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Criminal Records and Expungement Seminar

Course Catalog Number:
Course Credits:
Course Type:
Course Priority:
Seminar - 3rd Year Priority
Graduation Requirements:
Upper-Level Writing
"W" Writing
Experiential Learning
Full Year Course:

Course Description

This seminar offers a unique opportunity to (1) to directly apply criminal expungement laws and interact with individuals with critical legal needs; (2) to be an integral part of a Harvard Law School research team studying the consequences of expungement; and (3) to satisfy your legal writing requirement or earn three experiential learning credits.

Participation in Harvard Project:

The Harvard Law School Access to Justice Lab (A2J) is conducting important empirical research in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), Duquesne University School of Law, and University of Pittsburgh School of Law are closely collaborating with A2J and Harvard.

Individuals with criminal records have a very difficult time getting a job.  Thus, the belief is that expunging individuals’ criminal records helps those individuals get jobs and successfully transition from incarceration. This research project will study the relationship between expungement and getting a job.

Direct Involvement in Legal Services:

Depending on the particular semester in which the student is enrolled (spring 2019, fall 2019, or spring 2020), students will be directly involved in some combination of outreach to prospective clients, intake of clients regarding their expungement needs and eligibility, and legal representation as necessary for their expungement. In addition, students also may help develop clients’ self-help materials. NLS will train and supervise students. Students should anticipate spending 4-5 hours a week in these activities.

Rochelle McCain helps coordinate the parts of the seminar related to the Harvard project and involvement in legal services and NLS.

Course Offerings 2019-2020

Term Class #
Spring Term 2019-2020


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