Detroit Mercy Law’s traveling expungement clinic serves 200 people across Michigan

May 26, 2023

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s traveling expungement clinic served nearly 200 people across the state of Michigan in Saginaw, Sault Ste. Marie, and Marquette from May 15-19. The traveling expungement clinic included seven students and three professors, including one alumna judge.  

The purpose of the clinic was to help Michigan residents with expungement, which is the process of seeking removal of a person’s criminal conviction from their records. At the clinic, law students and supervising attorneys reviewed clients’ Michigan criminal record, known as an ICHAT, and advised them on eligibility for expungement. If eligible, they were provided with assistance preparing the Application to Set Aside Conviction and received directions for filing and next steps. 

“The legislature made significant changes to the expungement statute over the last few years,” explained Rebecca Simkins Nowak, Director of Clinical Operations and Outreach. “One of which is increasing the number of convictions that a person may have and still be eligible for expungement. Another, which is impactful for many people, is that a first DUI is eligible for expungement.” 

“This clinic is important to the clients it serves, and expungement is a vital piece of our criminal justice system,” said Steven Meerschaert, 2L, who participated in the clinic. “Everyone deserves a second chance, and we should honor those who turn their lives around. The fact that the clients have a criminal record does not encapsulate who they are, and expunging their record gives them a chance to be treated like who they are today, rather than who they once were.” 

“There is quite a difference between reading how to do expungements or seeing a lecture on how to do expungement compared to actually going through the process with real clients,” said Zahara Madahah, 2L, who also participated in the clinic. Over the course of the week, Madahah assisted in helping expunge records for two felonies and 12 misdemeanors. 

Additional student clinicians included Miguel Brikho, 3L, Max Cavellier, 2L, Evelyn Galvan, 3L, Tiffany Harvey, 3L, and Cassie Weck Wun, 2L. The students were a part of the Access to Justice Practicum, taught by Judge Michelle Rick ’91 of the Michigan Court of Appeals, who supervised the student clinicians along with Simkins Nowak and   Nicholas Schroeck, Associate Dean of Experiential Education and Associate Professor of Law. 

Detroit Mercy Law first offered traveling expungement clinics in 2019. Simkins Nowak, Schroeck, and Rick received the 2020 State Bar of Michigan Kimberly M. Cahill Leadership Award for their work in organizing the original traveling expungement clinics. 

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. 

To learn more about Detroit Mercy Law’s clinics, visit