University News

Center for Social Justice and Local Partners Launch Sealing and Expungement Clinics as Part of National Expungement Week

Published: October 01, 2020 | Categories: All News, Law
Scales of Justice

On September 30, the Center for Social Justice partnered with local grassroots organizers and other local legal entities to participate in a National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) virtual clinic, which provided a combination of legal information and advice, fine and fee reduction, education, and other wraparound services for individuals harmed by the war on drugs.

"We will continue these clinics several times per year and are engaging in ongoing pro bono representation through students and other volunteers," stated Center Director Ariel Clemmer.

Local partners included the Hampden County Bar Association, Sigma Pi Phi, Insa and Bulkley Richardson which provided a free legal training for volunteers, as well as social service organizations and partners, including MassHire-Holyoke, One Holyoke, All Inclusive Support Services (A.I.S.S.), and Springfield Works. The coalition provided a combination of legal relief (record clearance and/or sealing of records), fine and fee reduction, education about changes in record clearance policy and other services needed by individuals and communities that have been harmed by the war on drugs.

The success of the clinics once again demonstrated the power of virtual events in attracting greater audiences to CSJ and School of Law programming. "We had over 120 people attend the morning Virtual Clinic via the webinar and Facebook," said Clemmer. "Among those, 67 indicated they were there for legal assistance of some kind, and 21 were able to join private breakout rooms with attorneys to discuss details of their case that day. We also held a legal training for volunteers and attorneys on October 8. Over 40 people attended that training and will be taking on pro bono cases stemming from the September 30 event."

"There has been a high level of interest in continuing this work and holding future clinics several times per year," said Clemmer. The CSJ is currently spearheading the follow-on of pro bono casework coming out of this first event and has planned a spring clinic in late March/early April." Interested volunteers should contact Clemmer at