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Society blog

30 Aug 17

A paralegal's tale

Janet Rieu-Clarke, the Law Society’s accredited paralegal, explains the path that led her to new role at the Society and the rationale behind the new accredited paralegal status.

30 Aug 17

A call to vote from John Scott

John Scott QC urges his fellow solicitor advocates to vote for their dedicated representative

29 Aug 17

No globalisation without representation...

Katie Hay discusses the globalisation of the legal market and urges Scottish solicitors working internationally, to get involved

24 Jul 17

Bringing the world to "world-class"

Sarah Sutton, digital communications executive at the Law Society of Scotland, talks about her bright idea to ensure international representation on the Society’s Council

26 Jun 17

The Debate - backstage, front of house and top tips

In this mini-series of blogs, three key players in the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament share their individual perspectives of the event.

19 Jun 17

Got a passion for the profession?

Could one of the 23 current vacancies for 16 different committees be just right for you?

28 Apr 17

Professional Practice - advising the advisers

Scottish solicitors help their clients through some of the most momentous occasions of their lives, personal or professional, good or bad. But where do solicitors turn for support? Prof Prac, that's where.

1 Nov 16

How getting involved in debating can change your life

Head of education Rob Marrs explains how getting involved in debating, whether as competitor or judge, can be incredibly rewarding. And more importantly, he explains how to win a debate.

14 Oct 16

Career development and volunteering at the Law Society of Scotland

If you want to enhance your career, develop your skills or just give back to your profession, there are lots of different personal and professional development opportunities at the Society

4 Oct 16

Going international – a Scots lawyer's week at the IBA

John Morgan, a newly qualified solicitor at Brodies, recently received a scholarship from the International Bar Association to attend its annual conference in Washington DC. He tells of his experience

Society Blog

Street Law – not your standard law lecture

11 Aug 16

Laura-Anne Douglas, LL.B graduate from Dundee University and Street Law trainer, explains all about the Law Society’s Street Law scheme

With a reputation of being dry and difficult to understand, the law is often seen as complicated and distant. So what is the Law Society of Scotland doing about it? Street Law.

Through a highly-participatory, interactive programme, the Street Law initiative places law students in high schools to teach school pupils about the law, the legal process and its principles.

I think Street Law is one of the Law Society’s greatest achievements to date and I want to tell you why:

Open invitations

As long as there are Street Law trainers available, we are always looking for classes to teach! Get in touch and find out if there are enough Street Law trainers in your area to set up a programme.

Mutual benefit

Street law doesn’t just benefit the school pupils who get a unique introduction to legal concepts and a solid foundation of what the law is about. It also allows Street Law trainers (who are themselves still students) to really think about the reasons why the law is the way it is, and then explain it to people with limited exposure to the law - an invaluable skill set should they choose to practice in the future.

I know, personally, that Street Law has given me confidence in my own understanding of the law and this is at the core of why Street Law works so well. As trainers, we plan lessons but ultimately it is the pupils who drive the debates, create the arguments and tailor each session to their own needs.

Relevance

The law governs so many aspects of everyday life and Street Law lessons encapsulate that. As the classes are largely aimed at s4 and s5 pupils, my Street Law partner and I ran sessions based on employment law because many of our students were just getting their first part time jobs. We also planned a lesson about Stop and Search for those pupils starting their driving lessons.

Even if the pupils have absolutely no interest in pursuing a career in law, the lessons provide them with information they will use in their day to day lives.

Improving access to justice

More broadly, the programme is invaluable in promoting better access to justice.  I have taught in schools with pupils of all capabilities and backgrounds, many of whom wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to grips with some of the topics covered. It also helps pupils to experience a different side to the law with University students, not too far away from their own age, and a more open platform to really think about how the law relates to them.

Great feedback

After setting up a mock trial with school pupils at a legal careers open night, we got some really great feedback from the students who commented: “I have learned a lot about real life experiences of doing a law degree and has made me strongly want to apply for law” and “… gained more confidence in constructing an argument and learned a range of legal terminology that may be useful for my future.”

The future’s bright

With such positive reception from the schools that have taken part in the programme and word of mouth spreading the news to more law students, I can only see the programme getting more successful from here. Hopefully, it will provide the first step in the legal education of the next generation of Scottish solicitors.

Find out more about Street Law, how to sign up as a Street Law trainer and how your local schools can sign up at www.lawscot.org.uk/streetlaw

 

Blog archive

11 Sep 17

Brexit and the legal order

Government recognition of the need to continue civil judicial cooperation with EU countries after Brexit is welcome, but how can it exclude the involvement of the CJEU?

7 Aug 17

Taking access to justice seriously

The House of Lords decision on employment tribunal fees elevates this constitutional principle

10 Jul 17

Advance of the courts

There is momentum behind civil procedure reform, and practitioners need to be alert to have their say

12 Jun 17

Defend our rights

Don't sacrifice rights to combat terrorism; welcome to Edinburgh for the UK Supreme Court

8 May 17

Review time

Patience will be needed as regards the outcome of the new review of legal services regulation, but there is much for the profession to concern itself with meantime

10 Apr 17

Complaints about the Commission

It is not surprising that solicitors are complaining about the SLCC budget and levy – but what should be done?

13 Mar 17

Crack this one

Digitising summary criminal business is a tough nut to crack, but a bold attempt has been made

13 Feb 17

Imbalance of power

These days, all lawyers may need to be ready to take a stand in defence of the rule of law

9 Jan 17

Civic engagement

The Society risked becoming political in welcoming the Government paper Scotland's Place in Europe

6 Dec 16

The year that was

The Journal employment survey reveals a gloomy outlook; how can solicitors meet clients' needs in these times?