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
  • LGBTQ+ youth
  • Homeless youth
  • Youth in alternative education settings
  • Pregnant and parenting teens
  • Girls and young women
  • Survivors of intimate partner 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.

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:

  • Alexandria House (taught by Loyola Law School student volunteers) in Los Angeles, CA
  • anonymous alternative education site (taught by Verizon volunteers) in Dulles, VA
  • anonymous foster care site (taught by Merck volunteers) in Kenilworth and Rahway, NJ
  • anonymous foster care site (taught by Merck volunteers) in North Wales, PA
  • Alternatives to the Court Experience Diversion Program (a program of D.C. Department of Human Services) in Washington, DC
  • Bench Mark Program in Lancaster, PA
  • Girls for a Change (taught by Capital One volunteers) in North Chesterfield, VA
  • Latin American Youth Center in Silver Spring, MD
  • Lead4Life in Rockville, MD
  • My Sister’s Place in Washington, DC
  • ReadyBy21 (a program of Prince George’s County Department of Social Services) in Landover, MD
  • Roosevelt High School (taught by University of the District of Columbia's Black Law Students Association) in Washington, DC
  • St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth & Families in Hyattsville, MD
  • Wellspring Living (taught by Home Depot volunteers), in Atlanta, GA

 


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Yolanda Johnson

Director, Legal Life Skills Program