Board of Directors

Cathy Lesser Mansfield, Chair
Drake Law School

Cathy Lesser Mansfield is a Professor of Law at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. She teaches a variety of Consumer Law courses, has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and has worked as a consultant for the National Consumer Law Center. She lectures nationally about consumer law issues. Her publications include Literacy & Contract, 13.2 Stanford Law and Policy Review 233 (2002)(with Alan M. White) and The Road to Subprime “HEL” was Paved With Good Congressional Intentions: Usury Deregulation and the Subprime Home Equity Market,” 51 S.C.L. REV. 473 (2000).

Irv Ackelsberg, Treasurer
Langer & Grogan, P.C.

Irv Ackelsberg is a consumer specialist who, until recently, practiced for 30 years with Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia where he served as a Managing Attorney and co-leader of CLS’s Consumer Unit. He has extensive experience in the areas of foreclosure defense, bankruptcy, real estate, student loans and consumer fraud. Of late he has been concentrating most of his work on the predatory lending practices of the subprime mortgage and payday loan industries, including in this work extensive individual representation, as well as legislative and regulatory advocacy on the state and national level. Mr. Ackelsberg has authored a number of articles and is a contributing author of the Pennsylvania Consumer Law treatise. He is a frequent lecturer at training events for lawyers, housing counselors, and for the larger community. He was the 2005 recipient of the Vern Countryman Award, he was the co-recipient of NACA’s 2004 Consumer Attorney of the Year award and won the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2001 Andrew Hamilton Award for exemplary service in the public interest. Irv is currently associated with the firm of Langer & Grogan, P.C. in Philadelphia, and contemplating a run for Philadelphia City Council.

Willard P. Ogburn, Clerk
National Consumer Law Center

Willard P. Ogburn has been the Executive Director of the National Consumer Law Center since 1987. The National Consumer Law Center is a low income advocacy organization, publisher of the major treatises on consumer law, a support center for legal aid programs, and sponsor of the annual Consumer Rights Litigation Conference. The Center is sometimes called ‘the nation’s consumer law experts.’ Mr. Ogburn has presented and written widely on consumer law. He has served as Deputy Commissioner of Banks in Massachusetts; in the Executive Office of the President; with Congress’ Legislative Reference Service; in the Law Reform Unit of Cleveland Legal Aid; as a member and Chair of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council; and on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Federation of America and the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He was awarded the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and the William J. Proxmire Lifetime Achievement Award by the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers in 2001.

Maeve Elise Brown
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates

Maeve Elise Brown is Co-Director and Co-Founder of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), an agency dedicated to protecting low and moderate income Californians from discrimination and economic abuses, particularly in the realm of housing. HERA uses a combination of strategies—direct legal services for victims of economic abuses and discrimination, including predatory and unfair lending, outreach and education, technical assistance to housing counseling, fair housing and other agencies, clinical training of law students in these subjects, trainings for professionals, policy work and economic development.

Over her 18 years as a public interest attorney, Maeve Elise Brown has conducted an extensive amount of litigation and other advocacy on behalf of low-income residents, as well as community education and trainings for a wide variety of different audiences. Over the course of her career, Maeve Elise has worked for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the East Bay Community Law Center where she directed the Housing and Community Economic Development units, and the National Housing Law Project where she directed the office’s Section 8 Homeownership, Predatory Lending and Rural Housing Service Foreclosure Prevention Initiatives. Her areas of expertise include Source of Income Discrimination, Credit Discrimination and Voucher Utilization issues. Ms. Brown has also published on all of these topics.

Mark Budnitz
Georgia State University College of Law

Georgia State College of Law

Mark E. Budnitz is a professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta where he teaches courses on Consumer Protection, Electronic Commerce, Payment Systems, and Sales. He is the author or co-author of four books, including the National Consumer Law Center’s Consumer Banking and Payments Law (Third edition) and The Law of Lender Liability. Mr. Budnitz also has written over twenty legal articles on consumer protection, including a recent article on the need for a uniform law on payment systems, published by Boston University School of Law’s Annual Review of Banking and Financial Law. An article on prepaid telephone cards that he co-authored is forthcoming in the Consumer Law Review. He is on the Board of Directors of the National Consumer Law Center and Atlanta Legal Aid Society and a member of the American Law Institute. He is the former Executive Director of the National Consumer law Center.

Kathleen Engel
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Professor Engel is an Associate Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. She received her A.B. cum laude from Smith College and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Texas School of Law. After graduation, Prof. Engel clerked for Judge Homer Thornberry of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, and then became an associate with Burnham & Hines in Boston where she primarily represented plaintiffs in civil rights, and housing and employment discrimination cases. Professor Engel has taught previously at Case Western Reserve University Law School and Northeastern University School of Law.

Professor Engel’s research focuses on predatory lending and housing discrimination. Together with Professor Patricia McCoy, Professor Engel has published numerous articles on predatory lending. Professor Engel’s teaching areas are: torts, civil procedure, employment law, employment discrimination, and a seminar on predatory lending.

Janne O’Donnell
A Wee Bit of Ireland

Janne O’Donnell began speaking against credit card company policies in 1998 when her son Sean committed suicide. Sean was over $12,000 in debt to credit card companies at the time of his death. O’Donnell has lobbied the Oklahoma Senate to ban credit card solicitations on college campuses. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 60 Minutes II and Good Morning America to make people aware of the dangers of unlimited credit. O’Donnell also tells her story in James Scurlock’s forthcoming documentary about the lending industry, Maxed Out. Maxed Out is collaborating with AFFIL to promote awareness about these issues.

After working in the market research field for 22 years, O’Donnell opened, an online Irish import store. The store gives her a wonderful, tax deductible, opportunity to visit Ireland once a year. She has a BS in Business from Eastern Montana College and a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Ms. O’Donnell makes her home in Norman, Oklahoma with her husband of 35 years, John Moyer. Her 25 year old son, Tim also lives in Norman. O’Donnell shares her home with 3 cats and one dog.

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