“My first summer after law school, I was looking for a way to pursue poverty law, and knew I wanted some kind of litigation experience. I landed an amazing job working at a legal aid organization, the New York Legal Assistance Group, in New York City. The first case assigned to me was a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) case, and the rest of the summer I essentially lived in the NCLC treatise. I admired NCLC’s expertise and was extremely grateful for their publications, but still didn’t really consider consumer law a career path.
The following summer, I went to Washington, DC, to work at the public interest law firm founded by Deepak Gupta (now a member of the NCLC Board of Directors), and was given another consumer law case. By this time I was starting to find my place and see the excitement in the field of consumer law. I was – and still am – fascinated by how consumer law can be used to impact people’s lives in so many ways.
For example, I was a 1L when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri – a preventable tragedy that facilitated the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Given my background in tax and budget policy, I became very interested in addressing the ways that revenue-based policing was changing policing, in Ferguson and elsewhere – causing law enforcement to focus excessively on collecting fees and fines. NCLC soon launched an initiative focusing on applying consumer law protections to the problem of criminal justice debt. Following that work – which I now have the opportunity to assist through my fellowship – was one of the first times I realized the potential promise of using consumer law to address a wide variety of problems affecting people experiencing poverty.
Although I previously had a background in economic policy, I didn’t know much about consumer law before law school. My previous policy work, especially on public assistance programs and public benefits, had confirmed my interest in working with people affected by poverty. I had not seriously considered consumer law as a way to do that, but soon found that many of the things I cared about had a consumer protection dimension.
The best part about working at NCLC is that I have an entire office behind me. If I don’t understand a problem or know a solution, I have expert knowledge one office over or just down the hall. At NCLC, I get to connect the areas of law that interest and concern me most, and play a role in impact litigation as well. It’s challenging every day, but I feel fortunate that my path has brought me here.”