A Salute to the Consumer Litigation Five Star General

Max Gardner

Consumer law attorney, mentor and educator, Oliver Max Gardner III recently announced that he is retiring. His passion, diligent research and unmatched expertise has served as a north star in consumer law for so many of us.

From building a community of like-minded enthusiasts through the renowned Bankruptcy Boot Camp and cultivating an army of consumer litigators to fiercely defending and advocating for consumer rights and raising the bar of possibilities for consumer defense, Max’s personal and professional impact on consumer law will be greatly missed.

As you step into well-deserved retirement and as a member of your consumer litigation army, Max, I salute you.

Max has enthusiastically practiced law in North Carolina for nearly 50 years. Among his many career accomplishments, he has successfully tried 100of 102 jury trials that went to final verdict.

“I have always been an advocate for the average Joe’s of this world, the hourly workers, the textile workers, the pay it over folks and all of the masses of folks who have been screwed by the Banksters, the sub-prime lenders, the pay day vultures, and the rent to repo crowd, just to mention a few,” explains Gardner.

Max, for all those incredible victories that gave a loudening voice to consumers, I salute you.

Although there are numerous reasons for his incredible success, I have observed three discernable traits. The first is that Max is the “subject matter expert” when he is called to action. Secondly, he is always well prepared and organized. Third, and most importantly, is his uncanny knack for presenting complex issues in a simple, digestible way.

That knack for explaining complex issues is why he has become the sought after expert, mentor and educator for so many consumer attorneys. He is a champion for consumers; but he also shares his expertise so other consumer bankruptcy attorneys can further the cause.

Max’s innate passion for furthering consumer rights defense and education is perhaps best exemplified in the founding of Max Gardner’s Consumer Defense Academy and, most notably, the Bankruptcy Boot Camp.

Max has provided education and training for thousands of attorneys who want to be on the leading edge of consumer law. I am proud to say I am one of them – having attended six of Max’s Consumer Defense seminars since January 2010. They all rank among the best legal courses I have received in all my years of board certification and continuing legal education.

Max, for all the invaluable information that built an army of best-in-class consumer attorneys, I salute you.

As he galvanized more and more consumer advocates through his academy, Max developed a system of centralized communications and shared documents.By creating and maintaining numerous list-serves and document storage, he enabled graduates to share information freely and quickly, essentially providing an extension of his courses as we continued to learn and share best practices.

Max, for your efforts to build community, centralize communications and enable document sharing among your army, I salute you.

I have made numerous colleagues and friends in my nearly twenty years of practice. There are so many individuals in my legal community that I admire, respect, and hold in the highest regard. However, there are only a few that have ever truly inspired me to be a better attorney for the individuals that I represent.

“It has been a true honor for me to have helped so many who but for lawyers like us would have lost it all. I have always tried to do the best I can, every day I can and for everyone I can,” says Gardner. “And I feel real joy and peace in my heart for what I have accomplished.”

For sharing your contagious passion for our field and admirable fighting spirit that spawned an army of like-minded followers,I salute you.

Max, I hope that you enjoy retirement. Know that I will continue to advocate for consumer rights and educate and encourage other consumer attorneys to do the same.


“Bankruptcy Boot Camp graduate and proud soldier of the Max Gardner Army”, Slocum Law (Franklin, TN)

Keith Slocum owns Slocum Law, a leading-edge consumer law firm that provides consumer bankruptcy, mortgage litigation, FDCPA, FCRA and student loan legal services.

Previously, Keith served an attorney with the firm of Harlan, Slocum and Quillen from 2009 to 2023. He earned his license to practice law in 2003 and became board certified in bankruptcy law in 2008. He attended Middle Tennessee State University and Nashville School of Law.

He is a subject matter expert on mortgage advocacy and advises clients and colleagues on the complex field of mortgage litigation.

Slocum is married with two boys. In his free time, he coaches youth sports and travels with his family.

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