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Review: Public Legal Education – The Role of Law Schools In Building a More Legally Literate Society

Wallace, Amy, Review: Public Legal Education – The Role of Law Schools In Building a More Legally Literate Society (Routledge 2021) (October 8, 2021). International Journal of Public Legal Education, Forthcoming, NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3943343, Available at SSRN:

“Much has been written about public legal education (“PLE”) since the emergence of the revolutionary idea that all people, not just lawyers, need to know and understand the law. In the United States, civil rights movements in the 1970s underscored the necessity of practical legal knowledge for non-lawyers. Since then, the proliferation of public legal education programs (specifically Street Law in many countries) has been remarkable. Within this rich context, Richard Grimes’ Public Legal Education – The Role of Law Schools in Building a More Legally Literate Society, defines PLE as follows: PLE provides people with awareness, knowledge and understanding of rights and legal issues, together with the confidence and skills they need to deal with disputes and gain access to justice…(and)…recognize when they may need support…and how to go about getting it.” This definition recognizes that it is critical in a functioning democracy that people understand their rights and know how to exercise them. Scholars have written reports discussing the types of instruction that are most effective in delivering public legal education lessons. Studies have been conducted to measure the value of PLE programs for the high school students or community members participating in the sessions. Public legal education programs now exist on almost every continent and practical books and articles have been written detailing the groundbreaking projects taking place around the world. What differentiates Professor Grimes’ new book is that he examines public legal education explicitly with law school PLE providers in mind.”

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