“When I was growing up, the women in my family taught me that as long as I had my own career, I’d be prepared for any situation that might come my way. They valued their financial independence and went out of their way to teach me to value mine.

This lesson stuck with me when I got older and became a lawyer focused on poverty and domestic violence.

Advocates in the domestic violence and trafficking fields aren’t necessarily always all that well-versed in consumer law. Before I got into this kind of work, I wasn’t really exposed to this part of the law either.

But I would often hear low-income clients talk about how intimate partners would use their name to accumulate a bunch of debt, or open up lines of credit, or avoid their own taxes. Many survivors of domestic violence in these situations end up taking out payday loans, because it’s all they can get access to – the only way they can exercise financial autonomy, even if they’re being exploited by a predatory lender.

These stories stuck with me, in some part because of the lessons I learned when I was young – and they helped me start to see how often domestic violence issues are connected to consumer law and protections.

How do we fix the structures we live with to make it less likely that someone needs to get a payday loan in the first place, and to make it possible for everyone to have their own economic autonomy? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself every day, and we’re fortunate that NCLC attorneys are asking them, too.”