According to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), consumer issues account for eleven percent of all complaints in LSC-funded programs. Yet, the numbers of low income and economically vulnerable individuals impacted by debt collection, bankruptcy and other consumer problems are quite significant. For example, one in seven adults in the U.S. is being pursued by debt collectors, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Furthermore, recent studies show that Legal Aid offices often turn away nearly 50 percent of all individuals seeking legal remedies.
There are many models for starting new or strengthening existing consumer units within legal service agencies. This webinar will highlight best practices in Cleveland, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
What You Will Learn
- Several methods to fund consumer attorneys or units
- Different approaches to structure and staff consumer units
- Using clinics, hotlines and other tools to streamline intake and increase capacity
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. The practice pursues systemic solutions to low-income consumers’ problems, handling bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, payday loan cases, auto title loan, property tax lien foreclosure, student loan, utilities, and vehicle repossession cases. Since 2012, Ms. Robie has served as editor of Ohio Consumer Law. She joined The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in 2004, after graduating from Yale Law School. She earned her B.A. from Yale University in 1999.
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. Ms. Snow started two debt defense clinics that provide direct legal services to consumers who are sued by third party debt collection companies. Prior to working at Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc., Ms. Snow graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.
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. Ana currently serves on the Loyola Law School Alumni Board of Governors. She has served on the California State Bar’s Family Law Executive Committee, and as president of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association. Ana received a J.D. from Loyola Law School and B.S. Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California.
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. He has worked as an attorney with Cleveland Legal Aid since graduating from The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University in 1992. Tom has also served in a number of leadership positions in the Ohio and national legal services communities. He previously served on the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Board of Directors and the Civil Policy Group. Tom strives to be an ambassador for legal services in the community, for example, by his work as a trustee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.