Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs are designed to encourage the pursuit of legal careers by young people from groups that are currently underrepresented in the legal profession. Legal professional volunteers provide role modeling, career pathway information, support, and the opportunity to step into the shoes of a lawyer and engage in simulated legal problem-solving.
Street Law has been leading Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs with legal community partners since 2001. More than 50 companies and firms are currently participating—engaging more than 1,900 volunteers serving over 5,000 high school students per year.
Street Law matches law firm or in-house legal department volunteers with nearby, diverse high school social studies courses. Street Law provides training and curriculum to the volunteers, who then visit their partner classes a few times to teach about civil law and legal careers. The semester culminates in a Legal Careers Conference hosted by the company or law firm where the students participate in exciting, interactive legal simulations where they utilize the skills and knowledge acquired over the course of the program. The students also attend a career fair at the conference, where they learn about the variety of legal jobs in law firms and companies.
Street Law has turnkey, engaging lessons on a wide variety of civil law topics, including intellectual property, contracts, torts, alternative dispute resolution, employment law, and environmental law. Comprehensive training prepares lawyers and other legal professionals to be effective facilitators of the lessons and introduces them to their partner school and teacher. Street Law provides technical support throughout the planning and implementation of the program, and helps design the Legal Careers Conference agenda and provides all the lesson plans for the legal simulations and activities at that event.
In the second year of the program, participating law firms and corporations often offer some sort of follow-up activity with the most promising students—several have offered job shadow days, mentoring, internships, or scholarships. Companies and law firms are encouraged to collaborate with area law schools to further strengthen the program and the pipeline to the legal profession.
When a law firm or company signs on to participate in the program, Street Law will:
- Find up to three partner high school classes (based on the number of volunteers)
- Train the volunteers in program implementation, teaching strategies, and lesson use
- Be available for ongoing phone- and email-based technical assistance throughout the program cycle
- Provide an in-depth program guide that includes the following resources:
- A clear description of program components
- Research-based best practices
- A selection of ready-to-use classroom lessons
- A selection of ready-to-use Legal Careers Conference workshops
- Sample agendas for the Legal Careers Conference
- Templates for all documents to organize and impelement the program
The law firms or companies are responsible for providing at least 8-12 volunteers, which can include lawyers, paralegals, career services staff, and law students.
Law firms and companies make a charitable contribution to Street Law to offset the costs of the program.