When You Can’t Afford to Go Bankrupt


There’s ample evidence many people don’t file for bankruptcy simply because they can’t pay an attorney. It’s a fixable problem.
News Story (NATIONAL)

Paul Kiel
ProPublica
March 2, 2018
READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Tags: Bankruptcy, Technology

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Aid (Central Northeast Ohio), Upsolve


DETAILS

Compared with these complicated maneuvers, another solution to the problem of attorney fees seems blessedly simple: Make legal help with bankruptcies free. But civil legal aid organizations, which are the main source of this kind of assistance, are also financially strapped.

“We don’t have enough resources to provide bankruptcy services in all of our counties,” said Steven McGarrity, executive director of Community Legal Aid, which serves clients in central northeast Ohio.

This year, his group, along with legal-services organizations in 11 other states, will begin using a new tool called Upsolve to help more poor debtors file. Developed by a nonprofit in New York, Upsolve is a kind of TurboTax for bankruptcy, walking debtors through the process of gathering the necessary documentation and asking questions in plain language. The software populates the small stack of forms necessary to file, and then a lawyer reviews them. Cases are filed pro se, but if complications arise, the debtor can get help from the lawyer.