Street Law: Attorney Volunteers
Street Law Program – An Opportunity for Attorneys to Assist Law Students in Teaching Law in Local Classrooms
Thank you for your interest in the Street Law Program coordinated by the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF). This page provides an overview of the program, and explains how attorneys can assist law students in teaching various topics of the law to local youth.
Size, Scope and Timing of the Program
Street Law volunteers teach in middle school, high school, and adult learning classrooms throughout the Twin Cities. Each year approximately 15-20 classrooms around the Twin Cities participate in MJF’s Street Law program. Teams of 2-4 law students are matched with local classrooms each spring, and each team conducts approximately 10 Street Law class sessions with the classroom students between early February and late April. The law student volunteers, in partnership with the classroom teacher, create an individualized curriculum teaching legal topics and legal rights to the classroom students. The attorney volunteers supplement the efforts of the law students, and each attorney can select the area(s) of law they are interested in teaching.
We are currently targeting the following areas of law as part of the curriculum: education, family, juvenile delinquency, criminal law, child protection, and other juvenile social services, torts, employment, consumer, Immigration, movement lawyering, and constitutional law. This is a great way to connect with law students while inspiring classroom students to consider college, law school, and other legal careers for their future.
1) Teaching Specific Topics to Law Students
Attorneys can participate in the Street Law training in January either live via Zoom or by creating a training video (30-45 minutes in length) to educate law students on legal topics relevant to the Street Law program. The goal of this training is not only to teach the law students about the law but also to provide ideas on interactive ways to teach the subject matter to youth.
2) Teaching Specific Topics to Classroom Students
Law students sometimes prefer to have volunteer attorneys speak to the Street Law classrooms on subjects that are complex or have the likelihood of the classroom students asking many questions that the law students would feel more comfortable with an expert answering. The law students and the volunteer attorney will discuss an agenda and make a plan for the class session to ensure success.
3) Helping with a Mock Trial
Mock trials may be scheduled in some of the classrooms in mid to late April. Mock trials may take place in the classroom at the local school, in a law school moot courtroom, at a local courthouse, or at the attorney’s office. Mock trials entail a more significant commitment for attorney volunteers – possibly including one or two one-hour classroom sessions in the one or two weeks prior to the mock trial to prepare all participants for their roles. The decisions of where to host the mock trial, how to best prepare the classroom students, and how to run the mock trial, are all left to the Street Law volunteers and the volunteer attorney. If you are interested in assisting with the mock trials, please contact MJF’s program director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering with Street Law is Fun and Fulfilling
This type of pro bono opportunity is fun and fulfilling. If you know other attorneys who may be interested in this, please spread the word! Additionally, if you know of classroom teachers who may be interested in hosting Street Law volunteers in their classrooms, please contact MJF’s program director at email@example.com.
Click here to get involved or email MJF’s program director at firstname.lastname@example.org.