University of Tulsa College of Law students volunteered to shadow attorneys and help people at Tulsa’s second Expungement Expo. This event is dedicated to helping individuals who have committed criminal offenses in Tulsa County. The expo allows them to get legal advice and the possibility of having their records sealed.
Expungement: second chances
Many employers will not hire someone because of a mark on their record, even if the conviction was in the distant past. “These people have had their lives completely changed from mistakes they made long ago,” said Carter Fox, a Tulsa resident.
The Expungement Expo, however, is about second chances. “Many times, people can’t get jobs if there is a record of a felony or misdemeanor conviction. As a result, such convictions will stay with them and prevent them from becoming employed,” said Karen Grundy, TU Law’s associate professor of legal writing and associate dean for student affairs.
TU students help others get a fresh start
TU Law 3L student Lashandra Peoples-Johnson described the experience of seeing the line of people wrapped around the building where the Expungement Expo was held: “I literally got goosebumps when I saw all the people who were coming to get a fresh start.”
The idea of having TU Law students volunteer did not come from the College of Law’s administrators, but the students themselves. Participation enabled the students to witness first hand what the expungement process involves. They also helped people check in and fill out their Pauper’s Affidavits, which is an application to waive court costs.
Grundy emphasized the importance of events such as the Expungement Expo for law students: “It helps them understand the role that lawyers can play in the community and reaffirms their decision to go to law school and help people from every walk of life. I think it really illustrates the best of the College of Law experience.”