Street Law Special Projects
The Street Law Program is accentuated by several special projects. These projects allow greater interaction with the legal community and the DC community. Special projects also give our high school participants the opportunity to show off their accomplishments throughout the course.
An outstanding feature of the DC Street Law course is the Attorney Mentor program. The Attorney mentor program pairs a law firm or legal organization with a Street Law high school class. The Georgetown Street Law program partners with the Washington Lawyers' Committee (WLC) for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs through Kent Withycombe, Esq., Director of the WLC's Public Education Project to identify partners and make pairings
The mentor firm or legal organization participates in Street Law in four ways:
- In cooperation with the DC Street Law program, law student instructor and the WLC's Public Education Project, representatives from the firm or organization visit the class to teach about the law in which the firm or organization is involved.
- 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.
- The firm or organization invites the students to visit its office, 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.
- The Mentor firm or organization in partnership with the DC Street Law program and the law student instructor assists the class to prepare for the mock trial competition. This is typically the most extensive and intensive assistance provided by the mentor lawyers.
Each spring, the Street Law Program holds a Mock Trial Tournament. This tournament hosts teams of students from District of Columbia high schools to display their advocacy skills.
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 written by the clinic staff. This effort is supported by the larger legal community as DC Superior Court judges, local attorneys and law students volunteer their time to serve as judges and scorers.
The first two rounds of the mock trial competition are held at the Superior Court in the District of Columbia. Approximately 300 students in up to 30 teams from all street law classes participate in the tournament. Over 200 parents, teachers, principals, and friends have observed the trials each night. In the end, two teams participate in the final round of the tournament which takes place at the Georgetown University Law Center and is presided over by a sitting judge
Since 2011, the Street Law Program has partnered with the D.C. Human Rights Commission and Chief Administrative Law Judge David Simmons. During the fall semester, Street Law classes around the District participate in a project based unit on Human Rights involving student centered exercises. The unit focuses on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the D.C. Human Rights Act.
Students prepare 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.
A team of evaluators consider each project carefully and judge each submission. The projects are displayed at Georgetown University Law Center, where prizes are awarded during a celebration of human rights. Finalists in each category attend a reception sponsored by the D.C. Human Rights Commission. In 2017, over 200 high school students participated in the competition.