Marsha Levick, Esq.

Chief Legal Officer

Marsha Levick, Chief Legal Officer, co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, she has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law. Marsha oversees Juvenile Law Center’s litigation and appellate docket. She has successfully litigated challenges to unlawful and harmful laws, policies and practices on behalf of children in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.  She also spearheaded Juvenile Law Center’s litigation arising out of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges’ corruption scandal, known as the “kids for cash” scandal, where Juvenile Law Center successfully sought the expungement and vacatur of thousands of juveniles’ cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and is pursuing civil damages for the children and their families in a federal civil rights class action.

Marsha has authored or co-authored numerous appellate and amicus briefs in state and federal appeals courts throughout the country, including many before the US Supreme Court, and has argued before both state and federal appellate courts in Pennsylvania and numerous other jurisdictions. She co-authored the lead child advocates’ amicus briefs in key recent United States Supreme Court cases, including Roper v. Simmons (juvenile death penalty unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment); Graham v. Florida (life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment); J.D.B. v North Carolina (a juvenile’s age is relevant to the Miranda custody analysis under the Fifth Amendment); and Miller v. Alabama (mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide offenses unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment). She also served as co-counsel in Montgomery v Louisiana, where the Supreme Court ruled Miller retroactive throughout the country. Marsha is a frequent speaker and lecturer on children’s rights nationwide, and has also co-authored numerous scholarly articles on children’s rights. 

2015 Philadelphia Award - Marsha Levick from Rich Tolsma Productions on Vimeo.

She serves on the boards of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and is a member of the Dean's Council, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She has received numerous awards for her work, including:

  • Temple University’s Women's Law Caucus Professional Achievement Award (2006)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association Child Advocate of the Year Award (2008)
  • Foundation for the Improvement of Justice Award (2009)
  • Philadelphia Bar Association’s Andrew Hamilton Award (2009)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer Citizen of the Year (2009) (co-recipient)
  • American Association for Justice Leonard Weinglass Award (2010)
  • American Bar Association Livingston Hall Award (2010)
  • Rutgers-Camden Black Law Student Association Champion of Justice Award (2010)
  • The Legal Intelligencer, Women of Distinction (2010)
  • Clifford Scott Green Bill of Rights Award, Federal Bar Association, Philadelphia Criminal Justice Section (2010) (co-recipient)
  • Good Shepherd Mediation Program Shepherd of Peace Award (2010)
  • Philadelphia Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section Thurgood Marshall Award (2011) (Co-recipient)
  • Friends Select School, Distinguished Alumnae Award (2011)
  • Arlen Specter Award, The Legal Intelligencer (2013)
  • Philadelphia Award (2015)
  • AACAP Cather in the Rye Award (2017)

She was a finalist for The Legal Intelligencer 2016 Attorney of the Year.

Marsha is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law School. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Articles and Publications

Naomi E. S. Goldstein, PhD, Emily Haney-Caron, MS, JD, Marsha Levick, JD, and Danielle Whiteman, JD, "Waving Good-Bye to Waiver: A Developmental Argument Against Youths' Waiver of Miranda Rights," Legislation and Public Policy. (2018)

Elizabeth Scott, Thomas Grisso, Marsha Levick, and Laurence Steinberg, "Juvenile Sentencing Reform in a Constitutional Framework," Temple Law Review. (2016)

Marsha Levick and Joanna Visser Adjoian, "Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Kent v. United States: Reflecting on the Prosecution of Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System," For the Defense, Vol. 1, Issue 4 (December 2016).

Marsha Levick and Riya Saha Shah, "The Momentum Builds: Challenging Lifetime Registration of Juveniles Convicted of Sexual Offenses in the Post-Roper Era," NYU Review of Law and Social Change, March 2016.

Marsha Levick, "The Pendulum Swings: Looking Back at More Than a Century of Juvenile Justice Reform in the United States," New Jersey Lawyer, October 2015.

Marsha Levick and Robert Schwartz, "Practical Implications of Miller and Jackson: Obtaining Relief in Court and Before the Parole Board," in University of Minnesota Law School's Law and Inequality, Vol. XXXI, No. 2, Summer 2013.

Marsha Levick, "From a Trilogy to a Quadrilogy: Miller v. Alabama Makes It Four in a Row for U.S. Supreme Court Cases That Support Differential Treatment of Youth," Criminal Law Reporter, 91 CrL 748, 09/12/2012.  

Marsha Levick, Jessica Feierman, Sharon Messenheimer Kelley, Naomi Sevin Goldstein, The Eighth Amendment Evolves: Defining Cruel And Unusual Punishment Through The Lens Of Childhood And Adolescence,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Policy, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Spring 2012)

 Marsha L. Levick and Elizabeth-Ann Tierney, “The United States Supreme Court Adopts A Reasonable Juvenile Standard In J.D.B. v. North Carolina For Purposes Of The Miranda: Custody Analysis: Can A More Reasoned Justice System For Juveniles Be Far Behind?” Harvard Civil Rights –Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 47, No.2 (Spring-Summer 2012)

Marsha Levick, "J.D.B. v. North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court Heralds the Emergence of the 'Reasonable Juvenile' in American Criminal Law,"Criminal Law Reporter, 89 CrL 753, 08/24/11.

Robert Schwartz and Marsha Levick, "When a 'right' is not enough: Implementation of the right to counsel in an age of ambivalence," Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 9, Issue 2, 2010. 

Marsha Levick, "Kids Really Are Different: Looking Past Graham v. Florida," Criminal Law Reporter, Vol. 87, No. 14, 2010.

Marsha Levick and Kristina Moon, "Prosecuting Sexting as Child Pornography: A Critique," Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 4, Summer 2010.

Jessica Feierman, Marsha Levick, and Ami Mody, "The School to Prison Pipeline ... and Back: Obstacles and Remedies for the Re-Enrollment of Adjudicated Youth," New York School Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2009/10.

Marsha Levick and Robert G. Schwartz, "Changing the Narrative: Convincing Courts to Distinguish Between Misbehavior and Criminal Conduct in School Referral Cases," University of the District of Columbia Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2007.

Marsha Levick and Neha Desai, "Still Waiting: The Elusive Quest to Ensure Juveniles a Constitutional Right to Counsel at All Stages of the Juvenile Court Process," Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, Fall 2007.

Nina W. Chernoff and Marsha Levick, "Beyond the Death Penalty: Implications of Adolescent Development Research for the Prosecution, Defense, and Sanctioning of Youthful Offenders," Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, July 2005.

Marsha Levick and Francine T. Sherman, "When Individual DIfferences Demand Equal Treatment: An Equal Rights Approach to the Special Needs of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System," Wisconsin Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2003.