For attorneys at Koch companies, a passion for equal justice under the law transcends their daily jobs. That’s why 19 employees in Koch Legal dedicated more than 92 hours off the clock in Koch Industries’ headquarters' area of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas, to help people with the costly and time-consuming process of getting their criminal records expunged.
Last year, Wichita-based Koch Industries, along with Kansas Legal Services and other Kansas businesses and organizations, petitioned the state Board of Law Examiners to allow in-house counsel with a restricted license to provide pro bono legal services to those in need. In September 2018, the state Supreme Court removed that barrier. Kansas is now one of at least 33 other states and the District of Columbia that allows attorneys already working with a restricted license (i.e., an attorney licensed in D.C. can work for an employer based in Kansas without taking the state examination) to serve those with limited access to legal services.
Of the 19 employees in Koch Legal who participated in last fall's expungement drive, 14 would not have been able to participate prior to the state rule change. Koch also helped pay for some filing fees to facilitate the expungement process.
Here’s what the effort, aided in part by Koch’s in-house lawyers working pro bono, achieved:
- 37 cases expunged by Koch counsel
- 20 individuals represented by Koch counsel
- 209 total county expungements granted
- 79 total city expungements granted
The impact of their work is clear, as Christine Campbell, Kansas Legal Services’ statewide pro bono director, wrote in a recent letter to the company.
“The number one inhibitor to expungements continues to be poverty, and we look forward to working with you in the future to combat this,” Campbell wrote. “This project would not have been the success it was without the assistance of your organization and without Koch’s commitment to pro bono.”
These efforts aren’t just limited to Koch’s home state, as the Koch Pro Bono Initiative, also launched in 2018, encourages relevant employees to offer legal services where possible in their communities.
Read more about Koch’s ongoing efforts to improve justice for all, ensuring safer communities while giving second chances to those who are seeking them.