Know Your Rights: Carolina Law Students Host Debt Collection Seminar

November 15, 2023

On Saturday, November 18th, two UNC School of Law students will host an educational seminar to inform Durham residents about their rights when dealing with debt collectors.

3L Anna Fraser
3L Grace Nelmes

The “Know Your Rights” event is being organized by third-year law students Anna Fraser and Grace Nelmes, under the supervision of Professor Kate Sablosky Elengold. The seminar will take place at 1pm at the Durham Public Library main branch.

Fraser and Nelmes have planned this seminar in collaboration with Legal Aid of North Carolina – Durham to provide community members with valuable information on consumer rights. The presentation will cover topics including different types of debts, common debt collection practices, and legal tools to protect consumer rights. 

“We are so excited that we have the opportunity to work with Legal Aid of North Carolina as part of our clinic program,” said Nelmes. “We learn so much in law school and to be able to share some of that knowledge with the community and provide people tools to protect their rights is a very rewarding experience. We hope anyone who may be navigating debt or just wants to learn more about the basics of debt collections and their legal rights as a consumer come to this event.”

“Both the Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Economic Justice clinic take clients, pro bono, who need to assert their rights against abusive and predatory debt collection practices,” Elengold continued. “We are hopeful that this presentation will help individuals know what collectors can and cannot do and know when to reach out for legal assistance.”

Professor Elengold, who leads the Economic Justice Clinic, emphasized the importance of these issues. “It’s so important for people to understand their legal rights, including when a debt collector is seeking payment,” she said. “Federal and state law provide guardrails to protect against oppressive, harassing, and illegal collection techniques. But when individuals do not know about those guardrails, they can neither push back themselves nor seek out legal assistance to support their rights.” 

This event allows Carolina Law students to apply their learning in service of the local Durham community. Due to limited seating, residents dealing with debt collection matters are encouraged to register soon to attend and learn about their rights. Interested attendees can sign up for the seminar here.