When people consider a career as a paralegal, they often overlook niche areas and roles such as bankruptcy paralegal or bankruptcy petition preparer. These jobs are very important to the judicial system, as the bankruptcy department stays very busy. In fact, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, annual bankruptcy filings were 772,646 as of March 2019.
In order to fully prepare bankruptcy documents, they work closely with the attorney, and speak to the clients to provide accurate information in the petition. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of work, they must be detailed and precise. They work directly with the attorney to ensure there are no problems on either side that could negatively impact the client.
Bankruptcy Paralegal Job Description
Bankruptcy paralegal duties include the preparation and management of bankruptcy cases. They are supervised by a paralegal attorney, and are the ones who operate as the bankruptcy petition preparer, obtaining information needed to file, in addition to all the associated forms. Other duties of a bankruptcy paralegal duties include:
- Maintaining the schedules of court hearings and the attorney
- Maintaining open communication with clients
- Preparing clients for the Chapter 7 meeting
- Monitoring Chapter 13 payment plans and drafting plans of reorganization
- Working as a liaison to avoid garnishments, foreclosures, repossessions, liens or utility suspensions
In essence, bankruptcy paralegal services go beyond a standard job description, but adapt to what is needed at the time. There are numerous bankruptcy paralegal jobs on the market, and they are always in demand. To become a bankruptcy paralegal, an associate’s degree in paralegal studies is required. For more in-depth experience and education, a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is needed. There are also approved programs by the American Bar Association which may open up opportunities for internships. It is recommended by paralegal professional associations to have the equivalent hours of an associate’s degree, as well as a six-month internship. Having a four-year degree can help position someone focused on bankruptcy paralegal studies for a lucrative career. Attorneys appreciate the standard of professionalism and dedication that comes from a paralegal who takes the time to invest in themselves.
Bankruptcy Paralegal Salary
According to Payscale, the bankruptcy paralegal salary on average is $47,999. This salary fluctuates depending on the area and experience of the paralegal. Bankruptcy paralegals with extensive experience can expect to generally make more money. Some paralegals work for an agency specializing in bankruptcy paralegal services. This allows them to move around in different bankruptcy paralegal jobs and learn the judicial system. This is also a good way to showcase their abilities, which could lead to a permanent position at a law firm.
Bankruptcy paralegal jobs vary according to how they are needed. Paralegals are qualified to work for a number of attorneys at one time and must be able to handle a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Being in a fast-paced position like this one can be challenging, but rewarding. Taking the time to get the credentials and experience while assisting clients and attorneys is one of the most important aspects of this role. Paralegals are crucial to the legal system, as they work behind the scenes making sure everything is in order and moving seamlessly from one phase of the process to the other.
You will find bankruptcy paralegal jobs in corporations, lending institutions, public agencies and attorneys offices. They become familiar with the process on all sides as it relates to creditors, debtors, trustees and committees. One of the great things about being a paralegal is that they can offer their services as an independent paralegal, working on their own time.
For more information, individuals interested in becoming a bankruptcy paralegal should do some research and speak to someone in the profession. This will give an in-depth overview of what they can expect prior to making their decision.