Pro Bono Bankruptcy Lawyers Exclusively Help Neediest in Massachusetts

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Despite reports of the improving economy, pro bono bankruptcy lawyers at the Massachusetts Debt Relief Foundation have expanded their offices to meet the growing demand by jobless who need to file bankruptcy, but cannot afford a lawyer. Now with five offices, including a newly expanded office in Worcester, the lawyers can help more low income residents obtain a fresh financial start.

"We help people who are in a 100 foot financial hole with a 50 foot ladder get out of debt by filing bankruptcy at no cost to them so they can get a fresh start."

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Despite reports of the economy improving, pro bono bankruptcy lawyers at the Massachusetts Debt Relief Foundation, (DRF), the State's first and only pro bono firm dedicated exclusively to representing Massachusetts residents in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filings, have expanded their offices. They now have five offices to meet the growing demand by those in dire straits who need a fresh financial start. With offices in Boston, Natick, Salem, Springfield, and a newly expanded office in Worcester, the pro bono lawyers have extended their reach to help low income residents statewide. Although all Massachusetts bankruptcy filings fell from 12,562 in 2013 to 10,394 in 2014 as reported by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, the pro bono filings by the DRFcontinue to rise as more low income residents know that there is a place to turn if they cannot afford a lawyer to file bankruptcy.

James [last name withheld] had a job and was “making ends meet.” But heart by-pass surgery in 2008 left him with medical and credit card debt of more than $70,000. There was no way he could pay that kind of debt. He needed to declare bankruptcy, but had no job, and couldn’t afford the $1,500 to $2,000 most lawyers charge to file. However with a new program founded by Attorney Richard S. Ravosa of the Massachusetts Debt Relief Foundation, James has obtained much needed debt relief and has volunteered at a local charity to pay it forward. Many of the foundation's clients find them online and apply for the pro bono program online.

“It’s something we see too often,” says Attorney Ravosa. “Through no fault of their own, people find themselves overwhelmed with debt. It not only affects them financially, but emotionally and even physically. We’ve found a way to not only help them, but others in the process. We’ve became so busy that we sought and obtained 501(c)(3) approval from the IRS and have obtained permission from the Massachusetts Attorney General to solicit donations so that we can continue to provide this much needed service across the Commonwealth while the economy continues to struggle with so many people unable to find work.”

In 2011, the (DRF) began providing pro bono chapter 7 bankruptcy representation to members of the underserved low-income community. DRF has since helped free of charge, 76 individuals discharge their debts, so that they can be financially productive and enjoy a renewed sense of self-worth. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for those who are unduly burdened with excessive debt, often due to catastrophic injuries, illness, job loss, or loss of financial support from divorce or death, by providing compassionate and effective pro bono legal representation to eliminate debt and restore peace of mind.

DRF's pro bono lawyers help qualifying Massachusetts residents file for bankruptcy and complete credit counseling and financial management courses to help them manage their finances going forward. DRF's offices are strategically located minutes away from all three bankruptcy courts in Massachusetts, and are staffed with experienced bankruptcy attorneys and staff who speak Spanish and Portuguese and are ready to help those in need overcome debt with dignity.

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Richard Ravosa
@helpfulattorney
since: 07/2010
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