Cooley hosts training for students in pro bono bankruptcy cases

WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus hosted a bankruptcy representation training for students on Sept. 23 in partnership with Access to Bankruptcy Court (ABC), a nonprofit corporation that provides bankruptcy representation to low-income debtors.

The training is the first step for law students participating in the ABC/WMU-Cooley Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project, which launched in 2012. Completion of the training allows students in the program to work with experienced attorneys in providing Chapter 7 bankruptcy representation to clients in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Formed by a group of Detroit-area bankruptcy professionals, ABC provides consumer bankruptcy attorneys a reduced flat fee to represent low-income debtors at no cost to the debtors.

“WMU-Cooley students are partnered with participating bankruptcy attorneys to help debtors in bankruptcy filings. The program is a great opportunity for law students to get real world experience working with clients, practice honing their presentation skills and networking with bankruptcy professionals, all while providing a much-needed service to low-income individuals,” said Lauren Rousseau, WMU-Cooley professor and ABC board member. Rousseau supervises the ABC/WMU Cooley Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project.

Once a student is paired with an attorney, ABC’s case referral committee reviews and refers a case to the student/attorney pair. The student prepares the case after meeting with the attorney and client, and may represent the client before the bankruptcy trustee while the attorney stands by to assist them.

“We are very grateful for ABC’s partnership with WMU-Cooley to support this program,” said Rousseau. “We consistently receive very positive feedback from both the attorneys and students participating in the program. The attorneys enjoy providing experience and education to the next generation of lawyers, and the students enjoy getting some real world practice experience and learning about bankruptcy law.”  

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