Law Society announces expansion of Street Law programme

Law Society announces expansion of Street Law programme

The Law Society of Ireland has announced the expansion of its Street Law programme, with a new Solicitors in the Community programme to be piloted and a conference to be hosted in Dublin next month.

Street Law is a global initiative that began in the US in the 1970s with a handful of students at Georgetown University, who went out to local high schools to teach local kids about the law. It quickly became a success and spread across the nation.

The scheme was brought to Ireland in collaboration with Georgetown University Law Centre and the Trinity College Access Programme in 2013 and involved around 40 trainees and 500 participants last year.

The Irish model has been replicated by the Law Society of Scotland.

Dr Freda Grealy, who heads the Law Society’s diploma centre and brought the Street Law programme to Ireland, said: “Street Law is unique in its educational approach in that it values the student experience, their voice, and their background.

“We have active programmes led by trainee solicitors in schools across Dublin that are under the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) scheme, as well as a number of community settings.

“In addition we have a Prison Law Programme in Wheatfield Prison, in partnership with the charity Solas and their Compass Programme for prisoners. This has been so successful that we plan to add a similar programme in Mountjoy Prison this autumn.

“Last year we also successfully piloted a programme with Mercy Law Resource Centre, who advocate for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.”

“The more aware we are of our rights, the more engaged we are as a community. Street Law is just one of many programmes making a real difference in the lives of individuals, and this can only serve our broader community well now and into the future.”

Dr Grealy added: “Due to popular demand we have now developed ‘Solicitors in the Community’ – a certified education programme for qualified solicitors which we are piloting this autumn.

“This is an opportunity to build capacity and understanding around the Street Law teaching methodology within the profession so that practising solicitors can create and deliver their own Street Law programmes within their local communities around Ireland.”

The Street Law team are also hosting the second annual Ireland and UK Street Law Best Practice Conference in Dublin next month.

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