Cara O'Neill

Attorney

Cara O'Neill is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on bankruptcy and small claims. She also maintains a bankruptcy practice at the Law Office of Cara O’Neill and teaches criminal law and legal ethics as an adjunct professor. Cara has been quoted in bankruptcy, finance, small claims, and litigation articles by news outlets that include USA Today, CNBC, U.S. News & World Report, Nerd Wallet, and Yahoo Finance.

Cara received her law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she graduated a member of the Order of the Barristers—a highly-selective honor society that gives national recognition to top law school graduates demonstrating excellent skills in trial advocacy, oral advocacy, and brief writing.

Working at Nolo. Cara started writing for Nolo as a freelancer in 2014 and became a full-time legal editor in 2016. She has authored a number of Nolo self-help legal books, including How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, The New Bankruptcy, Everybody's Guide to Small Claims (national version), and Everybody's Guide to Small Claims in California. She also co-authors and edits Solve Your Money Troubles and Credit Repair and has written hundreds of articles for Nolo.com, Lawyers.com, TheBankruptcySite.org, and AllLaw.com.

Early legal career. Before joining Nolo, Cara spent 20 years working as a trial attorney litigating criminal and civil cases. She also served as an administrative law judge mediating disputes between auto manufacturers and dealerships and began teaching law as an adjunct professor in 2004. She added bankruptcy to her practice after the 2008 financial downturn.

Origins of litigation and writing career. Thanks to her mother, Cara’s advocacy training began early and involuntarily. In junior high school, she took second place two years running in the local Optimist Club speaking competition. She also successfully competed on her high school speech and debate team for several years, eventually serving as president of the same. During law school, she competed on a nationally ranked ABA moot court team for two years (and was recruited for a third, but declined) and served as a law journal editor.


Articles By Cara O'Neill

What Can I Do If I Can't Afford a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
It's tough coming up with legal fees when you're broke and need to file for bankruptcy. But even if you can’t afford an attorney, help might be available through friends and family, legal aid societies, free legal clinics, or pro bono (free of charge) attorneys.
Will Filing For Bankruptcy Get Back a Repossessed Vehicle?
Repossession of a vehicle is a stressful situation for anyone to have to face. If you’ve had your vehicle repossessed because you haven’t kept up with the payments, you may be wondering if you can get your car back by filing for bankruptcy.
The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Repayment Plan
You must be able to devise a repayment plan that you can afford for the repayment period (three to five years), and the court must approve the plan.
Should I File for Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Both Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy provide a way for people struggling with debt to keep their property by reorganizing their debt. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally more popular with businesses, but it can be a good choice for certain individuals, especially those with extremely large amounts of debt. For most individuals, however, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often cheaper and easier.
Michigan Bankruptcy Exemptions
Like all states, Michigan has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
What Debts Cannot Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?
The point of filing for bankruptcy is to give yourself a clean slate by getting out from under your debts. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, many types of debt will be discharged (wiped out) at the end of your case. This isn't true of all debts, however.
Debt Settlement Can't Protect You from Being Sued by Credit Card Companies
People often turn to debt settlement or debt consolidation agencies in a good faith attempt to pay back their debts.
Can I use my credit card before I file for bankruptcy?
While you can use your credit cards before filing for bankruptcy, it's usually best to stop using them altogether. Depending on how you use them and what you use them for, you could run the risk of having to repay the debt after your bankruptcy is over. If you use your credit cards for necessities prior to bankruptcy, you'll probably be in the clear.
California Bankruptcy Exemptions
California is unique among the states in that it has two different sets of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Do I Keep When I File For Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy exemptions determine what you get to keep during and after bankruptcy -- whether it be your home, car, retirement account, or personal belongings.