Yale Liman Fellowship Attorney, Student Loan Project
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
Where did you go to law school?
Yale Law School
Why did you want to work at Pine Tree? What brought you to Pine Tree and what did you do before?
Before law school, I worked on access to justice issues in debt collection lawsuits in Massachusetts and Connecticut. I talked to hundreds of people who had racked up credit card debt due to mental illness, accidents, or simply to make ends meet. The people I spoke with were often distraught and ashamed, had no idea that they had any rights or options available to them, or were incredibly confused as to how an entity they had never contracted with was suing them for thousands of dollars.
Debt not only weighs on people financially, but also mentally, and can cause extreme stress and shame. This is true when it comes to student loan debt, which has burdened many- from individuals misled by predatory, for-profit schools to borrowers saddled with high-interest and inflexible private student loans to others struggling to find affordable repayment options or navigate possible avenues for relief. Even small student loans can balloon over the years due to interest and late fees. While many people are familiar with student loans through personal experience, and there has been a lot of media attention paid to the issue, options for getting relief from those loans remains opaque.
The Yale Liman Fellowship gave me an amazing opportunity to tackle these issues. In Maine, the need for access to relief from student loan debt is felt acutely: the average student debt is the eighth highest in the nation, and 10 percent of borrowers have student loan debt that is in default. Student loan debt has caused people in Maine to move out of state, forgo basic necessities, and postpone saving or investing in the future. I knew that at Pine Tree I'd be able to start my career off strong, at an organization full of dedicated people I could learn a lot from.
What is your favorite board game?
They aren't exactly board games, but I love Boggle and Yahtzee.
Tell us a fun fact about you!
When I was younger I had to wear an eye patch. Apparently this fun fact is not so unique at Pine Tree- almost everyone else on my Winter Games team also did!
Where is your favorite place in Maine?
I've really enjoyed taking the ferry around Casco Bay and exploring Peaks Island! I went to Acadia last fall and can't wait to go back.
What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work?
I love playing squash, pickleball, and exploring Maine beaches and hikes.
If you could pick one song to play every time you enter a room, what would it be?
I've always loved "In a Big Country" by Big Country