Photo of Lydia Sinkus

Lydia Sinkus

  • Hosted by OneJustice
  • Sponsored by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, PayPal
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Lydia’s project is expanding access to clean slate services for immigrants in non-urban areas of Northern California through a “clinic plus” model leveraging pro bono resources and community partnerships.

California is home to more than 5 million non-citizen immigrants. Non-citizens with criminal records—not unlike U.S. citizens—face barriers to obtaining jobs, education, and housing. But interaction with the criminal justice system for non-citizens of any legal status can also result in banishment from the country and family separation. California offers unique post-conviction relief opportunities that can remove harsh immigration consequences. Attorney assistance is crucial to providing access to the second chances afforded by these laws, but few legal service providers offer these services to non-citizens.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Lydia has:

  • Piloted and iterated first-of-its-kind Immigrant Clean Slate Clinic in Stockton providing screening, legal advice, clean slate services, and immigration referrals to eight non-citizens with prior convictions;
  • Provided brief services and referrals to 85 individuals at expungement and immigration workshops;
  • Represented a client in a full-scope post-conviction relief matter;
  • Created two robust trainings for pro bono volunteers centering cultural humility and client interaction skills and providing easy-to-use resources explaining clinic and clean slate processes;
  • Engaged PayPal and Orrick volunteers in pilot intake and legal services clinics.

Next Steps

In the next year, Lydia plans to:

  • Continue to iterate and implement the clinic model, as well as explore additional mechanisms to expand access to clean slate legal services for noncitizens;
  • Continue to engage PayPal and Orrick in clinics and representation opportunities;
  • Engage in community education, partnership building, and outreach on immigration impacts of criminal convictions in a second target county;
  • Take steps to ensure sustainable continuation of project efforts after the end of her Fellowship.


OneJustice & Partners Launch Immigrant Clean Slate Clinic

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