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DC Pro Bono Week 2021 Profiles: Lauren Taylor – Hope and Opportunity Through Expungement

By Amanda Torres

The Rising for Justice Expungement Program is proud to work with many pro bono attorneys who make it possible to expunge hundreds of D.C. records every year. Our Pro Bono Partners, as we refer to them, each become an important figure in our clients’ lives. Pro Bono Partners support and represent clients throughout the expungement process. Lauren Taylor stands out in her commitment and positivity to this work.

For over two years, Lauren Taylor has volunteered her time to support Rising for Justice’s Expungement Program. She provides exceptional assistance to low-income D.C. residents in expunging their criminal records, giving clients hope and opportunity.

Lauren is a fourth-year antitrust associate in the Kirkland & Ellis Washington, D.C. office. “I’m passionate about record expungement because it offers the opportunity to help people close the door on a difficult period in their lives,” says Lauren. Throughout her time working on expungement matters, she has had the privilege of meeting inspiring people and developing a great working relationship with them.

We often hear that pro bono service is rewarding simply because of the opportunity to give back to the community. Some of Lauren’s most satisfying experiences as a pro bono attorney have been calls to her clients, sharing the news that a court has issued an order to seal their records. She shares in the joy and hope in her clients’ voices, which motivates her to continue to volunteer her time to help others.

Lauren goes above and beyond in representing her expungement clients, and the quality of her work is exemplary. Undeterred by the pandemic and the shift it created to virtual work, Lauren has continued to take on expungement cases. In the best of times, the expungement process can be lengthy, but the pandemic has resulted in delays in receiving records, responses being filed, and orders being issued. It would be easy to get discouraged or to even put the work on the back-burner, but Lauren does neither. She has continued to fight for her clients against the odds. Not only does Lauren volunteer with Rising for Justice’s Expungement Program, but she also volunteers at Legal Counsel for the Elderly. Pro bono attorneys like Lauren get the D.C. community one step closer to meeting the needs of residents in various areas and stages of life.

Rising for Justice Senior Attorney Amanda Torres, who manages their Expungement Program, noted Lauren and her firm’s commitment to pro bono service: “We are grateful to our Pro Bono Partners who have continued to provide quality legal services to our community. There is still an endless need for expungement work. The Kirkland & Ellis team is outstanding in their delivery of pro bono representation to our clients. We are especially thankful to Lauren and her enthusiasm and care for her clients – it makes a difference.”

The expungement process is difficult to navigate for individuals, and quality representation is paramount to success. For many, having their records expunged makes all the difference in being gainfully employed, being able to support their families, and having a general peace of mind and the ability to move forward. Clients share that they feel more confident after having their records expunged. The benefits are almost immediate and typically start with more employment opportunities which help clients reach financial stability. In turn, clients are able to meet basic needs for themselves and their families, and create, strive for, and reach new goals they never thought possible. Pro bono partners like Lauren give our community members a second chance at life. Rising for Justice is proud to shine a light on Lauren’s extraordinary work during DC Pro Bono Week 2021.

Amanda Torres is Senior Attorney/Project Manager at Rising for Justice.

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