Edward Lee O'Brien, 69, co-founder of Street Law, Inc., and a pioneer of law-related education, died on Thursday, July 2, 2015, in New York City. Serving as Executive Director of Street Law Inc., for almost four decades, Ed brought Street Law's democracy, human rights and legal education programs to high school classrooms, prisons, courts, police departments and communities worldwide – using innovative inter-active teaching methodologies.
Ed’s vision took Street Law international in 1985, first to South Africa, establishing an enduring partnership with his lifelong friend, David McQuoid-Mason, the then Dean of the University of Natal Law School. Afterwards, he led programs in Latin America, East and West Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Ed was a great advocate of social justice in the human rights and democracy education programs that were developed in South Africa and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (then the University of Natal) awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Laws for his world-wide contribution to social justice and legal education.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal will again honour Ed in 2016, by holding the Ed O’Brien International Street Law and Legal Literacy Best Practices Conference in Durban, preceded by Ed’s favourite past-time in South Africa – visiting the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. We hope that many of Ed’s clinical law friends, colleagues and admirers will attend.