Legal Life Skills Program

Street Law partners with corporations, community organizations, and volunteers from the legal community to teach practical law to young people and adults who are most vulnerable to racism and injustice. This program ensures that participants know their rights and build key life skills to help them advocate for themselves and their communities.

Purchase the Curriculum


Street Law has decades of experience teaching vulnerable populations about the law. We currently focus our Legal Life Skills Program specifically on serving these populations:

  • Youth in the juvenile justice system
  • Youth in the child welfare system
  • Crossover youth who are impacted by multiple systems
  • Re-entry youth and adults
  • LGBTQ+ youth
  • Homeless youth and adults
  • Youth in alternative education settings
  • Girls and young women
  • Survivors of domestic violence

Community organizations and agencies integrate empowering Legal Life Skills lessons into their program offerings. The lessons are be taught by different types of "instructors," including organization/agency staff and volunteers from the legal community like lawyers, legal professionals, and law students. Street Law trains and equips organizations and instructors with everything they need to lead participants through the practical law lessons and then provides ongoing support as the instructors teach. The lessons are designed to boost participant knowledge and build key life skills, like conflict resolution, decision-making, communication, analytical thinking, and advocacy. Street Law encourages organizations to involve youth leaders in selecting the lesson topics to be taught.

The following 4 pillars guide this area of our work:

  1. Practical Legal Education that ensures participants know their rights so they can successfully navigate their daily lives. 
  2. Essential Life Skills that give participants the tools—like advocacy and communication skills—to successfully transition into adulthood and achieve stability in their lives.
  3. Community Connections so that participants can access resources in their community—including caring, positive role-models—to help them along their path to success.
  4. Boosting Self-Efficacy so participants believe that they have agency over their own lives and confidence in their abilities to solve problems, address challenges, and be active, contributing members of society.

For answers to common questions about the Legal Life Skills Program and how it is implemented, see our FAQs

Legal Life Skills FAQs

The Curriculum

At the backbone of the Legal Life Skills Program is a growing curricular library that enables instructors to teach a variety of practical legal topics using learner-centered interactive teaching strategies. The library is divided into four units. (Learn more about Street Law's commitment and approach to quality curriculum.)

The Legal Life Skills Lesson Library is available for sale in the Street Law store.  

Purchase the Curriculum

Unit 1: Housing & Employment Law

  1. Negotiating & Signing a Residential Lease
  2. Rights & Responsibilities After Moving Into a Rental Property
  3. Interviewing for a Job: Know Your Strengths & Your Rights
  4. Rights & Responsibilities in the Workplace

Unit 2: Financial Literacy

  1. Introduction to Credit
  2. Applying for Credit
  3. Avoiding & Resolving Credit Problems
  4. Banking Basics

Unit 3: Personal & Public Safety

  1. Traffic Stops: Your Rights & Responsibilities
  2. Rights & Responsibilities During an Arrest
  3. Use of Force or Deadly Force
  4. Triggers: Skills for Managing Anger
  5. Child Abuse & Neglect: Reducing Risk. Building Resilience
  6. Dating & Sexual Assault
  7. The True Costs of Crime
  8. Restorative Justice & Supporting Victims of Crime

Unit 4: The Court System, Public Policy, & Civic Engagement   

  1. Introduction to Criminal Law: Should It Be a Crime?
  2. Introduction to the Juvenile Justice System
  3. What Does a Good Citizen Know, Believe, and Do?
  4. Gun Laws: What Are They? What Should They Be?

Facilitator Resources

Our Legal Life Skills curriculum aims to include thorough, detailed lessons for teaching practical legal education to participants. While some lesson facilitators find they can use the lesson plan as written, others may need to modify the lessons to suit their time allotment, their audience, or their method of delivery. The Legal Life Skills Facilitation Strategies resource below provides suggestions should a lesson need to be modified.

Legal Life Skills Facilitation Strategies


Legal Life Skills in the Classroom

We recently embarked upon a pilot program to introduce Legal Life Skills lessons to classroom teachers. A group of pilot teachers from across the U.S. received access to all 20 LLS lessons, participated in a brief collaborative planning workshop, and participated in a Q&A with a former Legal Life Skills program participant who offered teachers insight and advice about integrating the lessons into instruction. Teachers taught at least four lessons in their classrooms and then provided Street Law with feedback on the lessons and the ways that they modified the lessons to suit their class’s needs.

Advice from Classroom Teachers

Program sites

Street Law currently implements the Legal Life Skills Program at the following sites:

 

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Jill Adams

Program Manager

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Yolanda Johnson

Senior Director, Community Initiatives