NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project

NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project

When low-income New Yorkers face financial crises, the implications are huge: a wage garnishment can send a worker back to dependency on public benefits—or back to homelessness; an illness or job loss can mean eviction or home foreclosure. Because the stakes are so much higher for the poorest debtors, the drafters of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform legislation included provisions to limit that Act’s impact on these debtors. The NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project ("NYC BAP") aims to fulfill that goal by making sure that struggling low-income debtors can get the bankruptcy relief they need. NYC BAP can be reached via helpline at 646-442-3630. 

CLICK HERE to view the NYC BAP one pager (pdf)

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BAP Coordinator Bill Kransdorf








What we do:

The New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project (“NYC BAP”) at Legal Services NYC provides free bankruptcy assistance to low-income residents of New York City who are considering bankruptcy. We assist people through weekly “bankruptcy workshops,” in which debtors meet with attorneys to learn about, and be assessed for bankruptcy. Where appropriate, we assist debtors in preparing and filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions. In addition, NYC BAP finds pro bono (volunteer) attorneys for pro se (self-represented) debtors in the bankruptcy courts.

Who we help:

The New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project (NYC BAP) provides free pro bono assistance to low-income (200% of poverty and below) residents of New York City.

Types of assistance:

The Bankruptcy Workshop: Individuals who have not yet filed for bankruptcy and who appear to be good candidates for Chapter 7 may be scheduled for a "Bankruptcy Workshop." This consists of a general informational presentation to a group of potential debtors, followed by 1-on-1 meetings between attorneys and filers. The attorney determines debtors’ appropriateness for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and gives them advice. Depending on this assessment, the attorney then either advises the client and closes the matter or prepares a bankruptcy petition for the debtor to file pro se. The attorney also advises the debtor on how to represent themselves in meeting and contracts with creditors.

Limitations on Assistance: Our attorneys do not sign on as counsel of record for the bankruptcy petitions they prepare. If problems arise after the filing of the petition, the debtor may contact NYC BAP for further assistance, which will be provided whenever possible.

For people we determine to be permanently judgment-proof (they have nothing a creditor can take) our assistance will usually be limited to brief advice, and a sample "Do Not Call" letter.

People who need to file Chapter 13 will be referred out.

Information for referrals: Clients referred to NYC BAP should be New York City residents, with gross household income of no more than 200% of the Federal Poverty level ($1,702 for a family of one; $3,442 for a family of 4). To make a referral, give the client our helpline number: 646-442-3630. For more information about NYC BAP, email:

Where we are: The Project is housed at Legal Services NYC's central office at 40 Worth Street, Suite 606, in Manhattan. We serve all five boroughs. Our staff is Spanish bilingual, and we have resources for other languages, as well as sign language. We are wheelchair accessible. Intake is by telephone, via our helpline: 646-442-3630.

How you can help: Attorneys who participate in the NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project will play a crucial role in making the bankruptcy system work. Volunteers not only gain valuable advocacy experience that fulfills firm pro bono requirements, they have a rewarding experience with clients who will truly benefit from their efforts. It is good work that makes good lawyers. Join Us!

How we have helped people:
140 petitions have been completed – almost all have been success, helping over 1,400 debtors. More than $4,703,000 of debt has been discharged thus far.

The New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project was a 2007 Finalist for a Forbes Enterprise Award.


Answers to Common Bankruptcy Questions (PDF)

Respuestas a las preguntas más comunes sobre la quiebra (PDF)

12 Myths About Bankruptcy (outside link) 

In an interview with WBAI's “You and Your Money,” Bill Kransdorf, Coordinator of the NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project, answers some basic questions about who can file bankruptcy, when bankruptcy is a good idea, and how bankruptcy works. Listen to the interview by clicking here.

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Edward M. Flint Educational Fund

 Legal Services NYC would like to thank the firm of Silverman Acampora LLP for generously endowing our New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project (NYC BAP) with the Edward M. Flint Educational Fund. Ed Flint was a partner at Silverman Acampora LLP, and passed away in February 2014 at age 65.Read More...




The NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project also wishes to thank the following organizations for their material support for our program:














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NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project Steering Committee:

Ira L. Herman, Chair
Thompson & Knight LLP

Arthur J. Gonzalez
NYU Law School

Thomas R. Califano
DLA Piper

Jeffrey L. Cohen
Cooley LLP

Kathryn Coleman
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Jill Frizzley
Shearman & Sterling, LLP

Scott Greissman
White & Case LLP

Kristopher M. Hansen
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

David Hillman
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLC

Marc Kieselstein
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Robert LeHane
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Richard B. Levin
Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP

Alan J. Lipkin
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Stephanie W. Mai
Bingham McCutchen

Ben Rosenblum
Jones Day

Lisa M. Schweitzer
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Glenn Siegel
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Steven Smith
Dickstein Shapiro LLP

Fred Stevens
Klestadt & Winters, LLP

Steve Wilamowsky
Bingham McCutchen









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Firms Participating in the Bankruptcy Assistance Project


Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Arent Fox LLP

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Bingham McCutchen LLP

Brown Rudnick LLP

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

CBIZ, Inc.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, PA

Cooley LLP

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP  

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Dechert LLP  

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

EisnerAmper LLP  

Farrell Fritz, PC  

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Fox Rothschild LLP

GA Keen Realty Advisors

Goldin Associates, Inc.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Jones Day

Kaye Scholer LLP  

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

King & Spalding LLP

Kirkpatrick & Ellis LLP

Klestadt & Winters LLP

Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP

Millstein & Co.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Neiger LLP

Nixon Peabody LLP

O'Melveny & Myers LLP  

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP 

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Proskauer Rose, LLP  

Ropes & Gray LLP

Rothschild Inc.

Schulte Roth & Zabel, LLP

Scouler & Company

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Silverman Acampora LLP  

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Thompson & Knight LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP  

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

White & Case LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP

Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP