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California Western --

Street Law San Diego

In California Western's Street Law Program, second and third year law students teach local high school students about aspects of the law that they will need to know as teenagers and as they become adults. Topics range from how laws are made and administered, to specific issues in criminal law, criminal procedure, juvenile justice, and the First Amendment. 

Street Law began in 1972 as part of a clinical project at Georgetown University Law Center. Over the years, Street Law has grown from a local program in Washington, D.C., to a national and international entity. Approximately 70 law schools in the U.S. now operate Street Law programs. (Pictured above: Program Director Alex Simpson with Judges Melinda Lasater and Judith Hayes.)

Street Law San Diego

California Western School of Law brought Street Law to San Diego in 2004 and has since engaged more than 700 high school students from Crawford Educational Complex and Hoover High School. In 2007, the program expanded to include the Monarch School - an alternative school servicing San Diego’s homeless population - and Palomar High School.  Street Law is a program of the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy of California Western.

This highly educational 14-week program covers topics ranging from how laws are made and the effective administration of laws, to more specific issues in criminal law, criminal procedure, juvenile justice, and the First Amendment.  The program’s goal is to ensure that participating students receive a thorough understanding of the law and its effect on their lives, to help them become more informed citizens and active members of the community.

The Street Law Mission

Street Law is a practical, participatory educational program on law, democracy, and human rights. It is designed to bring the law to life in the classroom and empower students with legal knowledge. Each student gains essential lessons that can be used for life.

Street Law Syllabus

Students will be introduced to the Street Law program and learn how to effectively communicate each week’s lesson plans.

Teaching Strategies
Students will discover the various methods of interactive education utilized in the Street Law program.

Who Makes Laws?
Students learn about the three branches of government and how laws are made, interpreted, and enforced.

What are Crimes?
Students explore the policies behind criminal laws.

The Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors
Through the use of a hypothetical scenario, students are introduced to and discuss the application of criminal law.

The Juvenile Justice System
Students explore various aspects of the juvenile justice system including differences with the adult system.

Employment Law
Students learn about their rights and responsibilities when looking for jobs.

Search, Seizure and the Fifth Amendment
Students are introduced to their rights and responsibilities under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

Family Abuse and Neglect
Students learn about the duties and responsibilities parents must fulfill.

Housing Law
Students are introduced to consumer rights and landlord tenant law.

Free Speech
Students explore the rights protected by the First Amendment.

Why Should You Be a Witness? 
Students learn about why they should report crimes if they see them happen and what they should do to make sure they are good witnesses. 

Steps in a Trial/Mock Trial Preparation
Students are introduced to the steps in both a criminal and civil trial, including filing a complaint or charge, jury selection procedures, trial techniques, and sentencing or dispensing of awards. The knowledge will be applied as students prepare for the mock trial competition.

Mock Trial Competition
Participating high school students will take the lessons they have learned over the semester and apply them towards a citywide mock trial competition against their fellow classmates and against students from rival schools.  Local attorneys and judges from the state and federal courts will help to judge the competitions.

Meet the Director

CLICK HERE to meet Alex Simpson, the director of San Diego Street Law.