Emmanuel De Abreu, studied both the LL.B and DPLP at the University of Glasgow graduating in 2018 and currently works as an Administrative Officer at the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service whilst seeking to secure a traineeship
When I became a street law trainer, I was undertaking the LL.B at the University of Glasgow and I was looking for opportunities to hone my public speaking and presentation skills. Although I was always described as the loudest voice in the classroom, I have always avoided any public speaking situation out of fear of succumbing to my nerves. As an aspiring legal professional, I felt that this was a fundamental issue. I heard about the Street Law Project and it sounded like a logical course of action to solve this shortcoming and a great opportunity to get involved with a worthwhile initiative.
The initial thought of teaching a class of high school students appeared to me as a very challenging and scary task, however, after attending the Law Society’s mandatory training weekend I felt truly prepared! The training was intense and interactive, but it was a great opportunity to interact with fellow law students from across Scotland and most of all it was great fun!
Working with the school pupils is great fun too. The pupils are always engaged, and they have also taught me so much through their participation in the classes. There have been instances where a pupil has asked me something that I did not know, and this has served as a learning opportunity for me as well as the pupils. There have also been times where the discussions have been so interesting that the teachers have been drawn into debates and exercises along with the students which can prove interesting!
I have now volunteered as a street law trainer for three years and I can say, without any doubt, that joining the Street Law Project was the best decision that I have ever made. I have not only surpassed my goal to overcome my fear of public speaking but I have also helped to inspire pupils who may not have thought about it, to consider studying law and a career in the legal profession and I have also gained valuable experiences along the way.
Through my ‘can-do’ mentality and commitment to the project, I have been provided with exceptional opportunities out-with the usual legal work experience including facilitating lessons at the Scottish Parliament and law firms such as CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and Irwin Mitchell. I was also provided the opportunity to collaborate with BBC Radio Scotland, working alongside Denise Mina on a programme which promoted Street Law as a public legal education initiative. For this opportunity, I facilitated a Mock Trial with pupils from Lochend Community High School, Glasgow, and I was also interviewed by Kaye Adams afterwards!
If you are looking for a rewarding experience, have a positive attitude, want to improve your confidence and public speaking skills and want to help inspire pupils to pursue a better future and stand out in the tough legal market, all I can say to you is – think about getting involved with Street Law. It will easily be the best decision you ever make!