“[A] person is so much more than a criminal record.”
I spent my first year of law school in New York City but chose to return home to Cincinnati for my summer internship because I wanted to try to make an impact in the community that raised me. At the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, one of the core values is “never writing someone off,” and my experience this summer brought that to life.
During my time at OJPC, I was able to work closely with a victim of sex trafficking trying to get her records expunged under Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law. As I sat and listened to her tell her story, OJPC’s motto clicked for me when I saw first-hand that a person is so much more than a criminal record.
This rang true again when I did an intake for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment applicant. CQEs remove barriers for people with criminal records seeking employment. During this process, I was able to talk to someone seeking a CQE in the hopes of obtaining a job that would allow her to provide for her family. After doing the intake and attending a CQE hearing, I found myself cheering for all of the people trying to better themselves and felt honored to be a part of the process.
My summer at OJPC not only provided me with valuable legal experience in writing and client advocacy but also helped shape my perspective on the justice system as a whole and what I would like my role in it to be after law school.
Natalie Weber, Brooklyn Law School