Advising and Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court

Event Start:
01/29/2024 4:00 PM
Event End:
01/29/2024 6:00 PM

Date & Time: Monday, January 29, 2024 from 4 PM to 6 PM ET
Webinar Fee: $65

This Program is Online Only


Joy Sun, Esq., Consumer Rights Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services

Sarah Perlman, Esq., Consumer Rights Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services

Choyce McIntosh, Pro Bono Coordinator, Community Legal Aid


At any given moment, over one million Massachusetts residents have a debt in collection. This webinar will cover the basics of consumer debt collection, provide guidance regarding the services available to consumers in the Commonwealth, and give an overview on representing or advising debtors facing a small claims debt collection suit.

In small claims court, showing up is half of an uphill battle: A staggering 95 percent of debt collection suits end in favor of the collector, with over 70 percent of these judgments issued by default because the alleged debtor failed to appear in court. These judgments are valid for twenty years in Massachusetts.

When defendants do show up, fewer than 10 percent of debt collection defendants have an attorney. Unrepresented defendants usually fare no better than those who default on their lawsuits: They are unlikely to use available legal defenses, may be coerced or pressured into paying a debt they do not owe, and may not understand how severe the consequences can be in collection cases.

Whether you are representing debtors yourself, or advising a pro se debtor, you can help level the playing field and vindicate your client’s rights. This training will provide you with the resources necessary to do so, whether you are a pro bono volunteer or just starting your consumer law practice. Topics covered will include:

  • An overview of consumer debt collection
  • How to validate and dispute debt
  • Stopping harassment by debt collectors
  • What income is exempt from collection
  • Advising and representing debtors in small claims court
  • Relevant consumer resources in Massachusetts
  • Answering your consumer debt questions

Online registration is encouraged. For assistance, questions on group discounts, accommodations requests, special billing, program content, out-of-state CLE credits, and general contact CLE Coordinator, Michael Saporito by email at Registrations accepted in order of receipt. Registration fees are non-refundable. Most Social Law Library CLE events are recorded and recordings are sent to all who are registered. The recording is available by digital download, generally within a week after the program date. CLE credit, when applicable, is only granted when the live webinar is attended.
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