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28 July, 2011

Lawyers and school students can learn from each other, report shows

Lawyers in Schools makes young people more confident about the law, says our evaluation report.

Almost all of the students (98 per cent) said they had learned something new about the law last year, as a result of our Lawyers in Schools programme. Nearly a third of them said they were now happier to deal with legal problems than they were at the start of the project.

How does it work? Trainee lawyers go into schools to work with students in the classroom. As a result, attitudes change. At the start the students thought the lawyers would be ‘boring and formal'. They were surprised to find them ‘relaxed' and ‘easy to talk to'.

The law itself changed from ‘a boundary to stop us having fun' to something that ‘protects' people.

Students leave the programme with more confidence. Ninety per cent said they felt more confident contributing to discussions with the lawyers than they did at the start. The discussion groups are small and create an environment ‘safe enough to express their ideas' (Teacher, Mulberry School for Girls).

The lawyers enjoy it too. A volunteer from BBC Worldwide said a personal highlight was ‘engaging with the students - stepping out of my comfort zone to try something different and to interact with teenagers - something I would otherwise not get the opportunity to do'.

The programme also benefits the lawyers and their organisations. Seventy per cent of volunteers said it gave them a better understanding of their company's corporate responsibility goals. Most of the organisations (88 per cent) said they have a better relationship with their local community as a result of taking part in the programme. The same number said the programme helped teambuilding.

‘I think it is such a valuable programme, both for the students and the volunteers. I have been involved in other volunteering programmes, but this has been the most rewarding' (volunteer, CMS Cameron McKenna).

Lawyers in Schools aims to make young people more aware of the law and how it works. We evaluate its success once a year. 

Further information

Lawyers in Schools evaluation report [pdf] 


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