Street Law

Street Law 

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Background 

The original “Street Law” program, launched at Georgetown University in 1972, was founded to provide a greater understanding of the law to those outside the legal profession, and to promote the use of interactive educational methods to develop academic, critical thinking, and civic skills. For many years, Jennifer Bloom at the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education taught a Street Law program at Hamline University School of Law. In January of 1998, she and Sharon Fischlowitz of the Minnesota Justice Foundation, Keith Ellison of the Legal Rights Center, Carol Batsell Benner of the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, Peter Knapp of William Mitchell College of Law, and Sam Magavern of the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis began to develop a new Minnesota Street Law project.

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Training 

Law students who participate in the Street Law program receive at least 14 hours of intensive training during sessions offered during the winter break. Local legal aid and private attorneys provide lectures and resources concerning substantive areas of law including Constitutional, Consumer, Criminal, Education, Employment, Family, Housing and Juvenile Law. Community legal education professionals and teachers from participating schools provide training in effective teaching methods and advice for working with at-risk youth.

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Teaching 

Law student volunteers teach fundamental legal rights, responsibilities, and resources to low-income, at-risk juveniles at various sites throughout Minnesota. During the academic year, many volunteers serve at local alternative learning centers, charter schools, or other educational/after-school programs. School terms last anywhere from four to twelve weeks. Some volunteers spend their spring break teaching in other Minnesota communities such as Duluth or Winona. Law students spend at least ten hours each term with the students they teach.

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MJF for the Community 

Since the summer of 1983, MJF has funded 617 Summer Clerks and the MJF Student Chapters have funded 190 summer clerks.

In the 2014-2015 school year, Law School Public Service Program (LSPSP) students filled nearly 1,500 placements, serving almost 16,000 clients, providing over 43,500 hours of volunteer service – work equivalent to 21 full-time law clerks.

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Student Opportunities