Summary: Paul Bland recounts in his interview that he started his engagement with residential mortgages as an attorney for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TPLJ), where he worked on class action settlements that delivered minimal benefits for consumers. During his time at TPLJ, he witnessed an increasing use of arbitration clauses in contracts that made consumers travel long distances to appear at arbitration hearings, and also imposed costs on the losing party. Since June 2010, these requirements became more wide-spread in consumer contracts, though in some cases there has been a move to make the terms less unfriendly to consumers.. Bland concludes that regulatory failure and overreliance on private enforcement of consumer protection laws dramatically curtailed legal avenues for consumers in controversies against lenders.
Biography: F. Paul Bland, Jr. is the Executive Director of Public Justice. He leads Public Justice’s legal and foundation staff, guiding the organization’s litigation docket and other advocacy. Bland 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 has won one or more cases in six of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the high courts of ten different states. Bland has worked with the organization since 1997, as a staff attorney until becoming Executive Director in 2014. Bland is a 1986 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a 1983 magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a B.A. in Government.