Know Your Rights

Under the direction of Randee Waldman, Emory Law students work with at-risk youth to inform them of their rights during encounters with law enforcement or during involvement in the juvenile justice system. The Know Your Rights project is a volunteer, pro bono activity open to the entire law school. The purpose of the project is to provide fundamental knowledge of rights to the at-risk youth.

First, Know Your Rights volunteers created a comprehensive, yet easy to understand pamphlet to distribute to youth attending the workshops. After identifying the rights that were most important to at-risk youth to be educated about, the team produced a pamphlet, addressing: (1) communications with law enforcement officers; (2) meeting with the intake officer, prosecutor, probation officer, and judge; (3) meeting with the defense attorney; and (4) general tips for confidentiality. 

Next, the Know Your Rights volunteers developed skits in which the law students play the role of authority figures, such as officers and attorneys, while program attendees play the role of a young person faced with real-life situations. During the role-play, the audience can advise the participant of the best course of action for the scene. At the end of each skit, law students lead a discussion of the consequences of the participant's decision and explain the best course of action. 

The Know Your Rights program provides wonderful opportunities for law students to learn leadership and teaching skills while working with young people in need of education about the legal system. 

The Know Your Rights volunteers have presented workshops at Inman Middle School, the Horizons School, Shamrock Middle School, Grady High School, AIM, the Fulton County DFCS Independent Living Program, Boys and Girls Clubs, and several other after-school programs throughout metro Atlanta.

To volunteer for the program or request a workshop, contact Randee Waldman at rwaldm2(at)emory.edu, or 404.727.6235.