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 participant’s effectiveness in legal matters.
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.
Click on either of the short videos below to see what participants thought of the Street Law Programme:
- “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
Street Law Schools
The Law Society has run an annual Street Law schools initiative since the launch of a pilot programme in 2013. We are fortunate to partner with experts from Georgetown University (where Street Law originated) to provide training to participating trainee solicitors. 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.
Over 40 selected volunteer trainees subsequently work in pairs and teach a two month “Street Law” course to Transition Year students at a partnering school. We currently work with 13 DEIS secondary schools (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) in the local community. 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
Street Law originated in Georgetown University as a course in ‘practical law’ for high school students. Over 600 Transition Year students now participate in the programme annually. Street Law 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.
Street Law Prison
We also facilitate a Prison Law Programme. See more on Street Law Prison.
For more information on Street Law, contact John Lunney.