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Bankruptcy Pro Bono Representation of Consumers: The Seven Deadly Sins

Pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. In Christian theology, these seven deadly sins are considered such odious failings that they are fatal to a soul's spiritual progress. Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri built his seven levels of Purgatory around those sins. At the gate of Purgatory, Dante met an angelic gatekeeper, who inscribed the letter "P" on his forehead seven times. Upon progressing through each of Purgatory's levels, one "P" was removed. The seven deadly sins for pro bono attorneys representing consumer debtors in bankruptcy may not have the same dire eternal consequences as for those misguided enough to veer from the spiritual straight and narrow. But each one of these "sins" has its own negative consequences, some of which may impede or terminate your client's protection, while others might affect a lawyer's practice. In formulating this lawyerly list of seven deadly sins, the authors looked at the amendments to the Bankruptcy Code (BAPCPA), the revised Bankruptcy Rules, the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, and associated case law. Although Dante likely had good reason for the order in which he presented the seven deadly sins, the authors have used artistic license to rearrange that order.
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