Street Law Overview
In 1998, MJF staff, law school professors, professionals from the legal services community, and area high schools and alternative learning centers began to develop Street Law, a program in which law students receive training in teaching methods and resources for presenting a variety of substantive areas of law to high school students. These trained law students are then placed in classrooms where they help juveniles understand their legal rights and obligations as well as the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society. Street Law volunteers work to provide a positive role model for the young people they teach and encourage their students to become active participants in their community.
Law students who participate in the Street Law program receive 5 hours of live training usually over winter break. The law students also have access to numerous hours of asynchronous learning materials created by local legal aid and private attorneys. These materials cover substantive areas of law including Constitutional, Consumer, Criminal, Education, Employment, Family, Housing and Juvenile Law. Community legal education professionals and teachers from participating schools provide training in effective teaching methods and advice for working with youth.
Law student volunteers work with the classroom teachers to find out what issues are most relevant to the students. Together they develop a syllabus for the term that addresses those issues using methods that will engage each student in the classroom. Street Law volunteers are trained to teach using a variety of methods and are provided with a broad range of resources. MJF staff members and volunteer attorneys from local legal services providers are available to help volunteers answer difficult questions or to assist them in developing curriculum, creating educational materials, and obtaining relevant speakers. School terms last anywhere from four to twelve weeks. Law students spend at least ten hours each term with the students they teach.
You may also be interested in: