In keeping with Street Law’s tradition of exposing educationally and economically disadvantaged youth to the practical aspects of the law and government, we have partnered with the Rutgers–Newark Academic Foundations Center to add a legal and governmental studies component to their Consortium for Pre-College Education in Greater Newark program. This new Street Law initiative is called the Summer Enrichment Law Academy (SELA), and it is a six-week summer program in which Newark-area youth will take part in an interactive educational forum intended to empower them through knowledge of the legal issues that affect them, their families, and their communities.
SELA’s curriculum will cover the basic workings of government and the democratic process, the understanding of which will enable SELA students to become more responsible and involved members of society. The program will also focus on social skills, professional etiquette, volunteerism, and professional development. Finally, SELA students will be challenged – through exercises in analytical and critical thinking, negotiation and persuasion, and effective communication – to develop skills important to their future academic and professional careers.
Instructors, comprised of Rutgers Law School faculty, administrators, and second and third-year law students, will cover such topics as criminal law, human rights, landlord-tenant law, and consumer fraud. Other areas of study, including reading, writing and math, will be introduced through methods such as mock law school exams, drafting of legal documents, case briefing, and basic federal income tax preparation and filing.
Students will be eligible to attend day trips selected for their academic value, as tied into the lessons taught throughout the program. For example, this year day trips included Washington, DC to enhance what the students learned about copyright and intellectual property law, to Ellis Island to enhance what they learned about Constitutional and immigration law, and to El Museo del Barrio to enhance what they learned about cultural property rights.
Participation in SELA by the students makes them eligible to participate in Rutgers–Newark Academic Foundations Center’s Consortium for Pre-College Education and the Saturday Academy.
Law students who participate in SELA will gain practical experience applying their presentation and research skills, learn about the community they are serving, and earn pro bono merit for successfully completing 35 or more hours of service.