About the Project on Predatory Student Lending

Representing Students Against the For-Profit College Industry

The Project on Predatory Student Lending represents students against the predatory for-profit college industry. The Project was formed in 2012 to combat the massive fraud that was being perpetrated against students and taxpayers by for-profit colleges, and government policies that enable the predatory industry to continue to cheat borrowers and taxpayers.

We represent thousands of former students across the country and litigate landmark cases to protect borrower rights. We have cases against for-profit college companies, and against the Department of Education for enabling and supporting this predatory industry. Many of the Project’s clients are people of color, veterans, and immigrants. Most are the first in their family to attend college. The Project’s work supports its broader goals of economic justice and racial equality.

The Project is part of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (LSC), a community law office and clinical teaching site of the law school. Clinical students join the Project’s staff to litigate cases on behalf of clients, in partnership with community-based organizations and advocacy organizations.

About the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School

The mission of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (LSC) is to educate law students and provide high quality legal services in the areas most needed by our community. In addition to the Project on Predatory Student Lending, the Center provides legal services in the areas of family law and domestic violence, housing law, veterans law, public benefits, tax law, and estate planning.

Get Help

If you attended a for-profit college and need legal help with student debt problems, contact us by leaving a message on our hotline, 617-390-2669, or filling out our online intake form.

Our Team

Toby Merrill

Director

Toby Merrill

Director

Toby founded the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2012 as a Skadden Fellow. In addition to representing borrowers with debt from for-profit colleges in a variety of actions, she has twice represented legal aid providers and their clients in the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking sessions, by which the Department promulgates new student loan regulations, and was a member of the advisory council on Private Occupational Schools to the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure. She was previously a law clerk for the Honorable Janet C. Hall of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and holds a B.A. from Yale. She is a clinical instructor and lecturer at Harvard Law School.

Eileen Connor

Eileen Connor

Director of Litigation

Eileen Connor

Director of Litigation

Eileen Connor joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2016. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Special Litigation Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she was counsel on multiple consumer class-action lawsuits concerning student loan debt, and a founder of NYLAG’s For-Profit School Project. Prior to joining NYLAG, she was a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Constitutional and Public Interest Law at Gibbons P.C., and a staff attorney at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco. Eileen has twice represented legal aid providers and their clients in the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking sessions, by which the Department promulgates new student loan regulations. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and B.A. from Brown University. She is a clinical instructor and lecturer at Harvard Law School.

S. Emedi

Stephen Emedi

Attorney

Stephen Emedi

Attorney

Stephen Emedi joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2018. Previously, he was an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Litigation Unit at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. At the AG’s Office, he specialized in health fraud cases and represented Arizona on multistate consumer fraud investigations into the sales practices of pharmaceutical companies. Stephen also worked at the Arizona Corporation Commission, where he handled appellate and administrative cases. He received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Wayne State University.

T. Hoffman

Tamar Hoffman

Paralegal Advocate

Tamar Hoffman

Paralegal Advocate

Tamar Hoffman joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2017. Previously, Tamar worked at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia as a housing unit paralegal through the Haverford House fellowship program. She holds a B.A. from Haverford College.

Kate K.

Kate Manning Kennedy

Senior Advisor

Kate Manning Kennedy

Senior Advisor

Kate Manning Kennedy joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending as senior advisor in 2018. Previously, Kate was a strategic communications consultant where she designed and executed national communications campaigns for nonprofit clients. Her work included strategic planning and goal setting, message development, media relations, external stakeholder engagement, partnership development, and internal communications. Prior to consultancy, Kate held senior communications positions at organizations including Social Finance, Inc., The Glover Park Group, and Fidelity Investments. Kate received her B.A. from Fairfield University.

DeanneLoonin

Deanne Loonin

Attorney

Deanne Loonin

Attorney

Deanne Loonin joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2016. Previously, Deanne founded and directed the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. She is the primary author of the first five editions of NCLC’s Student Loan Law treatise and numerous policy papers and reports. She created and maintains the Student Loan Borrower Assistance website. Deanne has advocated for low-income student loan borrowers before Congress, many states, and federal administrative agencies, including U.S. Department of Education negotiated rulemaking sessions, and in other forums. Prior to joining NCLC, Deanne was an attorney at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles. She holds a J.D. from Berkeley and a B.A. from Harvard.

J. Martinez

Jesus Martinez

Paralegal Advocate

Jesus Martinez

Paralegal Advocate

Jesus joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2018. Prior to joining the Project, Jesus served in ESL high school classrooms as an AmeriCorps Member for City Year Boston. Jesus connected with Spanish-speaking immigrants and assisted in developing students' academic and nonacademic skills. He has also helped asylum-seekers gain pro bono representation through experiences with Human Rights First and Refugees Welcome, non-profit organizations that work towards providing resources to underrepresented individuals. He holds a B.A. from Ithaca College.

J. Rovenger

Josh Rovenger

Attorney

Josh Rovenger

Attorney

Josh Rovenger joined the Legal Services Center as an attorney for the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2018. He previously was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP and at Ropes & Gray LLP. While at Covington, Josh completed a six-month pro bono rotation at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.. Prior to entering private practice, Josh clerked for Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Michael Ponsor of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Josh received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as executive director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from The George Washington University.

V. Roytenberg

Victoria Roytenberg

Attorney

Victoria Reytenberg

Attorney

Victoria Roytenberg joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2016. Previously, Victoria was a public defender at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, where she represented indigent clients who were charged with criminal offenses. Victoria received her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, where she was a staff member of the CUNY Law Review, a student clinician in the Adult Defender Clinic, and defended students facing long-term exclusion from New York City public schools through the Suspension Representation Project. Prior to law school, Victoria worked as a paralegal at The Legal Aid Society in the Juvenile Rights Practice, and as a legal assistant at the Central American Solidarity Association of Maryland. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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Kyra Taylor

Attorney

Kyra Taylor

Attorney

Kyra Taylor joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2018. Previously, Kyra worked as a fellow at Tycko & Zavareei LLP, a plaintiffs’ side class action law firm, and Public Justice, a public interest impact litigation and appellate organization. Kyra graduated from Berkeley Law in 2016. Kyra was the co-director of the Civil Rights Outreach Project, a student legal services organization, where she provided legal education and services to the Muslim community in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was involved in a member of numerous legal journals and student organizations, including competing in the 2015 Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Before law school, Kyra was an elementary school teacher in Louisiana and New York City. Kyra received her B.A. in English, cum laude, from Temple University.

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Emmanuelle Verdieu

Attorney and Fellow

Emmanuelle Verdieu

Attorney and Fellow

Emmanuelle Verdieu joined the Project on Predatory Student Lending in 2018. She received her law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, where she was an Associate Editor of the BYU Journal of Public Law, BYU Trial Advocacy Team Member, and Co-Vice President of the Black Law Student Association. During law school, Emmanuelle was a legal intern with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in the Consumer Protection Divison, Bowmans in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Utah County Attorney's Office. Prior to law school, Emmanuelle interned with the Boston Branch of the NAACP advocating for students, parents, and teachers in Boston Public Schools. Emmanuelle holds a B.A. in Crime and Justice Studies, magna cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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Lindsey Withem

Project Manager

Lindsey Withem

Project Manager

Lindsey Withem joined the Legal Services Center in 2017 as the Project Manager for the Project on Predatory Student Lending. Prior to working at the Legal Services Center, Lindsey worked as a Compliance Officer at the Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology. While working at MIT, she developed best practices to ensure compliance with federal, state, and institutional financial aid regulations. Earlier in her career, she held multiple positions in higher education accreditation in Washington D.C. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Art History from James Madison University.

Policy Positions

08/30/2018

Comments from the Legal Aid Community on the Proposed Borrower Defense Rule

08/08/2018

California Attorney General's Letter to Secretary DeVos Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Borrower Defense

08/02/2018

Preliminary comment to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published on July 31, 2018

Join Our Team

The Project on Predatory Student Lending looks for talented professionals to join our team of passionate advocates. We also seek outstanding candidates for summer internships and fellowships.