service provided by these attorney volunteers greatly benefits the Court and all of its litigants, regardless of income level.

The volunteer efforts recognized include pro bono service in one or more of the following areas: self-help desks, Reaffirmation Agreement clinics, chapter 7 clinics, consumer debt clinics, bankruptcy seminars concerning filing requirements and the different chapters of bankruptcy, and legal representation for qualifying cases.  A brief description of the varied programs forming this network of assistance for self-represented parties within the Central District of California follows the honor roll listing.

The Court thanks each of the following Honor Roll of Pro Bono Volunteers for their current and continued support in serving the self-represented parties in our district.1

Maureen A. Tighe, Chief Bankruptcy Judge

1 The attached Honor Roll lists the names of the volunteers from the previous 12 months provided by each organization. The list will be updated quarterly to add any new volunteers emailed to The volunteer organizations are to review the list each September and email the Honor Roll address with any names that are to be removed for the annual update.

Previous Honor Rolls  |  Printable Version


United States Bankruptcy Court
Central District of California

2021 Honor Roll of Pro Bono Volunteers


Public Counsel's Debtors Assistance Project
Chapter 7, Adversary Proceeding & Reaffirmation Hearing Volunteers


Edwin Burgos
Christopher D. Cantore
Atyria S. Clark
Christie Cronenweth
Douglas M. Flahaut
Ruben Fuentes
David Golubchik
William Ha
David Hagen
Jeffrey Hagen


Stella Havkin
Carmel Hehr
David Hernandez
Jonathan Howell
Ilyse Klavir
Hugh Linstrom
Peter Lively
Manolo Maddela
Roksana Moradi-Brovia
Adam Morris


Sandra Nutt
Philomena Nzegge
Leonard Peña
Lauren Ross
Allan Sarver
David Shevitz
Alison Stevens
Jeff Wishman
Anne Wright

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Self Help Desk & Bankruptcy Workshop Volunteers


John Davis
Sheila Esmaili
William Ha
Roksana Moradi-Brovia
Evgenia Mukhina
Robert Reganyan
Michelle Ross
Randolph Scott
Mohammed Tehrani


Ana Cuellar
Jesse Han
Barry Lipsky
Timothy Nolan

Other Volunteers

Lucie Pichler
Paul Polizzi
Victor Saldana

Law Students

Hali Archer
Eduardo Casas
Noah Cowart
Zachary Dooley
Edgar Morales
Sharthak Mukopadhyay
Richard Powers
Ramona Sandoval

Public Service Law Corporation’s (Riverside Legal Aid)
Riverside & Coachella Valley Volunteers


Labana Azad
John Gagnon


Suzette Jacobsen

Brittany Chinchilla

Law Students
Danyelle McNeary

Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County Self-Help Desk Volunteers


Pardis Akhavan
J Geoffrey Beirne
Anil Bhartia
Nan Blitman
Ted Boxer
Mark Brenner
Michael Davis
Sanford Frey


Sevan Gorginian
David S. Hagen
Jeff Hagen
M. Jonathan Hayes
Yi Sun Kim
Ilyse Klavir
Jonathan Leventhal
E. Richard McGuire


Roksana D. Moradi-Brovia
Alan Nahmias
Michael Rice
Jeremy H. Rothstein
Patricia Said
Charles Shamish
Sloan Youkstetter

Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County Consumer Debt Clinic Volunteers


Will Beall
Patricia Fox
Chris Gautschi


Reed Olmstead
Randall Sutter


Felicita Torres
Christian Younger

Orange County Bar and Public Law Center Volunteers


Marshall Hogan
Michael Jones
Archana Joshi


Bridget Kelly
Traci Kim
Phil Metzinger
Bruce Wilson

Law Students

Nadia Blant
Kevin Shone
Emily Osgood
Danielle Vega


Programs for Self-Represented Parties at the
Central District of California Bankruptcy Court

Los Angeles Division:
The Debtor Assistance Project (DAP) began as the Court’s first effort to make pro bono programs available to the public within its geographic area.  In the Los Angeles Division alone, the DAP places between 45-50 chapter 7 cases and adversary proceedings with pro bono counsel each year.  It has become the umbrella committee and resource for projects throughout the district for all self-represented parties.  The DAP is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section and the Public Counsel Law Center.  It works closely with a number of other legal clinics throughout the district to provide free legal services to qualifying debtors and self-help support to all parties in the bankruptcy court.  The DAP holds bi-monthly meetings at the Court, bringing together representatives from public interest law firms, volunteer attorneys, chapter 7 and 13 trustee representatives, bankruptcy judges, Clerk’s Office, and members of the office of the U.S. trustee.  The DAP raises funds and awareness for its programs, provides training for pro bono attorneys, and exchanges information on trends and issues related to providing pro bono and self-help assistance as well as best practices.

          Non-Dischargeability Representation
Public Counsel locates pro bono attorneys for self-represented debtors in non-dischargeability adversary proceedings.  A notice is sent by the court advising the debtor to contact Public Counsel if they need assistance.  Income screening is then done by Public Counsel before a volunteer attorney is assigned.  The attorneys then represent pro se debtors in non-dischargeability proceedings.

          Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
This program provides pro bono assistance at Reaffirmation Agreement hearings.  Reaffirmation Agreement hearings for participating judges at a particular division are bundled together, usually twice each month.  This enables pro bono attorneys, coordinated by Public Counsel, to offer debtors information about their rights in a consultation that takes place outside the courtroom before the hearing. 

           Self Help Desk
The Los Angeles Division launched an onsite self-help desk in 2009 that serves the public two days each week.  The self-help desk provides self-represented debtors and creditors with chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy information, forms, access to reference material, and provides referrals for additional legal assistance.  Income eligible individuals can also attend a chapter 7 self-help clinic.  The Los Angeles Division self-help desk is sponsored by Public Counsel, the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association (CDCBAA), and the Los Angeles County Bar Association - Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Subcommittee’s Debtor Assistance Project.

          Chapter 7 Representation
Income qualified debtors may receive pro bono representation from Public Counsel where volunteer attorneys can be found.  As the demand for representation is greater than the availability of volunteers, the self help programs are designed to assist those debtors with simple cases and the ability to represent themselves more effectively.  Public Counsel locates attorney volunteers through the CDCBAA, the Los Angeles and San Fernando County Bar Associations, and the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum.

Riverside Division:

The Public Service Law Corporation of the Riverside County Bar Association (Riverside Legal Aid) offers limited free legal services and bankruptcy seminars for pro se debtors located in the area served by the Riverside Division.  The Court made space available at the Riverside Division for the Public Service Law Corporation to provide pro bono and self-help services.   In a joint effort, the District Court and the Bankruptcy Court opened a self-help desk in December of 2011.  As a result of a grant from the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation, in January 2014 Public Service Law Corporation began a clinic in the Coachella Valley.  The clinic is open for four hours on every fourth Monday of each month at the Cathedral City Library.

          Non-Dischargeabilty Defense
The Inland Empire Bankruptcy Forum has provided non-dischargeability defense on a limited ad hoc basis when it can locate volunteer attorneys.

Santa Ana Division:

         Legal Clinic
The Santa Ana Division has a weekly onsite legal clinic operated by Public Law Center that provides free legal advice for self-represented parties in chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.  Public Law Center also provides pro bono representation in chapter 7 cases with attorneys from the local bar, when available.  The legal clinic is co-sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association – Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section, and the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum. Orange County Legal Aid also holds a weekly chapter 7 clinic and assists debtors in filing on their own if it is a no-asset case.

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The Santa Ana Division has a Reaffirmation Agreement clinic similar to the one in Los Angeles.  The clinic is operated by the Public Law Center with volunteers from the local bar.

         Non-Dischargeabilty Defense
The Public Law Center has provided non-dischargeability defense on an ad hoc basis when it can locate volunteer attorneys.

Northern Division:

         Consumer Debt Clinic
Serving Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, the Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy Clinic was formed and began operation in 2009 in Northern Santa Barbara County before moving to the Northern Division in 2010.  The clinic is sponsored by the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County (LAFSBC) and is held once a week in the Northern Division Clerk’s office.  Volunteer attorneys are available during the clinic to answer questions about individual consumer debt issues.  A Bankruptcy Resource Center is also open during clinic hours to provide bankruptcy reference materials and forms.

The clinic began a Video Conference Counseling pilot program in November 2016.  The program provides free legal services offered by volunteer attorneys in Santa Barbara to self-represented individuals in San Luis Obispo County via video conference.  After completing an online intake form, a volunteer in a Paso Robles Superior Court location establishes a video connection via Skype with an attorney volunteer in the Northern Division.  The video option alleviates the need for individuals to make the 2 to 3 hour drive to Santa Barbara to access the weekly Consumer Debt & Bankruptcy Clinics.

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The Santa Barbara County Bar Association arranges for volunteer attorneys to meet with self-represented debtors before each Reaffirmation Agreement hearing. 

San Fernando Valley Division:

         Self Help Desk
The San Fernando Valley Division opened the Court’s first onsite self-help desk in 2007.  The self-help desk is operated by Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association, and the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.  Self-represented debtors and creditors are assisted one day a week.  Pro bono attorneys from the two bar associations hold weekly seminars and provide free legal information on bankruptcy.  Topics commonly covered include bankruptcy filing requirements, the difference between chapter 7 and chapter 13, and where to find a bankruptcy attorney.  The self-help desk also provides computers for debtors to view “Bankruptcy Basics” videos in addition to other videos regarding key principles of bankruptcy. 

         Reaffirmation Agreement Clinic
The San Fernando Valley Division judges also participate in the Reaffirmation Agreement program operated by Public Counsel (see Los Angeles Division for more details). 

         Non-Dischargeability Representation
Public Counsel locates pro bono attorneys for self-represented debtors in non-dischargeability adversary proceedings in the same manner as that done in Los Angeles.

         Chapter 7 Representation
Income qualified debtors may receive pro bono representation from Public Counsel where volunteer attorneys can be found as part of the same program serving the Los Angeles Division.