News In Focus
"Street Law" in running for European training initiative award
Street Law, the education programme run by the Law Society of Scotland for pupils at Scottish schools in disadvantaged areas, is in the running for a European award.
The project is one of six from across Europe, nominated for the title "Best training initiative" in the European Association Awards. It involves trained law students delivering lessons in schools through discussions of real life scenarios.
Introduced by the Society in 2014 and inspired by a scheme pioneered by Georgetown University in the USA, Street Law lessons encourage pupils to consider how the law impacts on their lives, and their roles as responsible citizens. It also helps them develop their critical thinking and communications skills.
Sponsored by law firms Ashurst, CMS and Pinsent Masons, the programme seeks to counter the low number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds who go on to study the LLB degree, the normal first step to entering the legal profession. Following a pilot with eight schools in 2015, last year 30 programmes were delivered in 40 schools to more than 1,000 pupils, and the Society plans further growth in 2017.
Feedback from the pupils, teachers, legal students and legal firms has been consistently and resoundingly positive, the Society reports.
Heather McKendrick, head of careers and outreach at the Society, said the "amazing initiative" helped the pupils to "learn how the law affects all of us through a series of lively and interactive sessions that are injected with real-life scenarios", which might encourage some to consider further studies or a career in law.
She added: "Street Law is a long-term investment in young people in Scotland and a demonstration of the Law Society’s commitment to diversity in the legal profession."
Winners in the 13 categories of the inaugural European Association Awards will be announced in Brussels on 24 February. Based on the UK Association Excellence Awards, which attract more than 450 association professionals, the awards recognise excellence and exceptional achievements in European associations in all sectors and industries.