Fellow Massachusetts bankruptcy blogger Bill McLeod has shut down his blog. But its not for lack of interest or traffic, but because he has taken a job with the Bankruptcy court itself — as the court’s “pro se law clerk.”
What does a pro se law clerk do? There are only a few of them around the country, but basically their job is to make sense out of the papers and pleadings filed by pro se debtors — people who are filing without an attorney.
I don’t know this for sure, but my intuition is that Bill’s new job will entail reading a lot of lawsuits from people trying to get a hardship discharge for their student loans. This requires debtors to prove their own hardship circumstances by filing a lawsuit against the student loan lenders. They usually have no attorney, because if they had the money for an attorney, they wouldn’t be in hardship mode. So instead they end up having to learn the ins and outs of civil procedure on the fly — all while up against a savvy opponent such as Sallie Mae.
Attorney McLeod will undoubtedly spend much time trying to unravel their tangled pleadings, trying to get the judge to understand what they are trying to say. It won’t be an easy job — but he asked for it!
The pro se law clerk also puts together clinics around Massachusetts for people who are considering filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer. I’m not suggesting you do this — hey, I’m a lawyer! — but if you are bound and determined, attending one of these clinics should be worth the time.
By Doug Beaton