The Berkeley Law School at the University of California announced the creation of a major new consumer center, funded by a generous 3.5 million dollar grant from noted attorney Elizabeth Cabraser.  The Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice is intended to become a national leader in the study, research, and practice of consumer law.

Elizabeth Cabraser is nationally known as a leading advocate for consumer rights.  She has “served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in scores of federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings, including multi-state tobacco litigation, the Exxon Valdez disaster, breast implants, Fen-Phen (Diet Drugs), Vioxx, Toyota sudden acceleration, numerous securities/investment fraud cases, and Holocaust litigation.” https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/elizabeth-cabraser/

Here is some information about the new Center from her law firm’s website:

“Consumer law is at work all around us, every day. But it’s almost invisible in law schools,” says Cabraser. . . “This center will actively help protect people in the modern marketplace.”

The new Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice will deliver research and analysis to fuel meaningful policy change. It will file amicus briefs in consumer cases in appellate courts nationwide, provide input to legislatures and regulatory agencies on behalf of low-income consumers, increase student opportunities for hands-on consumer policy work, and produce white papers.

https://www.lieffcabraser.com/2018/02/berkeley-law-launches-path-breaking-consumer-law-center/

This is a remarkable and important development.  As one author has noted, “Part of the center’s mission will be to help define the sometimes hazy parameters of consumer law—which can include everything from debt collection abuses and inflated drug prices to false advertising and sub-prime auto lending—and to identify key issues that demand attention.”  Cohen, A, “Major Gift Launches New Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice,” February 13, 2018, https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/major-gift-launches-new-berkeley-center-consumer-law-economic-justice/

All of us are consumers.  And all too often, law which protect us from unscrupulous practices are weak, unenforceable or non-existent.  As Cabraser put it, “Every one of us lives a daily life as a consumer, and marketplace fairness is a universal right; for those struggling economically, it is a basic necessity.”

Congratulations to Berkeley Law, and to Attorney Cabraser for her vision and generosity.