The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon is pleased to announce the creation of a new Pro Bono Program which will provide free representation to unrepresented parties who cannot afford to hire an attorney and are in need of legal assistance. The program was created with support from the Debtor-Creditor section of the Oregon State Bar and will be administered by the Bankruptcy Court.
Qualifying debtors and nondebtors in active cases may apply for assistance with specific matters through this program. Applications will be screened by the judge assigned to the case to ensure that the applicant has shown an inability to afford an attorney and a legal need. Once an application is approved, a volunteer attorney will be matched with the applicant to provide limited representation for specific purposes. Examples of assignments may include attending a settlement conference, assisting with service, participating in mediation, or filing a complaint in an adversary proceeding.
Attorneys who become Pro Bono Panel members can gain valuable experience while also providing services to parties in need of legal representation. Participation in the Pro Bono Panel is entirely voluntary. Volunteers may specify both the type of issues that they have an interest in being assigned and how many cases they would accept annually. Panel members will never be required to accept representation in a particular matter, may decline representation because of a conflict of interest or for other reasons, and will have the opportunity to communicate with the unrepresented party prior to acceptance of representation.
Unrepresented parties in need of assistance should visit the Pro Bono Program page on the court’s website for more information. Attorneys interested in volunteering for the Pro Bono Panel should visit the Pro Bono Service page on the court’s website. Local Forms related to the program can be found on the Pro Bono Forms page.