An Akron law student helps a client at a reentry clinic event in the city.

An Akron law student assists a client at a Reentry Clinic.

Reentry Clinic

The University of Akron School of Law’s Reentry Clinic, recently honored as one of the Top 15 Innovative Clinics, provides premier experiences for law students seeking to make a difference in society. It was also recognized by the American Association of Law Schools as an Innovative and Outstanding Program in 2015.

The clinics prepare Akron Law students for a career in the public sector. Our students are able to begin working with clients in their first year of school. Due to the important services that this clinic provides and the law school’s commitment to clinical offerings, approximately 100 law students are trained to provide service through the clinic each year.

The Reentry Clinic recently was awarded a Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP) grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant will allow the Reentry Clinic to provide service to both adults and youths in our community.

Four Reentry Clinics

1. Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)

The CQE clinic is staffed by volunteer students under the supervision of a clinic faculty member. During CQE clinics, law students meet with clients who have criminal convictions and assist them in applying for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment. In many cases, the law had previously prohibited these ex-offenders from holding certain types of employment or professional licenses. The CQE allows the prospective employer or the licensing authority, in its discretion, to employ or license the ex-offender who holds the Certificate. This program gives our students access to a diverse range of people in the greater Akron community. In doing this, our students help people in a very real way while gaining valuable client experience for the future.

The CQE clinic recently conducted a survey of Ohio CQE recipients to determine the applicants' success in using the CQE to find or to keep employment. Read the survey results.

Akron Law’s groundbreaking CQE Clinic is going statewide, with support from the Ohio State Bar Foundation:

2. Expungement Clinic

The Expungement Clinic is comprised of volunteer law students under the supervision of an attorney. Students working in this clinic gain real world experience by serving low-income Akron residents who seek to have their convictions sealed by the court. As a volunteer in this clinic, you could expect to conduct background searches, develop relationships with clients, and represent the client in the courtroom.

3. Clemency Project

The Clemency Project provides assistance to low-income ex-offenders who seek a pardon for their convictions. Akron Law students in this clinic are trained to handle pardon applications to the Governor. Students continue the client relationship by representing the client at their formal pardon hearing under the supervision of Professor Joann Sahl.

4. Human Trafficking Clinic

The Human Trafficking Clinic assists victims of human trafficking to expunge (destroy) their criminal records. Typically, victims of human trafficking are likely to have convictions for solicitation or prostitution, which were forced upon them by the traffickers. As a part of this clinic, our students conduct investigations and screen for potential clients. Our students then follow up with clients and conduct investigations. Like Akron Law’s other clinics, the Human Trafficking Clinic offers students real-life practice and a new life to those in need.

Click here to listen to Akron Mirror Podcast on Spotify.
Joann Sahl and Russ Nichols from the University of Akron School of Law’s Reentry Clinic join librarians Ris and Keith to discuss what legal options are available for those who are justice involved to seal or expunge their records. Akron Mirror is a podcast of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Top 15 Innovative Clinic


Joann Sahl,

Russ Nichols,

FREE Expungement/ CQE Clinics

Call the clinic at: 330-972-7751

Talk to a volunteer about expungement, CQE, or driver’s license help.

Volunteers will be available to run background checks and assist you.

You may call the clinic ANYTIME, including for assistance with your criminal record and/or your driver's license.

  • Leave a message and we will return your call.

Next clinic

June 8, 2024
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Note: The clinic may end before noon if we have reached capacity for the clinic.


Barberton Middle School
477 4th St. NW
Barberton, OH 44203

Volunteer for the clinic

To volunteer, contact: