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  • Consumer Defense Clinics: Building a Courthouse Clinic from the Ground Up
  • How to Start/Maintain a Consumer Practice within a Legal Services Agency
  • Starting a Student Loan Practice for the Legal Services Practitioner

Why These Videos Are Helpful

  • Do you want to hear about best practices for running a consumer unit in a legal services firm?
  • Do you want a blueprint for creating a courthouse consumer defense clinic, where you can show private consumer attorneys how volunteering at these clinics can help build their practices and keep them up to date on new trends and abuses in debt collection lawsuits?
  • Want to add a student loan unit to your legal service office?
  • Want to learn how to work with the private bar?

What You Will Learn

  • How to get buy-in from the judiciary, bar associations, and the private bar for a consumer debt defense clinic
  • How to use clinics, hotlines, and other tools to streamline intake and increase capacity
  • How to balance a large caseload while successfully integrating student loans work into your practice


Matt Brooks is an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. His work focuses on consumer law issues, particularly consumer debt collection issues. Matt helps to run Greater Boston Legal Services’ Debt Collection Lawyer for the Day Program, which has served hundreds of clients in local Boston courts.

Ellyn Riedl is a staff attorney with Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), the oldest and largest pro bono organization in the state of Maryland. In her role as staff attorney, she oversees MVLS’ Foreclosure Prevention pro bono program, which connects low-income clients facing foreclosure with pro bono foreclosure attorneys throughout the state.

Julie K. Robie is a senior attorney in the Consumer Law Practice Group at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and served as the managing attorney of that group for three and a half years.

Alysson Snow is a senior attorney leading the Consumer Protection Division of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. She provides direct legal assistance to a wide range of consumer-related issues, including debt defense, FDCPA and other consumer protection statutes, mortgage lending issues, student loans, auto fraud, and others.

Ana M. Storey is director of Client & Community Services for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). Ana joined LAFLA in 2000 as a staff attorney and served as managing attorney of LAFLA’s West Office, supervising LAFLA’s former Family Law and Consumer Law Units and, co-supervising LAFLA’s Self-Help Legal Access Centers.

Tom Mlakar is the deputy director for advocacy at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, where he is responsible for the legal work at the firm.

Shanna Tallarico is a supervising attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group’s (NYLAG) Consumer Protection Unit (CPU). Shanna serves as a project attorney for the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) project. Through this program, she provides legal advice and guidance to OFE financial counselors and assists clients with consumer financial issues with a particular focus on student debt.