New Mexico Legal Aid

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Empowering Consumers with NMLA's Consumer Law Practice Group

On World Consumer Rights Day, New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) shines a spotlight on its dedicated team within the Consumer Law Practice Group (CLPG), a division committed to advocating for consumer rights and offering vital assistance to those navigating complex legal issues. 

From navigating fraudulent schemes to challenging predatory lending practices, the CLPG works tirelessly to ensure that consumers across New Mexico have access to justice. Let’s delve into the experiences of key CLPG members as they share their insights and motivations.

Sophia Romero: Leading the Charge

For Sophia Romero, Managing Attorney of the CLPG, the journey into consumer law began unexpectedly during her time in law school. 

“I randomly ended up in the consumer law clinic,” recalls Romero. “One of the first things we did was travel to a conference where we met consumer attorneys from all over the country.” 

Inspired by the opportunity to assist those most in need and hold bad actors accountable, Romero found her calling in consumer advocacy. Joining NMLA in December 2023, Romero brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to serving her community. 

Reflecting on her role, Romero emphasizes the collaborative spirit within NMLA and the rewarding nature of her work. “I like the people I get to work with, from my amazing CLPG team to the wonderful collaborations with Edna and Niva,” she shares. “Knowing that I am helping those who need it most while learning about how the law and industry interact are all important motivators and interests to me.”

Caprice Benoit: A Paralegal’s Perspective

Caprice Benoit’s journey into consumer law was sparked by the 2008 financial crisis and Elizabeth Warren’s advocacy for consumer rights. “I volunteered at New Mexico Legal Aid right after I finished my paralegal coursework,” shares Benoit. 

Drawn to NMLA’s mission and the opportunity to make a tangible difference, Benoit returned to the organization two years ago. As a paralegal within the CLPG, Benoit finds fulfillment in assisting consumers with a diverse range of issues, knowing that her efforts have a meaningful impact on their lives and families. 

“CLPG helps consumers with a wide range of issues,” says Benoit. “It is incredibly rewarding to make a difference for them and their families.”

Todd Weger: Advocating for Change

For Todd Weger, Staff Attorney at the CLPG, consumer law represents an opportunity to advocate for public welfare and challenge systemic inequalities. “We need people who are willing to advocate, using science and the principle that everything should not be presumed safe,” asserts Weger. 

Joining NMLA in October 2023, Weger was drawn to the organization’s reputation for impactful work and its commitment to serving vulnerable communities. Reflecting on a recent case involving an Army Veteran facing predatory lending practices, Weger underscores the importance of providing sound legal advice and protecting clients from exploitative schemes. 

“Being relatively new to the CLPG and having only been here since October, I don’t have a wealth of stories,” says Weger. “But it was very satisfying recently when I was able to help a client, an Army Veteran, to get rid of debt from a highly predatory loan that my client didn’t even know if he had ever taken out.”

Ensuring Access to Justice

As consumer rights continue to face new challenges and complexities, NMLA’s Consumer Law Practice Group remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering consumers and safeguarding their rights. 

From advocating for fair treatment in financial transactions to combating deceptive practices, the CLPG stands as a beacon of support for those navigating the legal landscape. 

Through their dedication and expertise, Romero, Benoit, Weger, and the entire CLPG team exemplify the spirit of advocacy and resilience, ensuring every consumer has a voice and access to justice.

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