“I practiced for 14 years before I became a consumer lawyer in 2002. The more consumer-related problems I saw, the more I was outraged. It is obvious that many abuses are fueled by greed, with absolutely no concern for the people who are being wronged. When I get involved, people have a chance to fight back and overcome the wrongdoing, and that’s what keeps me going.
I went to my first NCLC conference in Boston in 2003, and I was so excited to meet so many like-minded allies, and learn about how broad the work was. It was like being a kid at Christmas! I am just blown away by NCLC’s expertise, and how it is used to develop attorneys and protect consumers. There was more than one occasion early on when I thought about giving up, but the Conference brought me back from the edge. This work can be intimidating and the daily slog can be hard, and I am so grateful for the network the conference provides.
Several years ago I had a case against an auto dealer which was known for re-selling lemon buybacks — in fact, 10% of their inventory were those types of cars. The dealer would make folks sign the disclosure form in blank first, and then the dealer would go back and fill in the actual disclosures later. The dealer hired an aggressive and unreasonable defense lawyer, and the first trial ended in a mistrial. It was frustrating and demoralizing. I called one of my consumer advocate colleagues for moral support, and he helped me climb back down from the edge and go back at them again.
Bolstered and refreshed, we won the second case, and the jury gave us everything — fraud, protection violation, the works! My client was a woman whose husband was active military. I got another chance to sue the same dealer again for fraud, and they settled quickly. They eventually got so sick of me that they actually stopped buying those types of cars, to prevent me from suing them. They despise me, and I wear that as a badge of honor, by getting them to stop exploiting people.”