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Equal Justice Works Fellow Works for Low-Income Community Members

Equal Justice Works

Kevin Hempy was inspired by the quote, “The dignity of work should not be denied to someone based on an old criminal record that has no bearing on their ability to do the job, and do it well.” While interning with Prairie State Legal Services’ Bloomington, IL office, Kevin was troubled to hear the stories of community members who were struggling to find work because of old criminal records. He set out to help this population through Equal Justice Works.

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. By facilitating Fellowships at legal services organizations, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. Over 2,000 Fellowships have been awarded since its founding in 1986.

Lane & Waterman, along with Deere & Company and Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila, have supported Equal Justice Works fellows for many years. This year, they are proud to sponsor Fellow Kevin Hempy. Kevin is a Pepperdine University School of Law graduate who will be placed in Rock Island at Prairie State Legal Services for his Fellowship.

“Equal Justice Works is proud to have partnered with Lane & Waterman since 2012 to launch the careers of passionate public service leaders who are helping to fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all,” said Mia Sussman, director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works. “We are excited to see the impact that Kevin’s project will have on advancing employment opportunities for community members in Western Illinois over the next two years.”

Kevin’s project will focus on improving employment prospects and financial stability for low-income community members in Western Illinois through criminal records relief. Kevin will represent workers in expungement and sealing proceedings of old criminal records. He will also assist workers with old criminal records seeking employment in the healthcare industry in Illinois, through the healthcare waiver process. Finally, he will recruit pro bono attorneys to assist with the project, and develop a referral network with other nonprofits in the area.

Learn more about Kevin’s project at https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/fellows/kevin-hempy/.