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The Lawyer-Teacher Partnership program pairs volunteering
attorneys with teachers of high school law-related courses to
strengthen those classes and to expose young people to possible
careers in the law.
About the Lawyer-Teacher Partnership
During the semester in which the program is implemented, each
lawyer will commit to making a minimum of two classroom visits and
a minimum of one community-based activity. A community-based
activity could include, for example, a field trip to a local court,
observation of a legislative session, meeting with agency staff or
a law-related service learning project.
The lawyer and teacher will commit to ongoing communication
during the period of the program. Some of the communication will be
directed toward planning for the community-based activity. In
addition, the lawyer will agree to accept e-mails from time to time
from the class about a legal question that has arisen that the
teacher is unable to answer. The lawyers will agree to provide
reasonably quick responses to these questions and the teachers
agree to avoid overburdening their lawyer partners with
More than 16 high schools enrolled in the pilot program of the
Lawyer-Teacher Partnership for the 2007-08 school year. The
partnership is an outgrowth of the MBA's re-energized focus on
law-related education efforts, a goal of 2006-07 MBA President Mark
How the program works
Lawyer-teacher teams attend a daylong training session to
prepare and plan for the upcoming year. This year's training
session was held by Lee Arbetman, the director of
U.S. programs at Street Law Inc., an organization dedicated to
promoting the knowledge of legal rights and responsibilities.
"Lawyers and teachers in the classroom have to approach the
subject differently than those in math and science," said Arbetman.
"Where the sciences have explicit solutions, any discussion of law
in the classroom is dominated by dynamic outcomes and a lot of gray
area. Therefore, the whole approach to legal education takes on a
The Lawyer-Teacher Partnership utilizes Street Law course
material that goes beyond one-time lectures from law professionals.
In addition to lectures from those with diverse roles in the legal
system, the program includes supplemental casework for student
role-playing and a test bank that promotes critical thinking.
Mason, himself a participant in the Lawyer-Teacher Partnership,
emphasized the importance of legal education in the community
during the training session.
Since the Street Law program was founded in 1972, it has
steadily demonstrated a reduction in crime in those neighborhoods
where the program has been instituted.
Among Street Law's accomplishments are:
Empowering people to become active in civic affairs;
Promoting a culture of human rights and democracy;
Giving youth alternatives to violence;
Providing leadership training to young people;
Addressing the special needs of teen parents and youth in
juvenile justice, foster care and homeless/runaway youth
Making teaching easier with cutting-edge, participatory
Drawing real-world connections between young people's lives
and the law; and
Offering opportunities to understand conflict and transform
problems into educational experiences.
Related articles about the program:
MBA links the law with the
classroom thanks to an innovative partnership
(Lawyers Journal, May 2007)
Worcester County attorney
and teacher team up to help students learn the law through new
partnership program (Lawyers Journal, May
To volunteer for this program, contact the Community
Services Department at (617) 338-0695, or communityservices.
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