Community Legal Aid receives grant for bankrupty by-pass clinic
This is a photo from the first bankruptcy by-pass clinic held March 28. Pictured with a client (who wishes to remain anonymous) is Amanda Smith, a law student at The University of Akron School of Law, and Attorney Peter G. Tsarnas of Goldman & Rosen. Both Smith and Tsarnas are volunteers for Legal Aid. (Photo courtesy of Community Legal Aid Services).
Published: May 20, 2013
AKRON––Community Legal Aid recently received a $5,000 grant from the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio’s Attorney Admissions Fund for “Peace of Mind,” a bankruptcy by-pass program.
The by-pass program, launched in 2013, helps uncollectible low-income people communicate their financial status to their creditors and demand an end to collection efforts as permitted under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Many low-income people who are subject to unrelenting collection efforts by debt collectors file for bankruptcy even though their income and assets are low enough to be protected by Ohio law. They choose to file bankruptcy even though it is not necessary to protect their income or assets because they want to stop the constant harassment of collectors.
Eligible clients, prescreened by the Community Legal Aid HelpLine staff, come to the clinic for a class, consultation and help communicating with collection agencies.
The clinic is staffed by Community Legal Aid’s Volunteer Legal Services Program and its volunteer attorneys. Law students from The University of Akron School of Law also assist with the clinic.
“A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can only be filed once every eight years, so it is important not to file unless absolutely necessary,” says Sara E. Strattan, Community Legal Aid executive director.
“This clinic truly gives clients peace of mind,” she says. “We are grateful to the Attorney Admissions Fund of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio for choosing to fund this unique and important program.”
Low-income individuals and seniors with a legal problem who live in Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties should call the Community Legal Aid Services HelpLine at 1.800.998.9454 or visit www.CommunityLegalAid.org