In this session, one of our state’s top consumer protections advocates, Kerry Smith, provides the latest updates on how predatory lenders are trying once again to bring payday loans into Pennsylvania. Payday loans are particularly harmful to the low-income population. Ms. Smith will provide compelling arguments and concise talking points that we can all understand and use when addressing decision makers and the public on the oppressive tactics used by payday lenders that perpetuate poverty.
Ms. Smith has a long standing commitment to consumer advocacy and public interest work. She joined Community Legal Services of Philadelphia as an Independence Foundation Fellow after coordinating state-level consumer protection policy across the country for the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups. She is now Senior Staff Attorney for CLS. Prior to entering law school, Ms. Smith served with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs where she oversaw the agency’s alternative dispute resolution programs and a consumer information hotline. Ms. Smith is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) and the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Chapter of NACA. She received the 2013 Legislative Advocate of the Year award from NACA and the 2012 Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) and was included in 2010 Next Generation of Leadership: Rising Stars, presented by Super Lawyers. Ms. Smith earned her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law where she was one of five members of her class awarded the distinction of Public Interest Law Scholar with an academic scholarship in recognition of her commitment to public service.