How to get into the consumer protection industry?

I have always had a passion for consumer protection, from product safety to false advertisement. Now, since falling into debt the past few years and successfully battling unlawful debt collectors, I can add this to my list. While I am by no means an expert, I would love to get into the industry, perhaps as a paralegal or an assistant. I have thought of creating a little portfolio of my work,including my cases against debt collectors as well as against telemarketers pursuant to the TCPA. What are your thoughts on pursuing a career change into this?

New York, NY -

Attorney Answers (3)

Maurice N Ross

Maurice N Ross

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

Your best opportunity might be to seek a position with an organization devoted to protecting consumer rights. Unfortunately, there are not many of them. Further, most consumers cannot afford lawyers and, therefore, law firms that can afford paralegal assistance are usually on the side of the debtors. Further, while your ambitions to work in this field are noble, the compensation may be disappointing---consumer protection organizations are not well-funded, and jobs are often low-paying.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Answered

My thought is that debt collection is a dirty business, reminiscent of the Dark Side.

The compensation and job openings are with the debt collectors. Besides, you need to work for them and learn the Dark Side to be able to properly control emotions and use the Force against them. The Evil Empire is very strong, Luke, you must learn its ways if you want to use the Force to defeat it.

Once you have experience collecting debts you would be much more employable to someone fighting debt collectors. Just try not to succumb to the Dark Side when you do it.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more
Daniel Lee O'Neil

Daniel Lee O'Neil

White Collar Crime Lawyer - Houston, TX
Answered

Maurice and Bruce address some of the economic realities that the debt collectors are better funded and have more jobs with a paycheck to offer than the other side. However with your experience you can always take a page out of Sherlock Holmes' book and become a consulting consumer protection advocate - it seemed to work for him as the world's first consulting detective. If you put together a portfolio it is pretty easy these days to set up a cheap or even free online presence and start trying to generate business.

Good luck

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