Bankruptcy Paralegal: Services, Job Description, and Training[dropcap]A[/dropcap] bankruptcy paralegal provides assistance to attorneys and interacts with clients who seek protection under the bankruptcy laws from debtors. Bankruptcy paralegal services can range from client intake to drafting pleadings. Most bankruptcy attorneys prefer hiring paralegals with a college degree.
Should the degree not be in paralegal studies, the law firm may request paralegal certification. A legal assistant may also be able to work their way up to the position of bankruptcy paralegal. Check with the law firm to see if this possibility for advancement exists.
What Exactly Does The Bankruptcy Paralegal Do?
A bankruptcy paralegal is generally responsible for the initial client meeting. At this meeting, the paralegal will listen to the needs of the client. After the meeting with the client, the paralegal will report to the attorney who will make a decision with respect to the appropriate bankruptcy filing. These are all things you learn in a good paralegal training program.
The paralegal will be responsible for filling out all legal and court forms to file a bankruptcy case. This will include such things as bankruptcy petitions, exhibits and schedules. The paralegal may or may not use software specifically designed for this task. A paralegal must have an in-depth understanding of the bankruptcy laws and bankruptcy court proceedings.
Collection of Documents
Clients may need help and guidance in order to collect the financial information needed to complete their bankruptcy filing. The paralegal will be the point of contact for the client and collecting this documentation. It is necessary for the paralegal to maintain an excellent working relationship with any bankruptcy client through this difficult task.
The paralegal will also be responsible for any communication with creditors. This is to notify creditors that a bankruptcy proceeding has been initiated and to direct all contact with regard to the client to the paralegal.
From time to time, more in-depth research is required based on the circumstances surrounding the filing. The paralegal may find themselves researching whether or not a debt can be discharged, respond to client’s questions or research for arguments in adversary proceedings.
While the court automatically schedules a mandatory meeting of creditors to be attended by the attorney and client, the paralegal will be responsible for scheduling other hearings and client meetings. As part of this calendaring function, the paralegal may need to move calendar items for the attorney so that they may attend the meeting of creditors.
Tasking for paralegals often includes the initial drafting of pleadings for the attorney. In a bankruptcy practice, the paralegal must understand the laws that apply and cases highlighting those laws.