I joined the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (MA AGO) in October of 2015 after 12 years in private practice litigating consumer finance class actions. My entire legal career has been devoted to consumer protection. It is an area of law that, in my experience, provides boundless opportunities to serve in the public interest and to help individuals and families who are victims of predatory business practices.
At the MA AGO, my CPD colleagues and I collaborate on a busy caseload to combat unfair and deceptive conduct by businesses that undermines the financial stability of Massachusetts residents. This includes work promoting housing stability, transportation affordability, and debtor and borrower rights. My favorite days are when I know our work got money back in consumers’ pockets, allowed them to keep their cars, or stay in their homes, or when we have taken the burden of debt off their shoulders. Another area of great fulfillment is when I am able to “pay it forward” to newer attorneys through mentorship and support, as I have been the beneficiary of great mentorship during my career.
My first experience in complex consumer protection litigation was in 2003, when I joined a small boutique law firm that had homeowners walking through the door for help avoiding imminent foreclosures. They brought with them mortgage loans that contained abusive terms and features that were unlike anything anyone had seen. Over the next decade, I litigated national cases against predatory mortgage lenders and servicers and saw the devastating consequences of reckless and illegal lending to homeowners.
It was a great experience to be able to attend the NAAG Consumer Protection Conference this fall in DC – in person (!) – and to meet my talented and hardworking colleagues from all around the country. No matter how difficult our fight to protect consumers can be, knowing that we are working collectively to level the playing field for the most vulnerable populations always give me the energy to keep going.
On a personal note, before I became a lawyer, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a town called Telemele, in Guinea, West Africa, where I taught English in a rural high school. I have a 6-year old son. Like me, he experiences outrage in the face of unfairness, except his view of unfairness is being required to take a bath every night or not being able to have candy every day. (“But I had candy yesterday!”) Maybe he will be a lawyer, too.
Other articles in this edition include:
- Communities of Color, Fraud, and Consumer Protection Agencies
- Attorney General Consumer Protection News: January 2022
- Federal Consumer Protection News: January 2022