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Legal Life Skills for Youths

Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights

Street Law’s Legal Life Skills for Youths targets underserved youth populations, and Street Law provides a curriculum and training to program facilitators.

Street Law’s Legal Life Skills Programs equip youth with the legal knowledge, skills, and confidence to bring about positive change for themselves, and their communities. Legal or social service professionals (trained by Street Law) lead participants through a series of practical law lessons designed to boost knowledge and build skills.

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Yolanda Johnson

director, legal life skills programs

Street Law designed its Legal Life Skills for Youths program using a positive youth development approach to support young people through challenging transitions and prepare them to succeed as adults. It meets the unique needs of a variety of youth populations, including young people who are

  • involved in the court/juvenile justice systems
  • aging out of foster care
  • re-entering the community from residential
  • placements or detention centers
  • homeless
  • pregnant and/or parenting

Most Legal Life Skills programs are hosted by agencies or organizations serving these youth populations, but law firms or corporate legal departments may choose to sponsor a program in partnership with a local agency, organization, or school. Contact Yolanda Johnson for more information.

Like all Street Law initiatives, Legal Life Skills for Youths includes practical, relevant, legal content, facilitation by trained, competent, and caring professionals, and the opportunity to practice and build skills. Social service or legal professionals lead participants through lessons that are built on the interests and experiences of the youths and include information they can use in their daily lives. The lessons and activities build skills like conflict resolution, decision-making, communication, analytical thinking, and advocacy skills. All lesson facilitators are trained and supported by Street Law.


“The engaging material and student-friendly approach to delivering the lessons really helped the participants understand and retain information about the law and their legal rights and responsibilities.”

– Haley Kartey, Independent Living Coordinator, Maryland Department of Social Services, Prince George’s County

How the Program Works

Identify Participant Need

Agencies or organizations that serve youth can contact Street Law to become a Street Law Legal Life Skills program site. Agency staff will work with Street Law to identify the needs of their participant youth and identify program facilitators (either agency staff and/or volunteer professionals from the legal community). Each site is encouraged to identify at least two youth participants to be youth leaders. Youth leaders bring the youth voice to key program decisions and serve as advocates for their peers during the entire program process.  


Street Law staff conducts a training session for the facilitators, the volunteers, and the youth leaders. Training participants learn about legal content and interactive teaching methods. During the training, participants will learn the Legal Life Skills curriculum, and, with the help of the youth leaders, decide which lessons to teach.

Program Implementation

The recommended program cycle is eight weeks long, with one lesson taught each week. Lessons are typically 90 minutes long. Each site has the flexibility to design the structure of the program.

Each lesson includes practical legal content and activities that encourage young people to apply what they’ve learned and develop and strengthen critical-thinking and communications skills.