The Housing Justice Project is pleased to honor long-time volunteer Marc Duvall as Volunteer of the Month for his service at the Housing Justice Project in Seattle. Although Duvall often regales us with stories and cracks jokes in the office, with clients he is calm and collected.
It is great to see Duvall’s clear enjoyment of the practice of law rub off on our law student and undergraduate volunteers. While Duvall has been volunteering with the Housing Justice Project for about 15 years, he doesn’t quite remember how long.
We asked him a few questions about volunteering.
Q. Who/what inspires you to volunteer?
A. I want to make sure everyone complies with the rules, even the landlords and their attorneys (and presidential candidates).
Q. What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
A. A client came to the HJP office and claimed to own the property he was living at, but was still being evicted. There was some question as to whether HJP should even take the case at all, but we decided to represent the client since he was low-income and facing eviction.
The client said he owned the property, but the evicting party claimed to have bought the property for about one-third of the actual value. The client’s sister had originally received a bank loan on the property and had a falling out with her brother. The sister was attempting to sell the property and the party who was purchasing began the eviction.
Thanks to HJP’s intervention the court recognized that eviction was not the proper action to take in this case and the case was dismissed.
Q. What originally drew you to HJP?
A. Free CLEs for those who volunteer. The HJP CLEs are the most useful I attend. They are practically useful and not as esoteric as others. I attend every HJP monthly lunchtime CLE.
Q. Words of advice for fellow volunteers?
A. “Run!” Do the best you can. The more you do it, the more you will learn.
Q. Favorite quote?
A. Actually it is my favorite insult — “Would thou were clean enough to spit upon.” William Shakespeare.
Q. Favorite law-related movie?
A.“The Paper Chase.” One of my professors noted it could never happen here because a phone call in Washington cost 15 cents at the time.
Q. Title of the last book you read?
A.Biography of Genghis Kahn.
Q.Favorite Supreme Court justice?
A. Gabriel Duvall. Appointed in 1811. Wrote the shortest dissent. It read, “I dissent.”
The Housing Justice Project (HJP) is a homelessness prevention program providing accessible volunteer-based legal services for low-income tenants facing eviction in King County. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our volunteer webpage at http://www.kcba.org/pbs/volunteerpositions.aspx.