Crafting experiential, fit-for-purpose legal education
The street law idea grew out of the need to reverse the process of how law is currently taught in universities. Students learn the theory first without ‘real-time’ application to the facts in meeting the client’s problem. This model of education creates an under-appreciation and under-development of the skills needed in legal practice.
Between March and June 2015, an experimental 17 hours street law syllabus was tested with more than thirty (30) second year law students at the University of Malaya. Today, the syllabus is being turned into a free toolkit for any legal educator interested in introducing experiential learning into their curriculum.
Drawing from five cases that advocates from BON, Advocates have been personally involved in, our students underwent a series of inquiry, interview role playing and submission of key documents. Equipped by that experience, they went on to organise a weekend of providing free legal advice to the public which was a success. Students met real clients for the first time; they saw legal education in a new light. More than textbook knowledge, effective lawyering starts with meeting and connecting with the client, understanding the problem, documenting the facts, and researching the law to apply it to the facts for a solution.
“The facts of the case are all-important. Without the facts, there is no case and you will not be able to properly and effectively advise the Advocate.
Your challenge is to extract and distil the facts. Listen carefully to what the client is saying to you. ”
“I think this programme’s approach is very good, would recommend to others”