Volunteer Spotlight: Valery Polyakov

Valery Polyakov
Valery Polyakov

Valery Polyakov is a regular volunteer at our Low-Income Landlord clinic. He is a great asset to the program and now also serves as a Supervising Attorney for the clinic.

Why do you volunteer with VLSC?
I initially started to volunteer because I wanted to get some experience practicing law just after passing the bar exam. Later, I realized that helping others is a tremendously rewarding experience and this is what keeps me going.

Do you have a particularly memorable volunteer experience or VLSC client?
One client became an owner of a home full of non-paying and not well behaving tenants in Oakland. He tried all sorts of ways to convince them to pay rent with no success. The client was desperate and in danger of losing his house due to foreclosure. This was his only source of income. With our help, one-by-one, he was able to evict all of the freeloaders. He is doing really well now!

What other community activities are you involved in?
I participate in the housing negotiation project with SF Bar.

How does having the opportunity to work with an attorney help the clients/litigants?
Landlord-tenant law is very technical and any, no matter how small mistake, is fatal. The whole case will be thrown out of court. It is almost impossible for a lay landlord to evict anyone without attorney’s help.

What are you listening to on your iPhone right now?
Patent law lectures from YouTube.

What is one thing you wish our donors and supporters knew about VLSC?
That we are indispensable and unique. There are a lot of free clinics in the area that help tenants, but no one helps indigent landlords and master tenants.

If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Amarilis Medrano at amarilis@acbanet.org.