Lois R. Lupica, the Maine Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law, was recently awarded a competitive grant from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund. The grant will fund a study to test the effectiveness of financial education on distressed consumers. Professor Lupica will be conducting the research with Professors D. James Greiner of Harvard Law School and Dalié Jiménez of the University of Connecticut School of Law.
The study will be conducted over a two-year period and will examine 1,200 consumers who have been sued in credit card debt-collection proceedings in state courts. It will focus on the outcomes of three different means of assisting low-income people in financial distress: (1) the provision of pro se educational materials (of original design); (2) an offer of assistance from a lawyer; and (3) financial education.
According to the researchers, “The study findings will provide important information about what interventions most effectively and efficiently help people who are in financial distress.”
“This is a fantastic project,” said Danielle Conway, Dean and Professor at the University of Maine School of Law. “It is a great example of how law schools can work together to address important societal needs.”
Additional funding for the study is provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Endowment for Education and the Sears Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
Additional information on the ABI Endowment Fund
Created in 1989, the ABI Endowment Fund provides a secure financial base for insolvency research and education. Projects eligible for funding include research relating to bankruptcy or insolvency; surveys or other analytical investigation; the education of judges, court personnel, other governmental personnel and the general public; scholarships or other educational grants; and any other projects with a material research or educational benefit to the bankruptcy and insolvency community. More than $2 million in grants and scholarships has been awarded.