Summer Associate Program: Pro Bono Bankruptcy

The Volunteer Legal Services Project is a pro bono project that partners with volunteer attorneys to expand access to justice for low-income residents in central northeast Ohio. The summer associate on this project will assist with a pro bono bankruptcy program.


Student Goals:

  • Students will understand the basics of Chapter 7 bankruptcy law and basic lawyering skills involved in working with clients in the VLSP/CLAS setting.
  • Students will interview all Summit County (and perhaps other counties) clients requesting bankruptcy assistance (approximately 135 clients) and do public records research to complement the client’s intake interview.  Upon completion, the case is evaluated by the VLSP Attorney.
  • Students will draft client specific advice letters to provide clients with advice regarding their options.
  • Students will assist at the Peace of Mind Clinics (for clients who receive our uncollectable letters)
  • Students will prepare at least one bankruptcy petition. 
  • Students will attend at least one 341 bankruptcy hearing.
  • Students will attend and observe at least one call day at bankruptcy court.
  • Students will make contact with volunteer attorneys by assisting in the case placement process, assisting volunteers on an as-needed basis, and assisting in the preparation of the annual bankruptcy CLE that is co-sponsored with the Akron Bar Association.
  • Students will attend bar association meetings with the VLSP Managing Attorney.
  • Students will be invited to attend the annual bankruptcy CLE at the Akron Bar Association and may be invited to be a speaker at the CLE (providing a 5-minute overview of the work they do on the project for volunteer attorneys).


Specific Tasks:

  • Interviewing clients
  • Informal research (public documents)
  • Legal research
  • Drafting client letters
  • Meeting with clients
  • Document review
  • Case management
  • Bankruptcy petition preparation
  • Attend hearings, speak with private attorneys, attend bar association meetings and/or events
  • Draft pleadings, memos, etc.


Skills, Experience, & Interests:

  • Self-motivated and able to work on their own and in a team
  • Must be able to follow directions
  • Responsible and reliable, as they will be meeting with clients
  • Professional, as they will be meeting with clients and private attorneys
  • No prior bankruptcy, evidence, litigation or research and writing experience needed
  • Interest or background in poverty law and/or bankruptcy law helpful, but not required