Public Legal Education Programs

We believe that a well-informed public who are knowledgeable about legal matters and confident in their ability to navigate civic processes is critical to a functioning democracy. Unfortunately, in too many communities around the world, legal education is reserved for the select few who go to law schools. The wider public rarely have the opportunity to learn about practical legal and civic matters that are pertinent to their lives and are, therefore, ill prepared to fully engage in their communities.

Street Law’s public legal education programs are changing that. We provide opportunities for young people to not only learn about the law but build their ability and confidence to engage in their democracies. Our programs utilize law students and legal professionals to teach practical and applicable legal matters to high school students. Over 200 law schools around the world have taken our idea of law school-based public legal education and have run with it to provide high-quality law-related education to a wide array of students.

Street Law is the original force behind law school-based public legal education programs. In 1972, our very first program was a small legal education program based out the Georgetown University Law School. Since then we have widely expanded in breadth and have assisted other institutions across the country and around the world set up similar programs. 

As the originators of law school-based public legal education programs, we have nearly five decades of institutional experience and expertise in designing, implementing, and evaluating these programs. In addition to the specific technical assistance that we provide for our partners, we have been a driving force behind the push for high-quality public legal education programs throughout the U.S. and around the world. We are now an organizer of a worldwide community of programs and the name “Street Law” is now broadly synonymous with public legal education programs. (Learn more about how Street Law, Inc. can help your law school start a public legal education program.

While increasing knowledge of practical legal matters is a good start, we recognize that knowledge alone does not empower people. It is only through the use of that knowledge that people can actually advocate for themselves and for others. We are meticulous in our program design to ensure that all of our public legal education programs utilize interactive teaching methods that allow students to practice their engagement skills and build their confidence.

All of our programs utilize participatory activities such as mock trials, moot courts, mock legislative hearings, public policy debates, and more. In the same way that you can’t teach a person to swim with a marker and whiteboard alone, you can’t teach a citizen to participate through lectures and worksheets. By providing a structured venue for students to practice their communication, engagement, and participation skills, our programs nudge students “into the pool” and empower them to utilize the practical knowledge that they learn.

Street Law offers technical assistance to universities, civil society organizations, NGOs, and governments in every aspect of public legal education program design and implementation. Our experienced staff of education and program management professionals as well as by our network of expert consultants provide rigorous and customized training for institutions around the world.

Street Law’s expertise covers both the educational content as well as the program administration. For teachers, faculty, and teacher trainers, we offer curriculum design guidance, lesson-planning support, and interactive teaching methods training. For program administrators, directors, and deans, we offer program management coaching, work-planning and risk-mitigation consulting, and evaluation design. We ensure that all of our partners are fully equipped to sustainably run high-quality civic and legal education programs for the students they serve. 

Perdue_small.jpg

Ben Perdue

Director, International Programs