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Consumer Rights & Economic Justice

Overview

An economically just society provides ways for all people to thrive no matter the color of their skin, gender, sexuality, or the circumstances that they were born into. Yet, too often we see predatory financial schemes and lending programs that prey on people with lower incomes and perverse systems of fines and fees that pile on the backs of those already struggling to get by. These systems compound on one another, trapping people in cycles of poverty that can often lead to economic devastation for entire families and communities. Public Counsel works to disrupt these harmful systems, end the criminalization of poverty, and protect the economic security of those targeted by consumer fraud or over-burdened with debt. 

Steph Carroll, directing attorney of Consumer Rights and Economic Justice (left), stands with Nisha Kashyap, staff attorney, outside the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights and Economic Justice project provides access to justice through direct legal and pro bono representation, self-help clinics, and policy advocacy that prioritize the rights of individuals like students, consumers, and low-income homeowners. We handle a wide array of consumer matters including predatory lending, debt collection, real estate fraud, foreclosure, student loans, criminal system debt, consumer fraud, and unfair business practices. Additionally, we provide free legal assistance and resources to people representing themselves in bankruptcy cases and civil appeal matters, and offer pro bono placement in select cases. Through our Federal Pro Se Clinics as well as our Debtor Assistance and Appellate Law Programs, we support low-income clients to advocate for themselves in a variety of civil cases. 

WHO WE SERVE: 

  • Low-income communities in Los Angeles County, at the intersection of economic exploitation and systemic racism, including elders on fixed incomes, former foster youth, non-native English speakers, veterans, and those struggling with criminal justice debt. Through impact litigation and advocacy, we also serve low-income consumers and communities statewide and beyond.

  • Los Angeles County residents that need counsel and advice, brief service, and/or representation in bankruptcy-related cases.

  • Self-represented litigants who have cases or are considering cases in the Central District court.

  • Self-represented litigants who have cases or are considering bringing an appeal in the 2nd District Court of Appeal or the Appellate Division of any Superior Court within the Second Appellate District.
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