Michigan Advocacy Program Awarded $320,000 Pro Bono Expungement Grant

MAP is proud to announce a new two-year $320,906 grant from the Legal Services Corporation’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund to expand its pro bono expungement program. MAP is one of 15 legal aid organizations across the country to be awarded a PBIF grant this year.

MAP will use this new grant to expand access to criminal record expungements for low-income people in 13 counties across south and central Michigan. Through an innovative new Legal Navigator program, non-attorney volunteers from local paralegal programs, law schools, and community groups will work with clients to address the burdensome administrative tasks necessary to apply for expungements, such as gathering court documents and obtaining fingerprints. In addition, the project will add staff capacity to work on identifying, investigating, and strategizing to overcome the legal barriers that clients face in seeking expungements in light of Michigan’s Clean Slate legislation implemented just over a year ago.

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MAP Updates

Michigan Legal Help Turns 10!

Michigan Legal Help (MLH) is celebrating a decade of providing free legal information to litigants representing themselves in Michigan. Since 2012, the MLH website has given access to high-quality legal information, launched 26 self-help centers throughout the state, and built dozens of Do-It-Yourself tools to guide users through legal processes.

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CVLAP Launches Tribal Survivor Project

Recently, CVLAP launched its Tribal Survivor Project, which is aimed at providing free civil legal assistance in family law matters to indigenous individuals who have experienced domestic violence. The attorneys leading this Project, Kendall Dingwall (CVLAP Supervising Attorney) and Sylvia Esparza-Casciano (CVLAP Staff Attorney), are working towards building strong partnerships with each of Michigan's twelve recognized Tribes as well as the various community organizations that serve them. Currently, Kendall and Sylvia are representing clients from the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Bay Mills, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and are barred to practice in each of their Tribal Courts. In addition to coordinating with partner Tribes, CVLAP is working with Michigan Indian Legal Services, Uniting Three Fires Against Violence, Legal Service of Northern Michigan, and the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence to close the access to justice gap for Native survivors so that they are able to find safety and security in their own courts and communities. 

I Do This Work Because...

We are excited to share more responses to the prompt "I do this work because..." from our team!

Nicole Shannon, Systemic Advocacy Attorney with MEJI on why she works in legal aid:

“I do this work because civil rights are fundamental. I was drawn to work at MEJI because disability rights are civil rights. When I terminate a guardianship for a client, the client can make fundamental choices about their life, like where to live or whether to get married. When I help a client access long-term care services, it can mean the difference between staying in their home or community or being forced to move to a nursing home. When I do systemic work like helping draft legislation or briefing an issue in an appellate court, I can do civil rights work that impacts not just the client in front of me, but everyone who might face that same injustice.”

Elizabeth Sahouri, Legal Intern with Michigan Immigrant Rights Center shares why she has chosen to pursue legal aid:

"I do this work because as a child of immigrants, I understand firsthand the lack of preparedness immigrant families have toward their rights. Helping others on their journey and becoming a trusted advocate is incredibly important to me; as a law student, it is something I strive to work toward. The dedication toward quality advocacy, not solely efficient advocacy, is what drew me to the Michigan Advocacy Program and the work that the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center has to offer."

Interested in Legal Aid Work?

Here are some ways you can make a difference!

Join our team

We are seeking new team members who share our passion for providing access to justice to those who need it most. Visit our employment page for full postings.



MAP welcomes volunteer attorneys in each of our counties and programs. To volunteer, please complete our Pro Bono Attorney Registration Form.



Through your contributions, we can provide safety and security to thousands of Michigan families. Visit the link below to make a non-attorney donation, or click here to make an attorney donation.


Resources and Events

 Help us spread the word about these upcoming community events and resources. 


Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm

An immersive art installation that honors the impact of the justice system on youth, adults, and families At the Washtenaw County Trial Court: 101 Huron Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The opening night will feature a collective of artists, advocates, and movement builders seeking to honor the complexity and diversity of the community impact of the criminal justice system. The event is free but RSVPs are required.

Register here

Family Law Assistance Project (FLAP) Clinic

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Who should attend?

Individuals with low income, who are U.S. Citizens or eligible undocumented immigrants; who need legal services in Oakland Country or live in Oakland County; whose circumstances are related to a domestic Personal Protection Order (PPO) or family law issues such as divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, minor guardianship; etc.; and who are not represented by an attorney. 

More info

Research Study Participants Needed!

As part of a local government and community partnership called the Washtenaw Equity Partnership, Vera Institute of Justice is assisting Washtenaw County residents as they seek to identify and address racial disparities in the criminal legal system. Vera is seeking residents to participate in a paid study opportunity.

For more information, contact wep@vera.org

Drivers License Restoration Clinics

The Department of State, along with the Department of Attorney General, DTE Energy, and other partners, is holding free clinics across the state to assist individuals who are eligible to have their licenses restored. Find an upcoming clinic in your area:

More info

Community News

Reflections on my Mom's Eviction: A case study in how senior care facilities are kicking out elderly people, and getting away with it.

Nicole Shannon, MEJI Attorney, speaks on senior care facility evictions in this article.

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Mobile-Home-Park-rent image

Mobile home park residents feel powerless against 'predatory' investor groups.

“One reality that differentiates mobile home park residents from other rental tenants is that these residents who own their homes are more stranded. The nearly prohibitive cost for them to move a home...means that they have nowhere to go,” Jim Shaafsma of MPLP tells the Macomb Daily.

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MAP includes Legal Services of South Central Michigan with five offices in south and central Michigan serving 13 counties and Farmworker Legal Services serving agricultural workers statewide. MAP also provides administrative services to five statewide specialty programs, known collectively as MSAS. These include the Michigan Poverty Law ProgramMichigan Elder Justice InitiativeCrime Victims Legal Assistance ProgramMichigan Legal Help Program, and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. The Legal Services Corporation only supports the activities of the MAP programs, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, and Farmworker Legal Services.