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Volunteer Spotlight Published June 23, 2022

Lee Klein

Meet June’s Volunteer of the Month

woman with dark hair tied up and arms crossed with blue shirt

“Every week, I log onto VIP’s website and look for available cases,” says Lee Klein, our June Volunteer of the Month. “I take whatever fits into my schedule. I’m really enjoying it.” Lee left a legal practice as an attorney in Israel to move to Pennsylvania seven years ago. She learned of VIP while looking to restart her career in Philadelphia, and she hasn’t looked back.

Since starting with VIP in early 2022, Lee found a love for working with clients in eviction defense cases. “I love real estate, and I thought if there was an area where I could really give back to the community, it’s here, where people are vulnerable and in danger of eviction,” she says. “I was new to eviction defense cases, but with my general understanding of the law and all the knowledge that was available to me through VIP, I decided to help tenants without representation.”

Lee is an incredible volunteer who isn’t afraid to use VIP’s resources to her advantage, whether it is to bounce strategy ideas off of staff or to get a deeper understanding of the law.” says Landlord-Tenant Staff Attorney Vijaya Singh, who works closely with Lee.

Lee recalls one case that is close to her heart. The client’s name was Ayana, and her landlord was not taking care of her residence. Ayana was legally withholding rent until the house was habitable. As in many of these cases, the landlord tried to force an eviction. That’s when Lee and VIP stepped in.

“This was the purest example of a belligerent landlord taking advantage of a tenant. People like Ayana deserve free legal counsel and representation, because their voices cannot be heard. And in Ayana’s  case, you just need two minutes to see her living conditions to understand she was being taken advantage of.”

Lee worked with Ayana through multiple court hearings, something that is unusual for landlord/tenant cases. But Lee persisted, ultimately receiving judgment for the client. This means that Ayana had no eviction judgment against her. “It’s little effort for me. But for people like Ayana, it’s a huge help,” Lee said. “When I’m at court, I observe these tenants that are coming unrepresented and sometimes being taken advantage of by landlords. I can help prevent that.”

“Through representing tenants in these cases, I can help keep people out of the homelessness cycle, mitigate their expenses, and even help them understand their rights as tenants. And I’m happy to be able to give back in this way.”