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Headshot of Rita Hirami

Rita Hirami

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Chicago
  • Sponsored by Pfizer Inc.
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rita’s (she/hers) project will focus on removing future barriers to education, employment, and housing for students in Chicago by increasing their access to juvenile record expungement.

A juvenile arrest creates a record that follows children into adulthood, including appearing in background checks for jobs in healthcare, security, and education. Though many juvenile records are eligible to be expunged, there is a gap in getting these expungement services to children, as they often do not know that they have a juvenile record or that it can have significant consequences. Increasing awareness of and access to juvenile record expungement services for children and their parents early on can disrupt the compounding effects of first arrests and proactively eliminate significant future barriers to education, employment, housing, and more.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Rita will develop deep partnerships between her host organization of Legal Aid Chicago and local schools and community organizations who serve students who have had interactions with the juvenile legal system. In addition to giving presentations about the availability and importance of juvenile record expungement, she will develop referral relationships with these schools and community organizations, enabling them to refer students directly to Legal Aid Chicago’s juvenile expungement services. She will also personally represent clients in their juvenile expungement cases.

I want to live in a world where people’s future opportunities are not determined by something that happened when they were children, and I am excited to work toward that vision by increasing access to juvenile record expungement.

Rita Hirami /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Rita

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Alexandria Cinney

Host: University of Miami School of Law’s Children and Youth Law Clinic

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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Zoe Siepert

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Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, UPS

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Maria Rodriguez

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Sponsor: Fish & Richardson P.C., Microsoft Corporation

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Tori Porell

Host: East Bay Children’s Law Offices

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation