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How Can I Find a Free Bankruptcy Lawyer in New York City?

3 minute read Upsolve is a nonprofit tool that helps you file bankruptcy for free. Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we'll never ask you for a credit card. Explore our free tool

In a Nutshell

If you're looking for an affordable bankruptcy lawyer, look no further. Upsolve is a nonprofit that helps low-income Americans get the fresh start they need through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We'll also help you look at other resources for affordable bankruptcy lawyers.

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated April 10, 2023

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. And each year, legal aid nonprofits across the U.S. help low-income Americans who can't afford to file for bankruptcy get through the process. Unfortunately, many Americans don't know there are legal aid organizations out there to help them.

Some locations don't have a lot of legal aid nonprofits around to help, particularly rural areas. New York City is one exception. Given the emphasis that the New York state government has put on access to justice, combined with New York’s high concentration of philanthropic foundations, charitable law firms, and wealthy individual donors, New York City has several legal aid nonprofits that help low-income New Yorkers file for bankruptcy. Some of these organizations have a long history, while others are new to the game.

This article is meant for New Yorkers in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island who are looking for a free lawyer to help them through the bankruptcy process. Here are the free legal aid nonprofits available to low-income New Yorkers across the whole city.

Upsolve Website:

MFY Legal Services Website: Phone: (212) 417-3700

New York Legal Services Website: Phone: (646) 442-3630

City Bar Justice Center Website: Phone: (212) 626-7383

If You’re in a Union

If you’re part of a worker’s union, one of your benefits may be free legal assistance from a local law firm. Larger unions, such as DC 37, which is New York City’s largest municipal public employee union, have in-house legal teams that may be able to help you file for bankruptcy as well. Call your local union office or go on your local union website to learn more about these programs.

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AdeYemi Azeez
Ade Yemi Azeez
★★★★★ 7 hours ago
I'm incredibly thankful for Upsolve's help during my Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Their user-friendly platform and step-by-step guidance made the process manageable. The team's prompt and compassionate support were invaluable, addressing all my questions and easing my anxieties. Upsolve doesn't just offer a service; they provide understanding and empowerment through educational resources. I highly recommend Upsolve to anyone navigating Chapter 7 – they were my guiding light during a challenging time!
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Lee Powers
Lee Powers
★★★★★ 1 day ago
The last thing that you want to do, when you can’t pay those ridiculous credit cards, is to pay an attorney$$$$ to help to not pay those cards. This is where this organization comes in. If you look up all the paperwork that goes into filing a Bankruptcy Case it will blow your mind! Questions quickly come up like …What do I need / What don’t I need. So because my Brother had just filed $2000 with an attorney. He discovered after about this Upsolve organization, and let me say… it is a very good thing. You answer a bunch of questions it takes a while and then after they have there team Kind LAWYERS look at it couple weeks, you print out and sign and file it, I mailed it into the Court. It is important to follow their checklist, which includes the credit counseling, that all Courts Require. Thank you 🙏 Upsolve Team
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Connor Norris
★★★★★ 2 days ago
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Unless you know you make above the median income, it's a good idea to reach out to the legal aid organizations to check if you qualify. Many New Yorkers assume they make too much money to qualify without checking with their local legal aid nonprofits, a mistake that could cost them down the line.

You also may qualify for help from some organizations and not qualify for help from others. For instance, some organizations permit clients to earn more if they're a senior, veteran, or victim of domestic abuse. Some legal aid organizations have waiting lists, while others do not.

Each legal aid nonprofit has a different way of serving clients. Most of the organizations provide what’s called “unbundled legal assistance.” This means that you will work with an attorney to review the bankruptcy forms that you file with the bankruptcy court, but you will file your bankruptcy on your own or “pro se.” This form of assistance is called “unbundled” because the document review that the attorney provides is separate (unbundled) from the attorney showing up with you in court.

Most legal aid organizations in New York City provide unbundled assistance because it enables them to help more people. They limit their time and energy to the most important part of the bankruptcy process, preparing and reviewing your bankruptcy forms, making sure that the forms are ready for court.

Preparing the actual forms is hard part. Delivering the forms to the bankruptcy court and showing up for your 341 meeting may be scary because you’re entering court without a lawyer at your side, but they don't require specialized legal knowledge. Indeed, 341 meetings generally last five to ten minutes, during which the bankruptcy trustee asks you basic questions about your finances.

The New York City Bankruptcy Courts

Manhattan and the Bronx are part of the Southern District of New York. The bankruptcy courthouse for the Southern District is located at One Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004. If you live in Manhattan or the Bronx, chances are that you’ll come here for your 341 meeting. Here is the website for the Southern District of New York:

Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are all part of the Eastern District of New York. The bankruptcy courthouse is located at 271-C Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201-1800. The court website is

The Eastern District of New York’s bankruptcy courthouse is special because it has a pro se clerk located in it. This clerk is hired by the court to provide information to anyone who needs it for free. If you want information about bankruptcy, you should not hesitate to reach out to the pro se law clerk.

It's important to know what the pro se law clerk, or any law clerk for that matter, can't help you do. Law clerks are not allowed to provide legal advice. You can't go to a law clerk with your bankruptcy forms and ask them to look over the forms to make sure they are okay. The law clerk that you submit your bankruptcy forms to can tell you if you have all the paperwork required for a bankruptcy. Remember that the clerks are neutral. They are neither on your side nor the side of your creditors.

If you walk into a courthouse and have trouble finding the location of the clerk’s office or your 341 meeting, you should ask the security officers at the door of the court. They interact with anxious people everyday and are used to dealing with individuals who are under stress.

Written By:

Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad


Kristin is a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Public Welfare Foundation A2J Tech Fellowship. At Harvard Law, she served as a member of the Harvard Defenders, the Women’s Law Association, and the Harvard Law Negotiation Review. She was the 2016 – 2017 president of the Harvard Bla... read more about Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can't access their basic rights when they can't afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we're fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.