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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Meet Aaron Farmer, VLSP’s June Volunteer of the Month


The Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) is thrilled to honor Aaron A. Farmer for this month’s volunteer spotlight. While Aaron has only been in California since May 2010, he has already made a remarkable impact at VLSP. By volunteering in the Consumer Debt Defense and Education Clinics, Eviction Defense Project, and Housing Negotiation Project, Aaron dedicated over 250 pro bono hours in 2010 alone. We managed to steal a few moments from Aaron’s busy schedule to find out a little about him and what persuades him to volunteer.

Aaron FarmerVLSP: What kind of law do you practice in “real life?”

Aaron Farmer (AF): I handle personal injury, consumer debt, bankruptcy, and landlord tenant matters.

VLSP: How did you hear about VLSP?

AF: On the web, I was looking for pro bono opportunities in San Francisco.

VLSP: What’s an example of a VLSP case that resonates with you?

AF: I represented a group home of recovering alcoholics who were essentially being run out of town by the city council. The city had modified the housing code to make it illegal for more than two unrelated adults to live in the same residential dwelling. Through depositions, and other discovery, I uncovered that the city council purposely changed the housing code to make it impossible for my clients to cohabitate in a therapeutic recovery environment. I was able to recover damages and get the city to issue a conditional use permit to my clients so they could continue living together in a therapeutic recovery environment.

VLSP: How did this case affect you?

AF: Working on that case set the tone for my legal career. Too many people are bulldozed by the legal system because they cannot afford to litigate a righteous claim. What I learned, and continue to implement to this day, is that as long as you litigate meritorious claims, your efforts will be rewarded. Sometimes that is in the form of money, other times it is in the form of uplifting the community around you. Either way, everyone wins.

VLSP: How do your goals and volunteering fit into the overall picture of your life?

AF: One of my personal goals that crosses over into my professional goals is making a difference in my community. I have determined that the best way to accomplish this is by sharing my legal skills to those who need them the most. While I cannot ensure that everyone who comes into San Francisco Superior Court will get dealt a fair hand, I can share my skills to try to level the playing field as much as possible.

VLSP: What is something very few people know about you?

AF: I love hiking! I’m working on completing every hike within two hours of San Francisco. I’m building up to hiking Half Dome in Yosemite by next summer.

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