When a legislative committee takes up a bill that will affect consumers, you don’t have to look far to find Alice Vickers. Whether it is pointing out how a foreclosure proposal will affect consumers’ ability to have their day in court or how a motor vehicle sales proposal could limit consumers’ rights, Vickers is raising her hand to be heard.
That’s why the Consumer Protection Law Committee gave the 2013 Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year award to Vickers. She received the award in a ceremony in the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Bondi praised Vickers for her work, particularly fighting for families facing foreclosure. In a ceremony attended by Vickers’ husband, John Davis, her son, Jack Vickers-Davis, and John Yanchunis, chair of the Consumer Protection Law Committee, Bondi urged Vickers to continue her advocacy because it is important.
Vickers works with several nonprofits, including Florida Consumer Action Network. Most of her work is before the Florida legislative and executive branches speaking up for consumer protection regarding foreclosure, debt collection, garnishment, auto fraud, and tenant rights. She was a legal services attorney for 28 years, working at Three Rivers Legal Services, Gainesville, Atlanta Legal Aid, Atlanta, and with Florida Legal Services in Tallahassee.
When asked about her consumer work, Vickers said: “I found consumer protection and housing to be interesting areas of law and found it rewarding to help families with a variety of financial issues, which affect all areas of life — housing stability, children, marriage, and health. When I began doing legislative and policy work, it was evident that for many consumer protection issues, there was little representation at the Legislature, particularly as compared to the overwhelming amount of money paid to lobbyists to advocate business interests. I feel it is important that the consumer have a voice in the legislative process.”
Her peers agree. Five nominated her for the award. Wrote Lynn Drysdale of Jacksonville: “Over the last 20-plus years Alice has established herself as an effective, reliable, credible, and professional voice of Florida consumers. . . She is there every day, all year around, keeping us informed, meeting legislators, creating and maintaining long-term relationships with legislators and legislative committee staffers.”
Wrote Matt Weidner: “. . . . she works tirelessly and as if every single meeting and phone call is the most important one in her week. She truly is a tireless champion and carries a passion and an enthusiasm that represents the very highest qualities of our profession.”
Taras Rudnitsky added: “Alice’s fearless and outstanding legislative advocacy has helped to preserve Florida consumer rights in areas such as auto fraud, tenants’ rights, homeowners’ rights in mortgage foreclosure cases, and many other areas. Without Alice’s dedication, many more Floridians would have been victimized by unscrupulous car dealers, landlords, banks, finance companies, and other businesses.”