Criminal Records and Expungement SeminarClass Term:
Spring Term 2019-2020Catalog Number:
3 (2 Contact, 0 Field)Graduation Requirements:
Seminar - 3rd Year PriorityFull Year Course:
Course Requirements: This is a hybrid course requiring of all students both-- --Research paper and presentation; and --Participation in Harvard research project, including direct involvement in legal services.
Students can satisfy their Legal Research and Writing requirement by researching and writing on a topic related to the seminar in employment law, criminal law, or civil rights law. The paper topic must be approved by the professor and in compliance with the law school legal writing requirements. In the alternative, students can receive three of their required six Experiential Learning credits.
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.