Kevin Hempy

  • Hosted by Prairie State Legal Services
  • Sponsored by Deere & Co., Lane & Waterman LLP, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
  • Service location Rock Island, Illinois
  • Law school Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law
  • Issue area Workers' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Kevin improves employment prospects and financial stability for low-income community members in Western Illinois through criminal records relief.

It is estimated that over 40% of the adult working-age population in Illinois has a criminal record of some kind. Many workers with these criminal records struggle to gain meaningful employment after interactions with the criminal justice system. Criminal records relief increases employment opportunities for low-income community members and helps to improve their financial stability. Additionally, in Illinois, the healthcare industry faces a shortage of workers. The healthcare waiver process enables workers with old criminal records to work in the healthcare industry. Kevin’s Fellowship aims to represent workers in expungement and seal proceedings of old criminal records. He also assists workers with old criminal records seeking employment in the healthcare industry in Illinois through the healthcare waiver process. Finally, he assists workers in reinstating their driver’s licenses and increases their access to employment.

While interning with Prairie State’s Bloomington office, Kevin was troubled to hear the stories of community members who were struggling to find work because of old criminal records. He is excited and appreciative of the opportunity to help provide this service to the community in Rock Island, Illinois.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Kevin has:

  • Represented 17 clients to seal or expunge a total of 47 criminal records.
  • Provided 46 clients with legal advice regarding criminal records relief.
  • Conducted 10 presentations providing legal information to community members.

Next Steps

In the next year, Kevin plans to:

  • Conduct an expungement clinic in Lee and Whiteside Counties.
  • Develop educational materials related to driver’s license reinstatement proceedings in Illinois.
  • Continue to recruit pro bono attorneys to assist with criminal records relief efforts.
  • Facilitate community presentations regarding criminal records relief to local social service agencies.


My Impact: A Conversation with 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow Kevin Hempy

Kewanee residents offered second chance to expunge criminal records

Kevin Hempy Receives Equal Justice Works Fellowship


Prairie State Legal Services hosting free clinic to help clear old criminal records

Learn about expunging a criminal record in Illinois in free Zoom session

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.

Kevin Hempy /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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