Our students work with individuals facing significant debt from the loss of job, medical costs, or the actions of an abusive ex-spouse, assisting the low-income clients in the compilation of their initial Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork.
How the Program Works
- Attorney Susan Conn '79, trains and supervises students participating in the project.
- We partner with the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, which utilizes the students' drafts to recruit pro bono attorneys.
- The pro bono attorneys then represent the clients in bankruptcy court.
The project, which has assisted over thirty clients in the bankruptcy process, teaches students about bankruptcy policy, credit, and debt through workshops, readings, and hands-on experience, while simultaneously building the capacity of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York to handle consumer bankruptcy cases.
Students may apply to participate in the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project each semester. Applications for the Fall 2020 semester are due to the Upstate Institute by September 11, 2020. Please note that all trainings for this program will take place remotely this semster.
Also of Interest
Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project Attorney Susan Conn, '79, also teaches SOSC 405: Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children. The course introduces students to the Social Security system, discusses the barriers that low-income and disabled families face in accessing social services, and addresses the following legal topics: legal analysis, legal ethics, Social Security disability law, and legal writing. At the end of the course, students prepare a policy/research paper addressing selected topics on current issues in social service provision.
In addition to this coursework, students are also expected to engage in a practicum experience. The practicum involves assisting Ms. Conn in her pro bono work of helping low-income children and their mothers in securing SSI benefits and involves: interviewing disabled adults and children, reading medical files, drafting a persuasive legal argument to the administrative law judge, preparing clients for hearings, and attending administrative hearings. This course will next be offered in Spring 2021.