Abstracts

Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Street Law—Incubating Citizen Solicitors In Ireland

Lead Presenter: Freda Grealy

Co-Presenters:

  1. Seán Arthurs

Session Abstract: This is the second year of a Street Law Clinic collaboration involving the Law Society of Ireland Diploma Centre, Georgetown Law Centre, (Washington DC) and Trinity College Access Programme. This project partnered with 14 recognised socially disadvantaged secondary schools in Dublin city and placed pairs of trainee solicitors in the school, to design and teach a two-month Street Law course. To date 75 trainee solicitors have been trained in the Street law learner centred methodologies. This involved an intensive orientation weekend for trainee solicitors in advance of their in school placement facilitated by Georgetown Street Law Clinic and the Law Society together with ongoing support and online sharing of lesson plans and reflections on the Moodle site course forum. The title of this session reflects the enthusiasm of the trainee solicitors who volunteer and the impact that the experience has had on them in terms of how they see their role as professionals and their wider responsibility to society as lawyers in the community. All of the students who took part said they are more likely to engage in volunteer work or pro bono legal work as a result of the experience. For many of those taking part, there are limited opportunities at third level for clinical experiences and many who attend at the Law Society are non-law graduates. This is their first opportunity to volunteer and use their legal training to engage with the community and to teach a law class to second level students many of whom are from students from less privileged backgrounds. This exposure develops an awareness of social justice issues and aids personal and professional development. The second year of the programme was an opportunity to expand and increase the impact of the Street Law ethos amongst our ‘trainee solicitor citizens’ and this led to some of them getting involved in spin off projects that advanced legal awareness and citizen participation. These projects included making submissions on legislation, working with another CSO and facilitating Street Law sessions for juvenile detainees in Wheatfield Prison. 100% of those surveyed indicated that they are encouraged to do pro bono and further legal volunteer work as a result of their experiences with Street Law. The following are central to the success of the programme; the learner centred methodologies that ground the ‘teaching to teach’, learning from exemplars, role modelling the Georgetown Law Clinic facilitators approach and the Street Law philosophy generally that demonstrates to trainees to value everyone in the class equally. This paper will use video to share the experiences of the trainees and the second level students and will share our experience setting up the Street Law Clinic and will provide a suggested framework for those seeking to set up something similar in their own jurisdictions.

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.