It is a privilege to work in a bit of a bubble where every day I collaborate with attorneys, from New York to California and every state in between, who, no matter their background or political stripes, have one goal in common: to work together in order to protect consumers. I am grateful for those that explained what a “NAAG working group” was to me ten years ago and for the fresh ideas of our newest colleagues. It has been a journey from Google Safari in 2013 to Google Search in 2020 – from “sketchy shoes” in 2012 to opioids.
I was born and raised in Mississippi, and, although I preferred the College of Charleston rather than the SEC, I returned home to attend Mississippi College School of Law. While I was representing hospitals and resorts at a boutique defense firm in Charleston, Hurricane Katrina devastated my home state and swept me back. I knew there was immense need and that I could do my part. I left the firm to serve as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Attorney, which later morphed into Pro Bono Counsel for the Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ). In this role, I was able to recruit and supervise thousands of volunteer attorneys and law students from around the country (ironically from many of the defense firms I see now on a regular basis). I was able to connect them with Katrina survivors with a broad spectrum of legal needs from FEMA appeals to heirship matters. It was amazing to see a person who could not afford an attorney suddenly get their insurance claims resolved thanks to a team of pro bono attorneys from the country’s largest firms. I met monthly with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office to address home repair fraud and eventually joined the Consumer Protection Division to help them prosecute a back log of unscrupulous and fake contractors. My practice area grew quickly to include antitrust, privacy, health fraud, utilities, auto, and the puppy mills in between, and like our pro bono efforts at MCJ, we were able to provide significant relief to consumers who could not otherwise help themselves.
After seven years of serving in the Consumer Protection Division, I had the privilege of assisting in an executive capacity, working on policy issues, and serving as the first female Legislative Liaison for the Attorney General. When Attorney General Lynn Fitch took office, I’m thankful to say that she gave me the opportunity to build upon our prior efforts and to take the Consumer Protection Division to the next level as the Director, building the strongest team possible, and dedicating more attention to crucial subjects in order to protect consumers, especially our most vulnerable. We still have a relatively small team for antitrust and unfair and deceptive practices, but we take pride in being the David against Goliath and are grateful to combine resources with our fellow states to pursue multistate matters. Demanding transparency and fairness in drug prices is a priority, and we are proud of our ongoing efforts with fellow states and the Mississippi Public Service Commission to increase telemarketing and scam enforcement, inform the public, and eradicate unwanted robocalls.
As occasionally seen and heard in the background of Zoom and conference calls, I am the proud mom of two little boys, three dogs, and one cat. Before the boys arrived, I taught yoga regularly and look forward to getting back into my practice. I also periodically serve as an adjunct professor, and my husband, Nick, and I are members of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral.
Other articles in this edition include:
- A Review of CPSC and NHTSA Safety Information Transparency and Recall Authority
- Attorney General Consumer Protection News: July 2021
- Federal Consumer Protection News: July 2021