Street Law is an initiative which places trainee solicitors studying at the Law Society of Ireland in local schools, prisons and community settings to teach about law.
Using a unique pedagogical approach and best practice in civic education, the programme taps into people’s inherent interest in the law and aims to promote legal literacy, equality, access to law, and to teach high cognitive and social skills that enhance each participant’s effectiveness in legal matters.
Street Law Schools
Since 2013, over 3,000 transition year students have completed the Law Society’s Street Law programme. Originally developed in Georgetown University in the United States, the Street Law programme has been run by the Law Society since 2013.
Each year, over 40 volunteer trainee solicitors participate. As part of the programme, the trainee solicitors attend an orientation weekend facilitated by Law Society staff and guest trainers from Georgetown University. The intense weekend of training prepares the trainees to teach the Street Law course to Transition Year students at partnering DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools in the local community. They deliver the programme over six lessons and cover topics such as the court systems, family law, discrimination law and sexual offences. The programme culminates in a Mock Trial hearing sponsored by the LSI in the Criminal Courts of Justice. We also invite students to the Law School at the Law Society to experience first-hand what it might be like to train and study to be a solicitor.
Click on either of the short videos below to see what participants thought of the Street Law Programme:
- “Street Law is a teaching programme that teaches young people about social justice, equality and key legal principals. It’s a programme that gives them practical legal application of issues that affect them on a daily basis that they may not even be aware of. Street Law helps students understand they have a part to play in shaping a society that appreciates their input and engagement.” Trainee Solicitor and Street Law Volunteer
- “I was not expecting to have my eyes opened to an entirely differently method of teaching – one which I had never personally experienced before. The training weekend completely altered, both, my perspective on what way the Street Law model works and also my expectations for the six week programme ahead." Trainee Solicitor and Street Law Volunteer 2013
- “It was an excellent way of improving my understanding of the law and my ability to distil legal principles to their core and convey them in a clear and concise manner. The preparation required for a 90 minute class was useful in improving my presentation skills and my approach to teaching." Trainee Solicitor and Street Law Volunteer 2014
- “The course overall has generated so much excitement, the students doing it love it and I have students asking me if they can join.” Linda Duignan, Guidance Counsellor, Pobailscoil Iosolde
- “Our students loved the street law module; they were looking forward to it every week and were actually sad when it was over. The course is excellent, it is easy for them to understand and yet they garner a great knowledge of the legal system from the module. I would highly recommend it to any school.” William Ryan, TY Coordinator, Colaiste Bride
Street Law Prison
Like Street Law Schools, the Prison programme aims to promote legal literacy, equality and access to law while also teaching high cognitive and social skills to enhance a participant’s effectiveness in legal matters. Trainee solicitors work with prisoners to raise their awareness and understanding of the law in areas such as human rights, employment law, refugee rights and discrimination.
We facilitate a Prison Law programme in
- Arbour Hill Prison
- Mountjoy Prison
- Oberstown Children Detention Campus
- Pathway Centre
- Wheatfield Prison, in partnership with the charity, Solas and their Compass Programme for prisoners.
For more information on Street Law Schools, contact John Lunney.
For more information on Street Law Prison, contact Patricia Harvey.