2015 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Adrianna Anderson

Adrianna Anderson

Name of Host Organization: LawNY
City, State: Geneva, New York
Issue area: Consumer Rights, Pro se and other legal representation systems
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

Adrianna will increase economic stability and reduce the collateral consequences of predatory debt collection for low-income people in rural New York by reducing default judgments in debt collection cases through financial empowerment, consumer protection education, and direct litigation.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
More than 100,000 debt collection cases are filed in New York each year, and nearly 98% of debtors in these cases are unrepresented. As a result, more than half of these cases end in default judgments in favor of debt collectors, often despite actual proof that a debt was ever owed in the first place. Abusive debt collection practices are directly linked to broader economic discrimination, financial instability, and wealth inequality, and the impact is especially harmful to low-income people in rural communities. Without additional legal resources, the predatory structure of debt collection practices will continue to go unchallenged, leaving low-income, minority, disabled, and other disadvantaged individuals and families financially vulnerable.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Adrianna is the right person for the project because:
• As a native of Upstate New York, she is committed to helping this community thrive
• She has significant community organizing experience, as well as experience working with underserved populations
• Before attending law school, she spent two years working as an AmeriCorps volunteer with LawNY on issues of poverty and homelessness
• During law school, Adrianna continued to focus on helping others, working as a consumer advocate at Utah Legal Services and a pro bono coordinator with the College of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship: 
In the first six months, Adrianna will:
• Lay a foundation for the project and gain substantive legal skills training through LawNY
• Establish partnerships with legal and nonlegal service providers and monitor debt collection cases, default judgments, and other consumer issues in local courts
• Provide legal information and advice through the LawNY consumer hotline and Consumer Education Clinics to identify cases for litigation and empower pro se consumers
• Identify ways to improve pro se resources for consumers

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