The Street Law Program is run in partnership with the Monash Law Students’ Society (LSS).
Professor Jeff Giddings works with a group of volunteer Monash law students to develop their skills to present community legal education talks to school groups. Students will work together in workshops to prepare them for the Street Law experience, as well as to discuss their experiences.
Student groups have delivered 10 presentations to a range of schools. This program will continue to offer opportunities for middle-year volunteer law students to develop client-focused skills that will prepare them for taking part in the Monash Clinical Program.
A Student Reflection on the Monash Street Law Program – Nate Cheng
In September 2019, I found myself alongside a fellow Monash Law student in front of a class of year 10s at a local Secondary College. We were there to conduct a community legal workshop covering employment rights under Australian law. The workshop, which took us four weeks to design, was one among nine others in Monash Law School’s first year of Street Law.
Having joined Street Law not knowing exactly what to expect, my partner and I were apprehensive about whether we could engage a group of teenagers for a little over ninety minutes. Street Law’s biggest challenge was set out before us. What were the ways we could make community law fun, interactive and interesting for a group of school students? The process behind designing a Street Law workshop was not to be taken fleetingly. It was about trying and testing different teaching methods and deciding which helped students feel most stimulated and challenged. We discovered that one of the best ways to get students to engage was to remove the tables, chairs and screens throughout the workshop. The students with whom we worked felt more inclined to get involved when they were required to stand up, walk around and speak to each other. Very quickly, the importance of interactive community legal education became clear. The skills I acquired in Street Law became incredibly beneficial for how I approached my placement at the Monash Law Clinics later that summer. Having explored different ways of making legal information memorable and engaging, I came prepared with the skills to deliver legal advice in ways my clients found relevant and easy to understand. Sometimes, it involved a bit of trial and error. Now, as the Monash Law Students’ Society’s first Street Law Officer, it is exciting to work alongside Jeff Giddings to contribute to the ever-evolving fabric of Monash Law School’s clinical education programs.