Francis & Mailman Establishes Fellowship in Consumer Law At Community Legal Services


This fellowship funding will support Joanna Darcus’ work to bring economic justice to low-income consumer debtors confronting predatory debt collection practices

PHILADELPHIA – February 18, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Community Legal Services (CLS) is pleased to announce that Francis & Mailman (link is external), a leading consumer rights and protection law firm in Philadelphia, has established a fellowship in consumer law at CLS and has named Supervising Attorney Joanna Darcus as the fellowship’s recipient. CLS, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, has a long history of excellence in consumer litigation.

Attorneys James Francis and Mark Mailman of Francis & Mailman created this fellowship to support the cutting edge consumer rights work that CLS does to protect low-income consumers and fight predatory debt collection practices. This fellowship will support Ms. Darcus’ consumer litigation work, as well her policy work advocating on behalf of student loan borrowers.

By establishing this fellowship, Francis & Mailman have increased the chances that a low-income defendant will obtain economic justice. Low-income consumers are often subject to predatory debt collection practices. Without a lawyer, many low-income people cannot defend themselves in these actions as they are not aware of the strong defenses they could raise. Fellowships like this help consumers obtain lawyers, so they have a fair chance of defending themselves and avoiding predatory debt collection.

Francis & Mailman’s funding of Ms. Darcus’ student loan advocacy is especially important. Often, low-income student loan borrowers try to use education to increase their earnings, only to find that educational debt keeps them from reaching their goals. Through her fellowship, Ms. Darcus will continue her national policy work to improve student loan borrowing and debt collection practices.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that Francis & Mailman has provided me,” said Joanna Darcus. “I look forward to continuing my work, curtailing predatory debt collection, protecting student loan borrowers, and pushing for systemic change,” she added.

Francis & Mailman founders James Francis and Mark Mailman said of the fellowship, “We are very happy that our firm was able to make a contribution that directly advances CLS’ mission. We hope this provokes other members of the private bar to do likewise.”

Said CLS Executive Director Deborah Freedman, “This fellowship is a powerful way for Francis & Mailman to show their commitment to justice for all. Not only will it support CLS’ work financially, but it also a strong statement in support of our work on behalf of low-income Philadelphians. We are deeply appreciative of the firm’s generous gift.”

CLS has worked closely with Francis & Mailman in the past, partnering with the firm on class action lawsuits, including a recent lawsuit that challenged a background screener’s reporting of expunged cases and one where the leading retail theft database was shut down as a result of the litigation.

About Community Legal Services, Inc.:

Community Legal Services, Inc. was established by the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1966. Since then, CLS has provided legal services to more than one million low-income Philadelphia residents, representing them in individual cases and class actions, and advocating on their behalf for improved regulations and laws that affect low-income Philadelphians. As the city’s largest provider of free legal services, CLS assists more than 11,500 of Philadelphia’s poorest residents with their legal problems each year. For more information, contact 215-981-3700 or visit

About Francis & Mailman, P.C.:

Francis & Mailman, P.C., is a law firm located in center city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that concentrates in consumer protection litigation. Founded in 1998, the firm’s goal is to provide exceptional advocacy to consumers subjected to unfair business, industry and trade practices. The firm represents consumers in individual actions, as well as through class action lawsuits, in the areas of unlawful consumer credit reporting, employment background screening, fair debt collection, unlawful robo calls, unfair and deceptive trade practices litigation, and other consumer matters. For more information, contact 215-735-8600 or visit (link is external).

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