February 10, 2014
Street Law at Lewis & Clark Law School has been honored by terrific support from Deans and the faculty.
My colleague, Law Professor Steve Kantor remembers an accreditation visit by the ABA and having someone ask about the relevance of giving credit for the Street Law class. Steve was quick to attest to the class being one of the most important classes offered at the law school. As far as I know, there have been no other questions from the ABA of the value of the class.
Offered every semester since the fall of 1979, alumni of the Street Law program have gone on to sit on the Oregon Court of Appeals, lead major law firms, and teach high school—having decided from their Street Law experience that teaching was their true calling. I have urged participating law students to get involved at a local level. One student was successfully elected to their local school board, loved it, and decided to run for the State Legislature, where he is now one of the rising stars!
While back in 1979, a few tenured faculty worried about students having Street Law listed on their transcripts, today with almost 40 students a year, it is viewed as an asset and something valuable to discuss in interviews with potential employers. The program has also been an asset for law school admissions with students writing about the law student who came to teach at their high school as a reason they want to attend Lewis & Clark.
When we began the program, many high schools offered elective Street Law classes. Today, with so many cuts in social studies departments, we are placing many law students in government and economics classes. The quality of the students has preserved the reputation with teachers and we always have more teachers wanting a law student than we can accommodate.
Street Law continues to meet the needs of law students, teachers, and high school students. As a third year student in a new Street Law program, I had the light-bulb go on while standing in a classroom and realized that teaching law to non-lawyers was my calling. This has been a dream job. I am so blessed to have so many people value the importance of young people understanding how the legal system works.
(Reproduced with permission)
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