Checklist Before You File

In order to represent a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy client, the attorney must be admitted to the federal bar and must have received the proper ECF (Electronic Filing) training. The instructions are listed below.

Instructions for the application for admission to the federal bar

1. The following materials must be submitted:

a. Application (Typed or Printed) - Answer all questions completely including your permanent six digit Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers identification number and your exact date of admission to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Applications without this information will be returned as incomplete.
b. SJC Certificate - An official Certificate of Good Standing from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (617-557-1050), dated within 90 (ninety) days of application submission, attesting to your membership in the Massachusetts Bar must be filed with your application. Applications without such a certificate will be returned as incomplete.

2. Deliver or mail the application to:

Tracy McLaughlin
Bar Liaison - Suite 2-300
United States District Court
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way
Boston, MA 02210

3. The admissions ceremonies are held monthly in Boston with the specific date posted on our website. Ceremonies are conducted in May and November in Springfield and in April and October in Worcester. Please denote your preference of location where indicated on the application.

Effective June 1, 2004, the admission fee is $200.00 payable by personal or law firm check made payable to "Clerk - U.S.D.C. - MA". Please bring this check with you to the ceremony. Do not mail the check to the office.

4. By submitting the Application for Admission you are also agreeing to participate in the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) program for the District of Massachusetts. You will receive your ECF login and password by e-mail from "Cmecf Registrar" after you have been formally admitted and your record has been added to the CM/ECF system. This may take approximately two (2) weeks. You do not need to submit a separate registration for Electronic Case Filing.

5. Applicants will be notified of the date, time and place of the admission ceremony via e-mail approximately two (2) weeks prior to the scheduled admission date. If you have any questions call 617-748-9165 or e-mail

ECF Training

If you are already admitted to the federal court and have not registered for an ECF training, you must do so before filing your bankruptcy. To register for a training, visit this link. The ECF certificate form must be submitted along with the training registration.

Once you have completed the training, you will receive an ECF login username and password. It will be your BBO number with an "aty" at the end. Please note, a Pacer login account is not the same as an ECF login account.


1. The referral coordinator will provide you with the case file.

2. Call the client within a day of receiving the referral to arrange an intake at the VLP office or at your firm's office. This intake should occur within a week of the referral.

3. Ask that the client bring the following documents or information to the intake meeting.

a. Social security card and driver's license

b. Proof of income for the past 3 years (pay stubs, benefits or Social Security payment information.)

c. Copy of 1040 tax returns for the past 3 years.

d. Three credit reports, one from each of the following companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

e. Deed, mortgage or lease information, and the addresses of prior residences.

f. Checking and/or savings account information, as well as account information for any other financial assets.

i. If the client owns a home, they should be advised to obtain a Homestead from th the registry of deeds in their county.

g. Information regarding any accounts closed in the past year.

h. Car loan agreement(s) and information regarding any other secured debts.

i. Current statements for all credit cards and other debts.

j. Notices of delinquent bills. Medical and utility bills are especially important because they do not appear on the credit report.

k. Legal documents received from courts or attorneys.

l. Credit management course certificate of completion.

m. Any court notices indicating pending lawsuits or past judgments (civil, criminal or administrative.)

n. Any documents indicating payments to creditors within the past 3 months.

o. Property settlement agreements or divorce judgments.

p. List of monthly expenses.

q. Detailed list of all personal property owned.

r. Student loan documents.

s. Any letter that a doctor may have sent about a medical condition that affects your ability to work.

t. PACER report indicating whether the client has filed for bankruptcy before.

u. Insurance information (home, auto, health, life).

v. Executory contracts.

5. Draft bankruptcy petition on Best Case Bankruptcy program (available in the office.)

6. Complete Application for Waiver of Filing Fee.

7. File petition through Best Case.

8. Advise client to complete debt management course before the 341 meeting.

9. Double check Schedules and make sure every creditor is listed.

  • Attachment(s): HTM
  • Organization: VLP
  • Date Created: April 25, 2011
  • Bankruptcy