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NAGTRI Announces New Consumer Protection Fellowship Program

Dennis Cuevas, Project Director and Chief Counsel, Consumer Protection and Telemarketing Fraud

Dennis Cuevas, Project Director and Chief Counsel, Consumer Protection

The National Attorney General Research and Training Institute (NAGTRI) of the National Association of Attorneys General received a grant from The Center for State Enforcement of Consumer Protection and Antitrust Laws, Inc. (State Center) to fund a Consumer Protection Fellowship Program for one year. The NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellowship Program will mirror the highly successful NAAG Supreme Court Fellowship program, begun in 1986, during which Assistant Attorneys General in state Attorneys General offices spend three months housed in NAAG’s office in Washington, D.C. to focus on improving their brief writing and oral argument skills. The NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellow, while continuing to be an employee of the state Attorney General’s office, will focus his or her time in Washington, D.C. on a specific consumer protection-oriented research project. Grant funds will be used to cover housing and related costs for a three-month period for two Fellows.

The Program

The NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellowship program is designed to provide consumer protection Assistant Attorneys General an extraordinary opportunity to develop expertise in a specific discipline in consumer protection, which would in turn provide tangible and meaningful assistance to his or her colleagues around the country. The work of the Fellow can be divided into two major areas: research/publication and information sharing/liaison work.

The program will allow Assistant Attorneys General from state Attorneys General Consumer Protection Divisions to spend time in Washington, D.C. to research cutting-edge issues of interest to state consumer protection divisions and to develop a monograph or white paper. The monograph or white paper will be “deliverable” under the auspices of NAGTRI and published for state Attorneys General offices, as well as the general public.

Although consumer advocacy groups, industry groups and government agencies conduct and develop consumer protection-oriented research, there is not much original research from the perspective of state Attorneys General, with the exception of the work of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, which the NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellow’s research would complement. Currently, there are emerging consumer issues that state Attorneys General are continuing to address, including predatory lending, privacy, product safety, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and health care. In addition, there is a need for more scholarly published work in the area of federalism and preemption. The NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellowship Program will allow an Assistant Attorney General to delve much deeper into a specific issue and obtain expertise in an area of consumer protection.

The NAGTRI/State Center Consumer Protection Fellow will be provided access to all of the nation’s capital’s resources, including the Library of Congress, several law school libraries, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, Catholic University and Howard University; and Capitol Hill.

With respect to information sharing, the program also will afford the Fellow the opportunity to liaise with their federal agency counterparts at the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation, the Federal Communication Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. The Fellow also will meet with consumer advocacy groups, as well as industry and trade association groups based in Washington, D.C.

The Process

NAGTRI will begin accepting applications and research proposals from state Attorneys General Offices in mid-summer. Selection of the Fellow will be based on the scope, timeliness and the need for the research proposal, and made by a committee. For more information about this exciting opportunity, please contact Dennis Cuevas at dcuevas@naag.org.

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