From zero to 60: Building belief, capacity and community in Street Law instructors in one weekend


  • Seán Arthurs
  • Melinda Cooperman
  • Jessica Gallagher
  • Freda Grealy
  • John Lunney
  • Rob Marrs
  • Richard Roe



Street Law, where law students or lawyers teach about the law in local school, correctional, and community settings, is the fastest growing and most popular type of experiential legal education in the world—and with good reason. The Street Law methodology helps make the law more relevant, more accessible, and more understandable to both participants in the program and lawyers and law students delivering the programming. Despite Street Law’s prevalence and popularity, there is scant guidance for how to best introduce and implement a program, little research support explaining why Street Law works, and even less empirical justification proving that the program works. This paper makes three significant and unique contributions to the emerging field of Street Law scholarship and research. First, we provide an in-depth explanation of the principles and learner-centered practices that make Street Law such a powerful tool for legal education. Second, we ground these principles and practices in a robust body of research, the first such effort in the field. Third, we offer an annotated step-by-step outline of a unique weekend orientation program developed and field-tested by the seminal Georgetown Street Law program and delivered in partnership with the Law Societies of Ireland and Scotland. It is our hope that this paper will offer practitioners both a series of best practices to draw upon and a reason to do so. A second paper, that will shortly follow this one, will share and discuss quantitative and qualitative data evidencing the powerful outcomes that this weekend orientation can effect in participants.






From the Field