Another outstanding feature of the Street Law course is the Mentor program, in which each Street Law class is paired with a law firm or legal organization. The Street Law Clinic partners with the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs through Kent Withycombe, Esq., Director of the WLC's Public Education Project.
The Mentor Firm or Organization typically is involved in Street Law in four ways:
- First, in cooperation with the law student instructor and the WLC's Public Education Project, representatives from the firm or organization visit the class to teach about certain aspects of the law in which the firm or organization is involved.
- Second, the firm or organization takes the students on a field trip to a law-related activity it is connected to, such as a visit to a Superior Court trial, a Congressional hearing, or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Third, the firm or organization invites the students to a visit to the firm or organization itself, where the students learn about the operations of a law firm/agency, observe potential careers from legal secretary to lawyer, and perhaps examine the development of a case in some detail.
- Fourth, the Mentor firm or organization assists the class to prepare for the mock trial competition. This is typically the most extensive and intensive assistance provided by the Mentors
Street Law Mock Trial Tournament
Each year, the D.C. Street Law Project culminates with a Mock Trial Tournament. This tournament pits teams of students from District of Columbia high schools against each other in a test of advocacy.
Coached by their law student instructors and lawyers from mentor law firms, the high school students prepare over a six week period to be lawyers and witnesses in a complex and controversial case. During that time, they master the facts, analyze the witness statements, statutes, case law and documents, hone their oral skills, practice courtroom procedures, and master trial skills and rules of evidence. The contestants litigate a hypothetical lawsuit based on a complex scenario composed by the clinic staff. Superior Court judges, local attorneys and law students volunteer their time to serve as judges and scorers.
The two preliminary rounds of the competition are held at the Superior Court in the District of Columbia. Approximately 400 students in up to 40 teams from all street law classes participate in the tournament. Over 400 parents, teachers, principals, and friends have observed the trials each night. The final round of the tournament takes place in the moot courtroom at the Georgetown University Law Center.
DC Human Rights Act Competition
Since 2011, the Street Law High Schools Clinic has partnered with the D.C. Human Rights Commission and Chief Judge David Simmons. During fall semester, Street Law classes around the district a three part unit on Human Rights involving: 1) learning and activities focusing on global human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2) the D.C. Human Rights Act, and 3) preparation of projects for a multimedia contest centering around the theme of the DC Human Rights Act. Contestants submit poetry, rap, visual art, music, comics, sculpture, and other demonstratives to show their unique and thorough understanding and interpretation of the statute and how it applies to their lives in the District. The projects are displayed at Georgetown Law Center, where prizes are awarded during Human Rights celebration. Finalists subsequently attend a reception sponsored by the D.C. Human Rights Commission. In 2012, over 150 high school student projects were submitted for the competition.
Literacy and Law Seminar
This seminar, taught by Professor Roe and Professor John Hirsh of the Georgetown University Department of English, explores the relationships between literacy and law. The course explores learning theories and practices regarding emergent literacy and examine their legal and social implications. The course is open to upper division law students and graduate students in English.
Readings and seminar activities are drawn from three areas:
- Educational theory and practice
- Children's literature
The course focuses upon whole language and other approaches which now inform literacy instruction in America. Legal implications include restrictions on literacy due to discrimination and educational disadvantage, equal protection and diversity, freedom of speech, school finance, and English as a second language. Participating students attend the weekly 2 hour seminar, teach a one hour per week practicum to an emerging reader, maintain an analytical and reflective journal of their seminar observations and practicum experiences, and write a final paper. Final papers can consist of a conventional paper, a literacy and legal autobiography, or children's book with a short explanatory and analytical essay combining literacy and law topics.