Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney (Pro Se)
Corporations and partnerships must have an attorney to file a bankruptcy case. Individuals, however, may represent themselves in bankruptcy court. While individuals can file a bankruptcy case without an attorney or "pro se," it is extremely difficult to do it successfully.
Rules for the Middle District of Louisiana
It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly. The rules are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor's rights. All parties must comply with the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Bankruptcy Code Federal (National) Rules, as well as this court's Local Rules. For example, a debtor whose case is dismissed for failure to file a required document, such as a credit counseling certificate, may lose the right to file another case or lose protections in a later case, including the benefit of the automatic stay. Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences - hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.
Pro Se Manual
While the information presented in this document is accurate as of the date of publication,
it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It should not be used
as a substitute for reference to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United
States Code) and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, both of which may be
reviewed at local law libraries, or to local rules of practice adopted by each
bankruptcy court. Finally, this document should not substitute for the advice of
competent legal counsel.
Legal Aid and Attorney Referral Services
The staff of the bankruptcy court cannot give legal advice. However, there are
organizations that can provide assistance for debtors in the locating of an attorney:
Baton Rouge Bar Association - (225) 344-4803
Capital Area Legal Services - (225) 338-5260
Lawyer Referral Service of Louisiana State Bar Association - (225) 344-4303
Credit Counseling Before You File
Bankruptcy law requires that you complete credit counseling within 180 days before you file a bankruptcy petition. Also, Exhibit D, Individual Debtor's Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling Requirement, must be filed with the bankruptcy petition. The Office of the United States Trustee has a list of approved credit counseling agencies.
More Resources to Assist Pro Se Filers
The Bankruptcy Judges Advisory Group has developed a new Web site for potential pro se bankruptcy filers. It can be accessed via the Federal Judiciary's national Web site at: http://www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts/prose.html