Legal Life Skills Program

Street Law partners with organizations and agencies to empower society's most vulnerable people with the legal knowledge and civic skills needed to succeed as adults, combat inequality, and participate effectively in their communities.


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 provides participants with basic knowledge of the law 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

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. 

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?

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

Street Law Store

 

Program sites

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

 


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Yolanda Johnson

Director, Legal Life Skills Program