Vanessa provided direct legal services to help economically disadvantaged clients to remove legal barriers to employment, including assisting with record clearance remedies, enforcing consumer protections that mandate fair criminal reporting in background checks, and improving access to driver’s licenses and occupational licenses.
The collateral consequences of criminal convictions can often create significant barriers to employment, such as a suspended driver’s license, or ineligibility for a professional or occupational license for otherwise qualified applicants. This project seeks to overcome these barriers to employment by assisting clients to obtain record clearance remedies and other forms of statutory relief, as well as raise awareness about the availability of such remedies.
During law school, Vanessa discovered her passion in criminal justice advocacy working at the Public Defender’s Office, helping clients clean up their criminal records, where she observed the harsh consequences of having a criminal conviction and its lasting impact on the lives of the individuals facing such consequences. However, this work has also allowed her to recognize the potential of these record clearance remedies to empower individuals to overcome these barriers, as well as the great resiliency and determination of the clients with whom she has worked.
During Vanessa’s Fellowship, Vanessa provided direct legal services in criminal record clearance remedies, partner with other community organizations and public agencies to identify clients, connect clients to employment-related services, and network with other reentry and record clearance service providers to build and maintain best practices in direct legal services.