Law School News

STCL Houston Awarded a 2022 Houston Methodist DEI Grant to Support Economic Empowerment

The Houston Methodist Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Grant Program has awarded STCL Houston’s expunction/nondisclosure program a 2022-2023 Social Equity Grant — the second year the program has been recognized with a generous grant from this fund.

The grant will support the efforts of the expunction/nondisclosure program in the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinic to help Black and Hispanic adults clear or seal criminal records — which assists them with obtaining employment, housing and economic stability.

 “The cases that come through this program involve people with compelling stories, seeking access to justice but lacking the funds to do so,” said Vinh Ho, managing attorney of the Civil Practice Clinics and Immigration Initiatives at STCL Houston. “Without legal aid and volunteer legal service programs, many would be denied the right to work, live and protect their families.”

This year’s grant will aid STCL Houston’s program with managing more than 50 cases it currently handles for disadvantaged persons of color who have been disproportionately affected by past criminal history.

With the grant funds received last year, Ho said, the law school was able to co-host two successful community outreach events where people reviewed their criminal history with attorneys; trained 34 attorneys and law students; created materials and a video for future training; screened more than 150 people for expunction/nondisclosure eligibility; filed 27 petitions for 17 different clients; had 13 granted expunction and/or nondisclosure of their criminal records; and are waiting on results on the rest. Additional cases are nearly ready to file.

To learn more about STCL Houston’s legal clinics, click here.