The Eleanor R. Cristol and Judge A. Jay Cristol Bankruptcy Pro Bono Assistance Clinic at Miami Law offers pro bono legal services to low-income individuals who are dealing with bankruptcy.
Since 1995, the University of Miami School of Law’s bankruptcy clinic has given current Hurricane law students the opportunity to deliver life-changing pro bono legal services to indigent clients throughout South Florida.
Bankruptcy attorney Patricia “Trish” Redmond founded the clinic at the school where she still serves as an adjunct professor. A 2019 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Award Winner and shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller, Redmond devotes between 200-400 hours every year to her pro bono work, which benefits thousands of underprivileged and low-income individuals, children, and families.
Bankruptcy cases are far from easy. A simple Chapter 7 can last up to six months while a more complex Chapter 13 can take up to five years, which makes the case Redmond and her team just completed all the more shocking.
“This case came to the clinic around 2010,” Redmond said. “Thirteen years’ worth of law students worked on this case.”
As Redmond explained, the debtor, a construction worker on dialysis, had lost his home in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The only thing he had left was a little rental house in Homestead that his father had left him.
“At the time we got it appraised it was worth $57,000,” Redmond said. “It was a bad neighborhood in Homestead. They had about a $250k mortgage on it. We were trying to save it.”
Redmond said her team of law students went through several strategies but ultimately decided to initiate a Chapter 13 case; the only problem was it had a massive balloon payment tagged to the end of the mortgage.
“We were hoping at the end that the debtor would