Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack on Thursday announced five traveling clinics to help those seeking to clear their criminal records, which can help them find housing or continue their educations.
“We are a nation of laws, and our expungement laws support giving people second chances,” said McCormack. “With a clean record, people can better provide for their families and achieve their dreams.”
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law received a grant from the Michigan State Bar Foundation to fund the clinics. The clinic will take eight law students to rural counties — Gratiot, Wexford, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Crawford and Otsego — to provide a one-stop shop clinic for each of those five jurisdictions. Local judges, law enforcement, volunteer attorneys and students will use Michigan Legal Help resources to screen eligible applicants, and assist them in completing applications for expungements.
The clinic also helps to secure hearing dates and filing applications with the court. A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan Law School found that people who received expungements saw their wages increase by an average of 25% within two years.
“Courts and judges must be accessible and must engage with their local communities,” said Clinton County Judge Michelle Rick. “The process of applying for an expungement can be a daunting task, so hosting these clinics to help applicants navigate the process is rewarding for everyone involved, while increasing access and community engagement. As a result, courts earn public trust and confidence in our legal system.”
For more information about the clinics, contact Nicholas Schroeck, director of clinical programs and associate professor at 313-596-9817, or Rebecca Simkins Nowak, clinical program coordinator at 313-596-9409.