Brief abstracts of conference sessions will be listed here once the final program has been confirmed.

Title: Fostering lawyer effectiveness and empowerment! Street Law - the trainee lawyer perspective

Lead Presenter: Lunney, John


  1. Grealy, Freda

Session Abstract: Fostering lawyer effectiveness and empowerment! Street Law – the Trainee lawyer perspective The Law Society of Ireland actively supports community legal education projects through a series of initiatives and engagement with solicitors, law students and the community. These projects are founded on the dual principle of; 1. providing law-related justice education to the community, and 2. to foster the professional development of the law students (trainee solicitors) involved in facilitating the programmes. While those of us who are involved in community legal education can provide a wealth of anecdotal material to support the positive impact these programmes have on both constituents, Grimes (2018) notes that “there is little by way of clear empirical research to substantiate these claims.” This paper discusses an attempt to address this shortcoming as it pertains to the positive impact Street Law can have on participating law students. Our empirical research study relied on Shultz and Zedeck’s (2009) ‘lawyering effectiveness factors’ as a standard to evaluate the impact of the Street Law experience on the core factors attributable to effective lawyering. Interestingly the research subjects, former trainee solicitors who were involved with our Street Law programme from 2013 – 2016, are now qualified practitioners. They offered a unique reflective perspective on how Street Law prepared them for practice and its importance as a source of their professional development. This presentation will share the research findings which identify legal practice skills, professional identity formation and character development as all being positively affected. We hope that this study can be used as a support for other legal educators working in community legal education to demonstrate potential impact or for individuals looking for institutional support to launch new programmes.

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