Advisory Board

Project on Predatory Student Lending

The Project on Predatory Student Lending Advisory Board supports the Project team, helping us navigate opportunities and challenges. With these partnerships, we believe that a future without predatory student loan debt is possible and we will work together to meet the challenges ahead.

Members

Jennifer Bennett

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Jennifer Bennett is a Staff Attorney at Public Justice, where she focuses on appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Jennifer litigates precedent-setting appeals on a wide range of issues, including civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer protection, and government transparency. Her recent work includes a unanimous Supreme Court victory on behalf of transportation workers fighting forced arbitration, a Fifth Circuit victory on behalf of a father killed by Texas jailers, and a Ninth Circuit victory vindicating the public’s right to access court records. Jennifer earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University. She clerked for the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Paul Bland

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Paul Bland is the Executive Director at Public Justice, managing and leading its legal and foundation staff, guiding the organization’s litigation docket and other advocacy.  Paul has argued and won more than 40 cases that led to reported decisions for consumers, employees or whistleblowers, including one victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, and one or more cases in six of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the high courts of ten different states. Paul’s Twitter handle is @FPBland. Among other awards, in 2006, he was named recipient of the National Consumer Law Center’s Vern Countryman Award, which “honors the accomplishments of an exceptional consumer attorney who, through the practice of consumer law, has contributed significantly to the well being of vulnerable consumers.”

e. christi cunningham

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e. christi cunningham is a professor at the Howard University School of Law and Director of the Education Rights Center. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, former law clerk to the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, and former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. She served as Associate Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs at the Department of Labor from 2009-2012. As a professor at Howard Law School, she has received awards for teaching and service, directed the Legal Reasoning Research and Writing program, taught Torts and a variety of other subjects including Human Rights in Howard’s South Africa program. She founded a non-profit anti-violence organization that worked to coordinate faith-based social services in Northeast and Southeast Washington, D.C.. In addition, she worked as the Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and mediated disputes between consumers and service providers for the D.C. Department of Mental Health. She is a parent and foster parent and has had staged readings of short plays in theaters in both New York and Washington, D.C.

Alexis Goldstein

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Alexis Goldstein is a writer, activist, and advocate. She currently serves as senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 200 groups that fights for a safer and fairer financial system.

Goldstein was an activist in Occupy Wall Street, co-founding the group Occupy the SEC which focused on improving the Volcker Rule, a regulation meant to decrease risks at Wall Street megabanks. She also helped organize with the Debt Collective during their work with former students of Corinthian and ITT.

She is a contributor to Truthout and has also written for The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Nation. She has also appeared on MSNBC, CNN, HBO’s Realtime with Bill Maher, and PBS Frontline.

Prior to her work in advocacy, she spent seven years working in technology on Wall Street at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank.

Persis Yu

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Persis Yu is a staff attorney at the Nation Consumer Law Center and the director of NCLC's Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project provides information about student loan rights and responsibilities for borrowers and advocates. It also seeks to increase public understanding of student lending issues and to identify policy solutions to promote access to education, lessen student debt burdens and make loan repayment more manageable.

She is a co-author of NCLC’s legal treatise: Student Loan Law.  She has also authored several reports including: Voices of Despair: Student Borrowers Trapped in Poverty When Government Seizes Their Earned Income Tax Credit and Pushed into Poverty: How Student Loan Collections Threaten the Financial Security of Older Americans.

Prior to joining NCLC, Persis was a Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellow at Empire Justice Center in Rochester, New York.  Her fellowship project focused on credit reporting issues facing low-income consumers, specifically in the areas of accuracy, housing and employment.  Persis is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law, and holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College.

Matt Wessler

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Matt Wessler is a principal at Gupta Wessler PLLC, where he focuses on public interest and plaintiffs’-side appellate and complex litigation. Matt handles high-profile cases at all levels of both state and federal court and has argued multiple cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Matt’s practice involves a wide range of areas including class actions, health care, personal injury, employee benefits, consumer protection, preemption, arbitration, antitrust, and banking. He is a Washington DC SuperLawyer in appellate litigation and has been profiled by the National Law Journal for his appellate work on behalf of plaintiffs. Before joining Gupta Wessler in July 2015, Matt spent six years as a staff attorney at Public Justice and clerked on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.