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Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project

Our students work with individuals facing significant debt from the loss of job, medical costs, or the actions of an abusive ex-spouse, assisting the low-income clients in the compilation of their initial Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork.
Students working together as part of the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project.

How the Program Works

  1. Attorney Susan Conn '79, trains and supervises students participating in the project.
  2. We partner with the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, which utilizes the students' drafts to recruit pro bono attorneys.
  3. The pro bono attorneys then represent the clients in bankruptcy court.
The project has assisted over seventeen clients in the bankruptcy process. Funded by Colgate University and a grant from the New York Bar Foundation, the program teaches students about bankruptcy policy, credit, and debt through workshops, readings, and hands-on experience, while simultaneously building the capacity of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York to handle consumer bankruptcy cases.

Student Applications

Students may apply to take participate in the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project each semester.

Applications for the program for current Colgate students is available here. The application deadline for the spring 2014 semester is Monday, January 27.

Also of Interest

Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project Attorney Susan Conn, '79, also teaches SOSC 405: Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children. The course introduces students to the Social Security system, discusses the barriers that low-income and disabled families face in accessing social services, and addresses the following legal topics: legal analysis, legal ethics, Social Security disability law, and legal writing. At the end of the course, students prepare a policy/research paper addressing selected topics on current issues in social service provision.

In addition to this coursework, students are also expected to engage in a practicum experience. The practicum involves assisting Ms. Conn in her pro bono work of helping low-income children and their mothers in securing SSI benefits and involves: interviewing disabled adults and children, reading medical files, drafting a persuasive legal argument to the administrative law judge, preparing clients for hearings, and attending administrative hearings.

Contact Us

For questions, please contact Julie Dudrick at jdudrick@colgate.edu or project attorney Susan Conn '79 at sconn@colgate.edu.