Street Law - opening doors that shouldn’t be closed
Jordon Reid, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and currently a second-year commercial real estate trainee at Brodies LLP in Edinburgh, reflects on his experiences as a Street Law trainer.
Given that festival season in Edinburgh has not long passed, you’d be forgiven for thinking 'Street Law' was the name of my hotly anticipated one-man Fringe show. Much to the disappointment of my friends and colleagues, Street Law doesn't involve me breakdancing and rapping about law, but does have me ranting and raving about the success and importance of this latest initiative.
As you may already know, Street Law involves law students ‘teaching’ law to school pupils through fun and interactive games and workshops. It offers a huge number of benefits to the trainers themselves, but I want to focus on the lasting effects it can have on the pupils and the profession alike.
School leavers know little about the law
The choice to study law is a huge leap of faith. Few, if any of us, had the opportunity to learn about law at school and so our choices to study law were based on our perceptions of the profession gained through the glamour of the courtroom drama and opinions from family and friends. Sadly, it turns out that ‘Suits’ and ‘Judge Judy’ are hugely misleading (who knew?). Although it turns out that law is still the hugely competitive career choice that we’ve all heard rumours about.
Law has always been seen as a career choice reserved to the few from the right background with the top grades. Of course, grades are important, but those of us who are part of the legal profession know that it is ultimately great minds which make great lawyers, something which university can develop, but not create. Given the perceptions surrounding a career in law and the mystery of what it entails, it is easy to understand why the career seems so out of reach for many. This is where Street Law becomes hugely important.
Passing on knowledge
In my year as a Street Law trainer I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a large number of school students both at school and as part of work experience weeks at the firm at which I’m now training. The pupils I’ve met have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, each with their own skills and passions but all united with a belief that law and in some cases further education was unachievable.
I continue to be amazed by Street Law students and their ability to solve and engage in passionate discussions about legal problems without having any legal knowledge at all.
Great minds can be found from all backgrounds and it is those minds which Street Law aims to discover and encourage. Street Law gives students the opportunity to learn about the law and to develop new skills which will help them with their future studies and careers, whether legal or not.
Fun and engagement
Most importantly, Street Law uses fun and engaging activities to help students learn about their own capabilities and strengths and hopefully gives them the confidence to consider further education and hopefully a career in law.
Street Law is making huge progress in helping to shape the future of the legal profession ensuring that the brightest minds from all backgrounds have the same opportunities and are as equally motivated to pursue a career in law.
If you have the option to take part in Street Law it will definitely be one of the most worthwhile things you do during your legal career.
Interested in getting involved in Street Law? Find out more