I joined the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section Chief in January of this year. It was a homecoming of sorts, because I was at the Attorney General’s Office from 2010 to 2017. And it was a return to an area of law I had experienced some thirteen years ago, when I served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Consumers Council. I took that job after what I thought was an early retirement from practicing law. That brief stint, as executive director rather than counsel, cemented my desire to return to practicing law. While I enjoyed the issues we addressed at the time—online privacy and pay day lending—I realized that I wanted to advocate as a lawyer. It was not enough to try to educate consumers about how to protect themselves in what was then a new online world, or to persuade lawmakers to take action against pay day lenders. I wanted to be the lawyer in the room, making sure that companies met their obligations to keep our data private and protecting consumers from predatory loan practices.
My return to practicing law surprised no one. From the tender age of seven, I had announced to anyone who asked (and probably many who didn’t) that one day I would be lawyer. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father, Alan Kyman, who practiced on his own in Arizona for over fifty-five years. Over those decades, he had a wide and varied practice, helping real people solve all manner of real problems.
Despite that model, I started at a “Big Firm,” working on “Big Cases.” No doubt the cases were interesting, and experienced lawyers taught me how to produce excellent work for our clients. I enjoyed that practice, but I didn’t have the sense that I was speaking on behalf of actual people.
I then moved to a small firm but continued to work for several years on a big case. Fortunately, it was an environmental matter imbued with the public interest: we sought to share the costs of cleaning up decades of copper-mining waste that threatened to pollute groundwater that fed a lake supplying water to Phoenix. I also had the opportunity to dive deeply into hydrogeology and the history of copper mining in Arizona, as I managed expert discovery, disclosure, and reporting. While this work benefited Arizona, I still wanted to do something that more directly benefited people.
After my time with the Arizona Consumers Council, I joined the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, first in the Environmental Enforcement Section, helping to protect Arizona’s groundwater, and then as Education Unit Chief, supervising a team that advised our state education agencies. Both roles broadened my legal skills, giving me opportunities to handle federal and state regulatory compliance and enforcement, a wide variety of administrative proceedings, as well as advice to agency heads, elected officials, and appointed boards. And, of course, I spent much time in every public lawyer’s favorite area: public records.
All that, and a few years at a large community college district, have brought me to the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section. Leading our strong team of lawyers, paralegals, and staff in protecting consumers and stopping fraudsters is immensely satisfying every day. And it brings me back to my original purpose: helping solve real problems for real people.
But more important to me than my law practice is my family. My husband also is a lawyer, and we have three adult children. Our family enjoys spirited discussions, cooking and eating together, and hiking in Arizona and the Rocky Mountains. I try to keep a modicum of sanity by reading, gardening, and until the pandemic killed the Desert Song Yoga studio, practicing yoga.
Other articles in this edition include:
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and the Limited Waiver Opportunity
- Attorney General Consumer Protection News: November 2021
- Federal Consumer Protection News: November 2021