Meet CLASI Staff Attorney, Dmitry Pilipis!
I first came to CLASI in 2016 from the Legal Services Corporation of Delaware (LSCD). Between CLASI and LSCD I have been a legal aid advocate for about 6 years now. I became a legal aid attorney because, prior to that time, when I was in private for-profit legal practice, I derived very little joy out of helping one millionaire fight with another millionaire for a nickel and spending a quarter to do it (metaphorically speaking, of course). I am presently a Staff Attorney in CLASI’s Housing Program focusing my practice in subsidized housing eviction defense and housing discrimination matters. I also have some manufactured home related cases.
I am quickly coming up on my 20 year anniversary from when I first started practicing law, having received my law degree magna cum laude from New York Law School in 1999. Prior to coming to CLASI, I had a number of varying legal practices including previous legal aid practice at LSCD, a procurement attorney for the U.S. Department of Defense, and for-profit law firms in Delaware and New York. While I have helped many clients in many cases over the years, the one which strikes me as the starkest example of the need for legal aid work was a case in which I helped a disabled tenant who was put into an illegal sublet Section 8 apartment recover a motorized wheelchair held ransomed by a landlord for allegedly unpaid “rent.” Ultimately, it took the landlord being incarcerated for civil contempt to get her to comply, but my client recovered her personal effects.
A peculiar fact about me is that I immigrated to the United States from the (now former) Soviet Union and am known to make many a joke that starts with, “In Soviet Russia . . . .” If I had a magic wand and could wish for one thing for legal aid it would be greater resources to recruit and retain talented attorneys to do what can best be described as “God’s Work.”