Hello Friends and Supporters! 

Below we highlight two great criminal record expungement outcomes, link to a free lawyer training and a new, Spanish-language client handout, hear from board member Jenny McNeill, welcome our summer interns, and bid a big “congrats” to our executive director. As always, thank you for taking a moment to catch up with us. We wish you a safe, healthy Memorial Day and a happy beginning to the summertime!

In this issue:
  • Client Story: Expungement opening doors
  • By The Numbers: Our service to seniors, veterans, and survivors of domestic violence
  • Pro Bono Clinics: Successful expungement fairs in GR and Benton Harbor
  • Happening Now: Homeowner community education on 6/23, lawyer training video available online
  • From the Board: Legal aid’s impact in family courts
  • Welcome, 2021 summer interns!
  • An anniversary for our Executive Director
Client Story: An Expungement to Open Employment Doors
Daryl is a union worker living in Southwest Michigan. Over 20 years ago, Daryl got into legal trouble. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor and a felony, completed his sentencing, and tried to move on with his life.
Even though he’d put these episodes behind him, the guilty pleas remained on Daryl’s criminal record for over two decades. His career choices were limited with this dark cloud constantly following him. Daryl came to Legal Aid seeking criminal record expungements. He wanted to close out that old chapter in his life and enhance his future employability.

We were able to confirm Daryl’s eligibility for the expungements and prepare his expungement application for the court, which included a letter of reference from his pastor. The court approved the expungement, and Daryl’s on his way to more open doors and advancement with future jobs.
Pro Bono Expungement Clinics
Last month we partnered with the Black & Brown Cannabis Guild to host Expungement Resource Fairs in Grand Rapids and Benton Harbor. The events served over 100 people, with most qualifying to have at least one conviction expunged. More than 40 pro bono attorneys volunteered, pre-screening registrants and helping them complete court forms. 

Volunteer Chuck Burpee, of Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, said the “clinic was wonderfully rewarding. I worked with…people who had done one or two unfortunate things years or even decades ago, and have since lived lives to be proud of…. One woman had tears in her eyes at the prospect of having a 20+ year-old misdemeanor set aside.”
By The Numbers: Clients & Household Members Served in 2020
...in cases involving
seniors
...in cases involving veterans
...in cases involving domestic violence
Happening Now: New Resources
From the Board
LAWM board member Jenny L. McNeill is a Referee in Muskegon County Family Court. We asked her what she has observed about legal aid’s role in the family courts:

“So many individuals cannot afford attorneys, and try to represent themselves, often making dire mistakes. Legal Aid attorneys have been essential in helping individuals navigate the court system and protect their families.”
Welcome, Summer Interns!
We are delighted to welcome six summer interns to our Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph offices! Pictured L to R are: Elizabeth Sachs, Alex Kremer, Jonbrielle Gill, Maria Murphy, Renee Maring, and Emma Bykerk.
An Anniversary!
Join us in making justice real for low-income Michiganders!
Every gift changes lives. Thank you!