The Law Society of Ireland runs a Street Law Clinic in collaboration with Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington DC, and the Trinity College Access Programmes (TAP).
Street Law Clinic 2017
The Street Law Clinic invites Professional Practice Course 1 (PPC I) trainee solicitors to volunteer every year at the beginning of their training in autumn. The clinic has five programmes in place for 2017:
- Trainee solicitors teach Transition Year (TY) students in a number of Dublin ‘Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools’ (DEIS) schools about law and the legal system in a practical way, while developing the skills of trainee solicitors. The schools programme runs weekly teaching sessions that take place over a period of two months.
- We work with the Trinity Access Programme's Pathways to Law initiative, hosting workshops for fifth and sixth year groups in the Law Society.
- Solicitors of the Future is a week-long programme in spring, with TY students from selected schools around the country. Students learn about how the law affects them and the role of a solicitor. For more information, see Solicitors of the Future.
- We facilitate a Prison Law Programme with Wheatfield Prison in partnership with the charity Solas and their Compass Programme for prisoners.
- In 2016, we are piloting a programme with Mercy Law Resource Centre, who advocate for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
About Street Law
Street Law originated in Georgetown University as a course in ‘practical law’ for high school students. Since being launched in 2013 by the Law Society's Diploma Centre, over 100 PPC students have taken part in the Street Law programme. Over 600 Transition Year students participated in the programme in 2015.
We are fortunate to partner with experts from Georgetown University on our programme. Each year, staff from Georgetown - together with colleagues from the Law Society - conduct a weekend-long training workshop for participating trainee solicitors. This training method has become so successful that it is now a model for launching Street Law Programmes internationally.
The programme allows secondary school students to see how the law affects their daily lives and promotes lifelong civic engagement. Research in the US has found that high school students’ critical thinking skills improved by almost 25% after one year in a Street Law course.
As part of our programme, trainee solicitors bring students to the courts to conduct a mock trial. 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.
For more information on Street Law, contact John Lunney.
- “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." 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." 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