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The Incredible True Story of Yuliya Pollack: How a Ukrainian Immigrant Became a Legal Powerhouse

"I’ve overcome many obstacles through my dedication to a better life.."

The importance of resilience is fairly simple, but often overlooked. Resilience is what makes you strong. It motivates you, and your drive for success. Resilience is what makes us, as a population, grow into a developed nation. Without resilience, humans would be doomed to live life on a downward slope.

I’ve overcome many obstacles through my dedication to a better life, and with a lot of resilience. Since I was just a kid, I was overcoming obstacles. Nothing was ever given to me easily. From the time my father died, when I was only 9 years old, to the time I immigrated to the US, at 15, to overcoming language and social barriers in a public high school, where I was constantly tormented for not fitting in and even all the way to law school with 2 kids, to the present, where I’ve opened my own law firms, and raised 4 kids, I have constantly been pushing through.

When I was 15, my mom decided it would be best for my upbringing, to move from Ukraine to the US. This was due to a great rise in criminal activity, as well as intense religious persecution. We had to sneak out in the middle of the night, to avoid being robbed of the things valuable enough to bring with us. Our luggage consisted of 2 small suitcases, for the both of us, and a total of $2,000 to use as an investment for an American future. I only had a few pairs of clothes that I wore day after day.

My mom and I worked extremely hard, cleaning stadiums every night, going to school in the morning, and after school cleaning tables at a restaurant. Through all this hardship, I even managed to maintain a very high GPA.

From the day we came to the US, my mother and I never complained. I owe my thankfulness to my Ukrainian upbringing, where we didn’t complain, we took what was given to us, and we made the best out of it. I truly believed that my life was amazing. It wasn’t hard at all, it was wonderful.

After graduating from high school and going to college, I got married at the age of 19. I had my first child at 21 and second child at 23, while studying for my bachelors degree in political science with a minor in criminal justice. Throughout my studies, I only took one semester off per each child, for their birth, and to mother them for a few months after. While studying for my Bachelor’s degree, I would sneak out to the bathroom, to pump, to keep my babies healthy.

"It was hard work, but looking back, it was absolutely worth it..."

After obtaining my bachelor's degree, and a few years later, my husband and I went on to law school, first to Cooley Law School, in Michigan, which was a 5-hour drive from Buffalo, NY where we lived. As a result, every weekend for a whole year, we had to drive to Michigan, stay in a hotel for two nights, pay for babysitters, and have our parents watch our kids, while we went to further our education.

It was hard work, but looking back, it was absolutely worth it because after a year of studying at Cooley, my husband and I transferred to the University at Buffalo, where we graduated from. My main reason for choosing the occupation that I did was something I strongly believe in. Something my mom taught me throughout my childhood, and all the way into adulthood, is that every woman should have a stable occupation that they can always depend on. I especially wanted to be an example to my children. An example of independence and power. A leader who proved to them that they can always count on themselves. This is something I will forever stand by.

Even though we had our life in Buffalo and a good career there, we decided to move to Florida 7 years ago. I had to work hard and start all over again, studying for the new bar exam in Florida. After obtaining my Florida License, I got the job at the State Attorney’s Office. It was everything I ever wanted! I felt like my American Dream came true. A couple of years later, I gave birth to two more children, and it got a little challenging to maintain an 8-5 job. In my family's best interest, my husband and I decided to open our own law firm, where I work now and enjoying every day of my life helping people.

The first law firm that we opened is Pollack and Pollack Law, where my husband specializes in immigration and personal injury, while I focus on criminal defense and family law. The second one is The Divorce Doctors, where I solely concentrate on divorces, along with everything that comes with getting a divorce.

The most important take away is that: Life brings about many obstacles, and while they might seem hard to manage, you will never be given anything you can’t handle. Through perseverance and resilience, you will overcome all challenges, and learn from them. Through maintaining goals, and striving to achieve them, you will grow and become more successful. The only thing stopping you, is you.

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