Pro Se Filings
Over the last five years, the growth of pro se bankruptcy filings has outpaced the rate of growth of overall bankruptcy filings, increasing most rapidly in the western part of the United States, according to an Administrative Office analysis. Pro se legal representation refers to a person representing himself or herself without legal counsel in a court proceeding.
The Eastern District of California, which encompasses the counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba, 8,877 out of a total of 53,888 filings were pro se. This represents 16.5% of the total filings for the year ending June 30, 2011. 
Why is this significant? In 2005, Congress passed a “bankruptcy reform” act entitled Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). BAPCPA affected many areas of the bankruptcy system, including rules, forms, fees, and court procedures. Individuals filing for bankruptcy faced a series of additional requirements imposed by BAPCPA, including the completion of credit counseling and means testing to determine eligibility to file for chapter 7. These new requirements, combined with the pro se litigant’s unfamiliarity with general court procedure, made it more challenging to negotiate a complicated system.
Even with the more challenging system, pro se filings have increased significantly over the last few years. What this indicates is a lack of quality, affordable and respectable bankruptcy attorneys to meet the increased demand.
If you are interested in speaking with an affordable bankruptcy attorney that will provide you with professional and personalized service, call Christopher C. Phillips at Phillips Law for a free consultation.