Campbell Law’s Bankruptcy Clinic Helps Clients In Need While Developing the Practitioners Of Tomorrow

By Ciara L. Rogers

The Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic, a clinical program provided by Campbell University’s Norman A. Wiggins School of Law, began in the fall of 2014. The clinic was created to assist low-income individuals who would otherwise not have access to legal representation during the bankruptcy process. In the nine semesters that it has been in operation, the clinic has filed thirty-seven bankruptcy cases, including chapter 7 and 13 cases, and even a chapter 11 case. Additionally, the clinic has represented one creditor in an adversary proceeding and provided an additional twenty-five people with legal advice about the bankruptcy process and referrals to bankruptcy practitioners. In some instances, the demand for the clinic’s services exceeds its ability to provide services.

            In my year as the director of the clinic, I have been thoroughly impressed by the caliber of the participating students. Students participate in the clinic for one semester. Their clinical experience includes practical skills, including drafting letters and pleadings, client counseling, using various bankruptcy-related software, learning to calendar deadlines, and preparing for hearings. In addition to those practical skills, the students also receive training on the functions of the clerk’s office and judges’ chambers, attend networking events with bankruptcy practitioners, and practice file management. During that semester, they are assigned cases and, under my supervision and certification as a student practitioner, manage each case from initial client contact to petition filing and attending Section 341 meetings.

            As with any other client, the amount the student can accomplish is determined by how quickly they are able to meet with their client and gather the required information needed to prepare a petition or pleading. The clinic gives students practical and experiential learning opportunities to live out Campbell Law’s vision — to use the practice of law in order to create a more just and merciful society. Specifically, students are given an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of the citizens of the Eastern District of North Carolina. It is not uncommon for clinic clients to hug and thank profusely the students whom have worked on their cases; the students will remember those moments for years to come.

While the clinic has done great work in the few years of its existence, the hope is to do more, and that’s how you can help! In the coming months, I am hoping to create partnerships with practicing lawyers — debtors’ and creditors’ counsel — to give students opportunities to observe client meetings, petition signings, mediations, and other aspects of your practice. If you are interested in allowing a student to observe you or have a referral for the clinic, then please give me a call at (919) 865-4484 or send me an email at crogers@campbell.edu. I’d love to chat with you!

Ciara L. Rogers is an attorney at the Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek PLLC with a practice focused on debtors’ and creditors’ rights, Chapter 11 bankruptcies, bankruptcy trustee representation, litigation, and employment law.  Ciara also serves as the director of the Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic at Campbell University Norman A. Wiggins School of Law.