Detroit Mercy Law students help clients at Driver’s License Restoration and Expungement Clinic

March 16, 2022

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law students gained hands-on experience helping clients under the supervision of volunteer attorneys at the Driver’s License Restoration and Expungement Mini Clinic offered in partnership with Lakeshore Legal Aid and Southwest Immigrant Rights Center on Friday, March 11.

Within hours of sending out the call for student volunteers, the clinic was fully staffed by Detroit Mercy Law students. Prior to the clinic, students completed training and took the student lawyer's oath. Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michelle Rick '91 administered the oath.

During the clinic, students assisted individuals in determining their eligibility for conviction expungements and driver's license restorations. Students staffed virtual rooms with volunteer attorneys who received a file with the driving and criminal records of individuals looking for assistance. Students reviewed the records and assisted in interviewing clients.

The clinic assisted 26 individuals. Nearly everyone who requested assistance from the mini clinic was eligible for driver's license restoration and expungement. Recent changes to Michigan law expanded the eligibility to set aside a conviction and limited issues that result in driver's license suspension.

“As a first-year law student, I wanted to get hands-on lawyering opportunities to enhance my law school experience and to help to those in need,” said Olivia Dillaha '24, who participated in the mini clinic. “I learned about the criminal expungement process, which I had little knowledge about prior to the clinic. I also had time to connect with my supervising attorney to learn about her career path and receive advice about law school and career experiences.”

“The volunteer attorneys raved about our students' knowledge of the law and professionalism during the clinic,” said Nicholas Schroeck, Associate Dean of Experiential Education and Associate Professor at Detroit Mercy Law.

Detroit Mercy Law, inspired by the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, educates lawyers who are committed to the pursuit of justice, service to others, and the highest standards of the legal profession. Each year, Detroit Mercy Law students provide over 35,000 hours of pro bono legal services to residents of Detroit and the surrounding communities.