By Brittany Estell (Legal Fellow)
We are living in a tough economy where market for jobs is tense and competitive. In such an aggressive environment, every potential employee’s goal is to have his resume stand out and his background spotless! No one wants an employer to simply deny their application on the basis of a past infraction. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the Moran Center sponsors an Expungement Help Desk at the Skokie Courthouse (5600 Old Orchard Road in Skokie). Members of the community are able to come and get advice, have their sealing and/or expungement forms filled out, and also have the very confusing process explained to them…all free of charge!
Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to come across clients from all walks of life seeking some ray of sunshine, from the cloud hanging over them. Most recently, we had a client who had several cases on public record, all of which had been dismissed. As of late he had been laid off from his job, and was now seeking new employment. Although he had no convictions, he did not want an employer to judge him based on cases he had not even been prosecuted for. Speaking with him while filling out his paperwork, I learned that he had been continually applying for jobs but had not been getting much feedback, even with the amount of experience he had with his previous employer. We were able to fill out his paperwork, and he went into the clerks office and filed that day!
In addition, while at the desk, I was able to meet a woman who returned to let us know that she had received the notice that her record was going to be expunged. She had been coming to the desk since early summer seeking help on expunging and sealing records from the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s. She had many steps in this process, due to the arrests in multiple jurisdictions, but from what I gathered, our desk was there to help her every step of the way.
At the desk I have seen the greatest extension of gratitude from members of the public, both from persons grateful that we were able to help them and other’s grateful for the mere access to information. The Expungement Help Desk is an irreplaceable resource allowing community members to get a fresh start!