Preparing Lawyers for Practice: Developing Cultural Competency, Communication Skills, and Content Knowledge through Street Law Programs
Street Law is a legal education methodology designed to increase civic engagement, critical thinking skills, and develop practical legal knowledge in non-lawyers. Law students at Georgetown began using Street Law methods to teach high school classes in the 1970s. While Street Law was designed to help high school students, the programs were also crafted to provide authentic experiential opportunities for law students. However, little research had been done to measure the educational benefits for those law students. We designed the study that is featured in the article to assess those goals. We conclude that Street Law provides significant and often unique benefits for law students including developing vital cultural competency skills, practicing legal communication with non-lawyers, and cementing content knowledge in a non-academic environment. This article includes a comparison of the legal practice benefits of Street Law and other traditional and clinical credit-bearing law school courses. We recommend that law schools offer Street Law as an experiential component of the clinical program. Over half of the law school-based Street Law programs in the United States do not award course credit to participating law students. We further conclude that Street Law is equally meritorious and because of the rigorous, academically and professionally valuable experience gained from participation in Street Law programs, all law students should be awarded academic credit for their work.
Perdue, Ben and Wallace, Amy, "Preparing Lawyers for Practice: Developing Cultural Competency, Communication Skills, and Content Knowledge through Street Law Programs" (2020). Articles & Chapters. 1545.
Legal Education Commons, Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Commons, Legal Profession Commons
With contributions from Tomas Friedel, Niamh Hanbidge, Amiri Lampley, Zach Segal, Hannah West, and Nehan Zehra