A Law Society of Scotland education programme for pupils at Scottish schools in disadvantaged areas is up for a prestigious European award. The Law Society’s Street Law programme will battle it out with 5 other projects from European cities, including Brussels and London, for the title of ‘Best training initiative’ in the European Association Awards.
Heather McKendrick, Head of Careers and Outreach at the Law Society of Scotland said, “Street Law is an amazing initiative, which sees law students deliver lessons to Scottish school pupils in disadvantaged areas. They learn how the law affects all of us through a series of lively and interactive sessions that are injected with real-life scenarios – and which may encourage some pupils to consider further studies or a career in law. Street Law is a long-term investment in young people in Scotland and a demonstration of the Law Society’s commitment to diversity in the legal profession. “In 2016 we delivered 30 Street Law programmes in 40 schools to over 1000 pupils and there are plans for growth in 2017. I am really pleased that we have been recognised in these European Awards.”
Introduced by the Society in 2014, Street Law lessons encourage pupils to consider how the law impacts on their lives and the roles they have to play as responsible citizens. At the same time, they are developing their critical thinking and communications skills. Feedback from the pupils, teachers, legal students and legal firms has been consistently and resoundingly positive.
A Law Society review of diversity within the legal profession found that fewer than one in 12 entrants to the LLB come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Street Law, which originated at Georgetown University in 1972, was one of the recommended responses to the issue of fair and equal access issue to the profession.
The 2015 pilot invited LLB and Diploma students to work with pupils of eight schools in disadvantaged areas across Scotland. Together they looked at the impact of the law in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from real life murder trials, to environmental protection issues and the use of social media.