Through a press release on www.pr.com, Outsourced Paralegal Services has asserted a “Link Between Chapter 7 & 13 Bankruptcy Filings and Medical Bills:”
Outsourced Paralegal Services, LLC a company specializing in providing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy petition preparation and other relevant support services to attorneys has identified a direct correlation between chronic illness and medical bills, and filings for Chapter 7 & 13 bankruptcies throughout the Unites States.
According to Outsourced Paralegal Services President and Bankruptcy Paralegal, Patrick Campbell, “Our firm has prepared several hundred bankruptcy petitions for attorneys in the past year. I can corroborate the unsettling fact that approximately 65% of the consumer bankruptcy petitions that have come across my desk this year are for people who have, or who are still dealing with a chronic illness with medical bills in the thousands, and in some cases the tens of thousands of dollars. This is no longer simply something I read in the newspaper or watch on CNN. I have seen it in black and white first hand.”
This is interesting for several reasons. One is that it provides a starting point for a type of paralegal that has not previously been discussed on this blog – the paralegal who works as an independent contractor for a variety of attorneys. These paralegals are neither employees of special law offices in the traditional sense and the sense most discussed here. Nor are they “independent”paralegals in the sense of working directly with the public without attorney supervision as discussion several posts in the category “‘Independent’ Paralegals.”
It is possible outsourced paralegals may provide a way balancing the competing interest of increasing access to the legal system by the public and providing protection for the public against the harms that arise from UPL. According to the press release, “Outsourced Paralegal Services provides law firms with the opportunity to outsource their workload to a senior level bankruptcy paralegal at half the cost of hiring a full time paralegal on staff.” The question, of course, in terms of providing greater public access to the legal system is whether the sole benefit of this is “conserving resources within a law firm” without that consevation of resources being passed on to the public thus making access more affordable.
Another interesting aspect is the way, not totally altruistic to be sure, that these particular paralegals used their expertise to contribute some hard data and some research to a public debate. There is a tremendous amount of talent and expertise with the paralegal profession. Bringing that talent and expertise to bear on matters of public interest, if done properly, can help improve the public’s perception of paralegals as professionals.