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Consumer Rights Law – Make A Career Fighting For The Little Guy

A consumer rights attorney tends to represent individuals and handle class actions on issues related to debt collection, credit reports, lemon laws, and consumer fraud.

These types of lawyers may focus on things like relieving consumers of debt through settlements and bankruptcies, defending them from aggressive or abusive collectors, and helping to clean up inaccuracies on their credit reports. They may go up against financial institutions, credit card companies, debt collection and repossession agencies, as well as shady car dealers who have sold lemons or committed acts of fraud.

Today’s guest is consumer rights attorney Larry Smith of the SmithMarco law firm in Chicago. Larry tells us all about consumer rights law and being a consumer rights attorney.

  Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.
 
 
WATCH A SNEAK PEEK

Today’s Guest

Larry Smith, consumer rights lawyer and managing partner of SmithMarco in ChicagoConsumer Rights Attorney Larry Smith
Title: Managing Partner, SmithMarco, P.C.
City: Chicago, IL
Law School: The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL
College: University of Illinois in Champaign, IL

 

Being A Consumer Rights Attorney

Consumer rights law jobs tend to be found in small firms that work on contingency (in certain federal cases the defending party must pay the attorney’s fees), however an associate working for a firm is most likely to be paid a salary (nothing like a BigLaw salary).

Many aspects of being a consumer rights attorney require the types of lawyers who are compassionate enough to spend time listening without judgment to the countless sob stories of people with financial troubles who lack education, while at the same time being able to stand up to some big companies and their counsel. You’ll learn a lot more from today’s full career video.

 

TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW

This is a preview of the video transcript on being a consumer rights attorney.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career guidance video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone, today on JD Careers Out There we’re exploring jobs in consumer rights law and what it’s like being a consumer rights attorney. It’s stuff – so stick around! [theme song]

Alright, as you may already know, at JDCOT we explore career paths both in and out of law to help you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree.

I’m your host Marc Luber, the founder of JDCOT. I’ve always used my law degree to work in alternative careers for lawyers – first in the music industry and then as a legal recruiter. I’ve been helping lawyers with their careers since 2003 and I’m excited for the opportunity to help you.

Today’s guest is talking to Larry Smith, who’s my childhood friend and the managing partner of Smith Marco, a consumer rights law firm in Chicago. I asked Larry what it meant to be a consumer rights attorney, and here’s a look at how that went:

Larry Smith: Well our practice is mostly two-fold: There are first the consumer rights that deal with debtor’s problems. And in this day and age, with the economy as it is, that seems to be taking over.

So a lot of our practice deals with debtor problems. And that could be people who are being sued by their creditors and need defense, people who are being harassed by debt collectors who need help getting them off their back and dealing with them.

And people who might need bankruptcy – if we have to go that far, we’ll do that. People who need to settle their debts – and need some assistance in getting themselves, their feet under them economically, and getting their debts settled without having multiple judgments entered against them and being aggravated with garnishments. So that’s a big portion of it, that half right there.

Then there’s another half that’s not with debtors that have economic problems, with people who are actually in much better shape but for some other reason have some unfair situation in the marketplace.

One is credit reporting. We do a lot of work under the Fair Credit Reporting Act; people who have inaccuracies on their credit report, something that’s of no fault of their own that is preventing them from using their good name and getting credit.

And then in the auto marketplace, there’s Lemon Laws. We handle a lot of cases where people are buying new cars that they’re paying a lot of money for and the car is breaking down constantly and is in the shop. We help with that as well.

And also, in the auto industry there tends to be a lot of fraud in the used car area, so we do a lot of work in consumer fraud cases in the used car industry. And that’s a snapshot of all the practice that we do.

Luber: Interesting! So to make sure I understand it, basically you have three different buckets that you’re operating in and each of the three, what they have in common is, that you’re helping the common man or woman get through these issues, the individual.

Larry Smith: Yeah, there is…a lot of consumer rights attorneys do class actions and I think whenever I talk about what I do, the first thing out of their mouth is, “Oh, are you a class action attorney?” and I say, “No, my firm is more focused on the individuals and helping them. We’re a smaller firm and we like that.”

It’s not to say that we don’t do class actions; we always have one or two pending. We tend to handle them with other attorneys, other firms as co-counsel, to kind of team up and handle the burden. But most of our work is for the individual for their own problem.

Luber: Alright! You can all watch Larry and I go way more in-depth into consumer rights law jobs in the full version of this interview. Larry will give a great explanation of who makes the right fit for this path, how to develop the skills that you’ll need for it, and he even shares good tips on business development and starting your own firm.

You’ll want to join the JDCOT membership for access to the full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people are saying about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

[theme song]

©2016 Careers Out There

 
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