Street Law’s mission is to empower Bay Area incarcerated and at-risk youth by teaching classes about the law, focusing on criminal procedure and a juvenile’s legal rights.
Street Law participants volunteer their time to team-teach youth once a week for 10 weeks. Typical classes are taught with a ration of three Stanford Law volunteer teachers to about 12-15 youth. Past volunteers have taught incarcerated youth at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, at both San Mateo’s Hillcrest School (the school for incarcerated youth in San Mateo) and Gateway School (the day-program for San Mateo youth on probation), as well as at area Community Day Schools in Daly City and Redwood City. This fall Street Law is expanding to teach middle school at-risk youth at East Palo Alto’s 49ers Academy.
Lessons cover such topics as search and seizure laws, Miranda rights, attorney-client relationship, sentencing hearings, racial profiling and violence prevention. Law students who participate in this program not only have an opportunity to put their legal knowledge to practical use, but also have the chance to experience the rewards of teaching in an environment that allows them to gain a greater understanding of the legal needs and social concerns of youth.