May 2021 Volunteer of the Month – Stephanie Guevara

 
 
Stephanie Guevara began volunteering with MVLS in 2019 and handles Landlord Tenant, Labor and Employment, Consumer Protection, Family Law and Immigration issues. She has taken several cases that were reassignments from previous volunteers, where she turned things around and got a successful outcome for a client with a tough case!
 

Read on to learn why Stephanie volunteers:

 

  • Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?

Because I absolutely love to put my skill to work for clients who otherwise will have to go unrepresented due to lack of funds to pay market price for an attorney.

 

  • Do you have any standout stories?

My first client from MVLS, who was blind, had been trying to divorce her estranged husband for 20 years.  She tried to get a divorce through another attorney but they backed out when the estranged husband was avoiding service.  After using a private process server who reduces rates for MVLS clients, we were able to get the affidavit of evasion necessary to support a grant of a motion for alternative service.  She was extremely happy for how easy it was for us after that!  She wanted to invite me to a “divorce party” she was going to throw but the divorce was granted during the COVID quarantine.

 

  • What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?

The clients are genuinely grateful and happy to achieve their legal goals.  I love sharing the moments of success and joy with them.

 

  • Why should other attorneys do pro bono?

It builds stronger people and therefore a stronger society.  I feel all of us sometimes take for granted how blessed we are to be able to have the capacity to finish college, finish law school, pass the bar, pass the character fitness exam, and go into practice.  We forget about the people who are completely unable to manage their own legal affairs due to lack of knowledge and skill. 

So why should attorneys not do pro bono and watch as clients who lose inheritance, lose shady debt collection cases, can’t divorce their spouse and die, leaving their things to people they do not love, have no will, lose their home in foreclosure, can’t get their security deposit back, or get evicted from their home?  Especially if we could have done something but didn’t?  We can’t be that cold as human beings with special  skills.

 

  • Where do you see the impact civil legal services in the next ten years?

Mortgage interest rates are incredibly low, which is driving today’s housing prices higher.  When the market corrects itself, many people will find themselves underwater.  Foreclosures could go up as a result.  Also, the evictions will be starting up someday soon and this will cause a mass of people to lose their rental homes due to high arrearages built up over the pandemic.  As children return to school, the schools will have to honor IEPs completely, so education cases will likely be on the rise. 

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