December 19, 2008
Professor Fred Galves is excited about his Street Law International class, which is heading into its third year next semester.
Ten J.D. students and two LLM students will participate in the three-credit, one-semester course that places the law students in the role of teachers with Sacramento High School students as their pupils.
“Lawyers have to be very good teachers as they’re constantly instructing their clients, as well as juries and counsel in the law,” Galves said. “The feedback from the first two years of the program has been extremely positive and there’s no doubt our law students are getting a lot of satisfaction in helping area youth.”
Thirty Sacramento High students are signed up for the course. Each law student/teacher spends portions of two days in the high school classrooms, teaching primers on legal subjects with an emphasis on real-world law that touches their daily lives. The curriculum includes both American and international legal components. The law students also provide after-school mentoring to the high school students on their normal subjects. Veteran attorneys and judges from the Sacramento Bar Association regularly join the classes.
The program builds toward a full-day trial in mid-April that gives the high school students a chance to role play as trial lawyers with law students, attorneys, and judges as witnesses. The day after a courtroom trial on the McGeorge campus, the law school and high school students will be honored at a banquet at ARCO Arena that will precede a Sacramento Kings game.
“The election of former NBA all-star Kevin Johnson, the founder of St. Hope who engineered the chartering of Sacramento High, has energized our Oak Park community,” Galves said. “Our Street Law International program has been wonderful for our students, their mentees and the families of those high school students as well. It is great to see our law students develop professionally as they help to educate the high school students about sophisticated legal concepts, as well as inspire them to attain their educational dreams."