My FTC Moment occurred well before I joined the FTC. Since high school, I had been interested in consumer protection law. By college, I knew that I wanted to work in consumer protection at the federal level. However, having grown up without any lawyers in my family, I knew very little about the federal government. Right after college, I applied for a paralegal position at the Department of Justice, with the express purpose of being in the Office of Consumer Litigation. I never made it to OCL; instead, I worked in DOJ’s Environment Division. While I found environmental law meaningful, I remained interested in consumer protection law.

One day, as I was nearing the end of my paralegal term and heading to law school, I noticed on the office directory that part of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection was located in the same building, just one floor below the office where I had been working for a year. I could not believe my luck.

Perhaps fueled by the courage of youth, I went to the 4th floor and knocked on the door. Carol Jennings, an attorney in BCP, answered. I explained to Carol that I was about to enter law school and hoped to work at the FTC someday. Within minutes, Carol introduced me to Lesley Fair, an attorney who happened to be running BCP’s summer law clerk program. It felt like kismet. A few months later, I was a 1L in law school applying for the BCP summer law clerk program; I then spent an amazing summer working for the Divisions of Advertising Practices and Enforcement.

After law school, I went to private practice for a while, but I always dreamed of returning to the FTC. Eight years ago, I finally made it back to the agency—and I have never been happier. The FTC always has felt like home to me.

—Carolyn Hann