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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Law students at the University of Kansas are getting real world experience, helping clients who are trying to get a fresh start.

The KU law school, Douglas County district attorney’s office, and the Lawrence Public Library teamed up to help clear non-violent records at the Expungement Clinic.

The Clean Slate Criminal Records Expungement Clinic at the library offers people in Lawrence and Douglas County a second chance. It also gives law students at the University of Kansas one of their first shots with a client.

“This is our first time meeting face to face with a variety of people,” Madeline Shriver said.

She’s a third-year law student at KU and a legal intern with the Douglas County Legal Aid Clinic. They’re offering free legal representation — working with people in the community who have a criminal record, have answered for their actions, and now want it erased according to Kansas law.

“It can really easily change their lives,” Shriver said. “It takes about a month for that to get off their record and after that they can immediately start applying for housing and jobs and not have to check that mark before that they’ve been convicted as a crime.”

The clinic accepts clients with income up to 250% of the poverty line.

Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez is partnering with the KU Law School to make it happen.

“It’s basically erasing a criminal past, and it feels really, really good,” Valdez said.

She is a former KU Law student and professor. Valdez taught at the university for 21 years.

The DA said this clinic opens the door for people to recapture their dignity — the same criminal justice system that held them accountable, is now giving them another chance.

“We want folks to understand that once they’ve done their time, they’ve been accountable, we want to give them a clean slate,” Valdez said. “So that they can have employment opportunities, opportunity for housing – all those things that integrate them back into our community where they belong.”

Each year, they serve 40-50 people with real cases filed in the district or municipal courts.

Melanie Daily is the Director of the Legal Aid Clinic. She said it’s a win-win for the community and students.

“For the students it’s a huge change because now they’re focusing on community safety and the reengagement of people in society,” Daily said. “Instead of just at that worst moment, when they’ve done something wrong, and they need to serve justice for it.”

The law students will go before a judge in November. The next expungement clinic is expected in February.