“In every elderly client, I see my own parents and grandparents. I get to learn about their lives and their families. In many ways, Bayview is similar to my home in Romania: access to legal aid is limited, and if we don’t help, no one else will.”
One time, he said he was going to pick her up from school but he never came. I had to stop what I doing and rush to get her. It was terrifying, learning that my young daughter had been left all alone. I worried for her safety.
“I saw how access to legal help can change someone’s life and lift them out of poverty. It was then that I realized I wanted to go into public interest law.”
“Since childhood, I’ve seen the barriers that keep people from what’s rightfully theirs. Now I get to help these people fight back.”
“We went outside our roles as attorneys and just interacted with our clients as human beings.”
“That’s when it hit me: if something were to happen to my health, I would be completely unprepared.”
I saw a lot of poverty and economic depression growing up in Ohio. Now that I am a lawyer, I’m able to see how much this experience has influenced me. I want to use my law degree to help low-income communities and to ensure that people, like my clients, get the treatment they deserve.
To me, it’s all about using my education and experiences to make the law work for everyone. That San Francisco was and remains very segregated has always bothered me. I want to fight this and protect underserved communities. I’ve always wanted to go into social justice work, and that’s where I want to stay.
“One day my landlord told me that she was selling the building. When the new owners came, they said my kids and I had to leave. They wanted to kick me out of my own home. I was lost on what to do: I didn’t want to move, but I didn’t want an eviction on my record, especially when I had done nothing wrong.”
Open Door Legal doesn’t help the community as outsiders; they’re integrated into the community. They have shown me what it means to be empathetic and understanding. I’m able to see what it looks like to treat people as humans and to serve, respect, and represent people even though they may not have a ton of money or power.
My landlord gave me a 30-day notice, saying he was going to move in. He harassed me and made my life miserable. He left me without heating for months. He let me live with dead rodents and refused to patch a hole in the roof. I went to the Mayor’s office for help, and they referred me to an org who said they couldn’t help me. But walking down Third Street, I saw the sign for Open Door Legal and decided to come in.
One of my first cases was against a major insurance company who was accusing our clients of fraud. I’ve never seen someone treated as bad as our clients were. The way the adverse counsel acted … I thought it was reserved for documentaries from 50 years ago. This is supposed to be San Francisco in 2017!