The Consumer Protection Project (CPP) provides assistance to Maryland consumers who have been sued by creditors in District Court collection actions. Volunteer lawyers help consumers assert defenses in court, negotiate settlement agreements with creditors, and represent consumers in litigation. Law student volunteers may assist with client intakes, legal research, and issue-spotting. Volunteer lawyers have access to malpractice insurance, mentorship, email discussion listservs, sample forms, and law student support.
- Lawyers must be barred in Maryland and in good standing (there is no minimum experience level),
- Complete a basic consumer protection training course; and
- Accept pro bono cases and/or participate in District Court Consultations, at which consumers receive free brief legal advice.
- Law students must be admitted to the Maryland bar via Rule 16 and must participate via an approved clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law or the University of Baltimore School of Law.
To become a volunteer in Project, complete the online Basic Training Registration Form.
CPP is a joint venture of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC), Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, and Montgomery County Bar Foundation.
See below for information about some of the most serious problems facing Maryland consumers:
Tens of thousands of Marylanders are sued each year by companies alleging consumers owe debts the companies claim to have purchased from original creditors.
The Structure and Practices of the Debt Buying Industry, FTC, 2013
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) presents extensive research regarding “debt buyers,” companies that purchase old debts at steep discounts and then move to collect against consumers. The FTC concludes that while this practice helps creditors recoup losses and feel more comfortable lending, it also creates potentially exploitative circumstances for consumers.
Defending Junk Debt Buyer Lawsuits, Peter A. Holland, 2012
Law professor and consumer advocate Peter Holland shares his experiences and suggestions for defeating debt buyer cases in court.
The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem, Peter A. Holland, 2011
Peter Holland presents a review of the structure of the debt buyer industry and calls rulemakers to action to protect consumers.
Bartlett v. Portfolio Recovery, Maryland Court of Appeals, 2014
This 2014 Maryland Court of Appeals case, brought by two PBRC clients, holds that the rules of evidence have no application in small-claims court.