WHAT IS STREET LAW?
Street law is a program involving law students teaching, what they have learned in law school, in the community. The program was first developed in Georgetown University, Washington D.C. in 1972. The idea was to encourage university law students to teach High School students practical law lessons. The law students were trained in learner centered teaching methods.
Since 1972 the street law program has expanded and now operates in over 40 countries world wide.
STREET LAW IN IRELAND
The Law Society of Ireland set up the first street law program in Ireland in 2013.
The Law Society places trainee solicitor in local secondary schools, mainly DEIS schools. More recently street law programs have been delivered in prisons and other community settings.
The Law Society staff team up with staff from Georgetown University to deliver a workshop to the participating trainee solicitors.
Law schools in third level institutions, such as University of Limerick (UL) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT),have also developed street law programs .
TRAINING THE TRAINERS
The law students and trainee solicitors are trained in the learner-centered teaching method. Learner-centered teaching aims to ensure that both the law student/ trainee solicitor and the street law students gain a deeper understanding of the law. This is achieved by allowing the street law students take a more active role in the learning process.
BENEFITS OF STREET LAW PROGRAM
The street law program benefits street law students by empowering them and by helping them understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
The program benefits the law students/trainee solicitors by facilitating them in developing new skills through teaching.
TOPICS COVERED IN STREET LAW PROGRAMS
Legal topics covered in the program are designed to be appropriate to the audience being taught. Some topics covered for secondary schools benefiting from the UL program include "Garda Powers", "Rights of young workers" and "Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice".
The program often concludes with a mock trial. The street law students take on the roles of Judge, jury, garda, prosecuting and defence lawyers.