Robert Schwartz, Esq.

Co-Founder & Executive Director Emeritus

Robert Schwartz co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975 and was its executive director from 1982 to 2015.

In his career at Juvenile Law Center, Bob represented dependent and delinquent children in Pennsylvania juvenile and appellate courts; brought class-action litigation over institutional conditions and probation functions; testified in Congress before House and Senate committees; and spoke in over 30 states on matters related to children and the law.

Bob's career was not been limited to Pennsylvania, but included fighting nationally and internationally for youth’s rights. Bob chaired the American Bar Association's Commission on Youth at Risk from 2011-2013. From 1992-98 and 2006-08, he was chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section. In 1993 he also co-authored the American Bar Association's report, America's Children at Risk; and in 1995 he helped author a follow-up report on youth's access to quality lawyers, A Call for Justice. In 1993 he visited South Africa to help develop a legal system for children, and was invited to China in 2010 to speak to judges and lawyers about sentencing of youth. Bob visited China again in 2018, speaking at a symposium sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.  He co-edited the 2020 RWI volume, The Role of Social Work in Juvenile Justice: International Perspectives.

From 1996-2006, Bob was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. As part of the Network, he co-edited Youth on Trial: A Developmental Perspective on Juvenile Justice (University of Chicago Press: 2000). From 1996-99 he was a gubernatorial appointee to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. From 1991 to 2012, he was a gubernatorial appointee to the Commission's Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee, which is the State Advisory Group that distributes federal funds in Pennsylvania and advises the governor regarding juvenile justice policy. Bob in 2005 became chair of the Advisory Committee to the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. From 2003-2012, he chaired the Board of the Philadelphia Youth Network.

Bob has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mark Hardin Award from the ABA Center on Children and the Law; Andrew Hamilton Award, presented by the Philadelphia Bar Association "for exemplary service in the public interest"; the Reginald Heber Smith Award, presented by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association; the Livingston Hall Award, presented by the American Bar Association; and the Stephen M. Cahn Award, presented by the National Association of Counsel for Children for career achievement; and the Haverford Award for service to humanity. He is a graduate of Temple University School of Law and of Haverford College, which in 2011 also awarded him an honorary degree.

After retiring from Juvenile Law Center in 2015, Bob served from 2016-17 as a Visiting Fellow at the Stoneleigh Foundation. In 2016 he joined the board of the National Association of Counsel for Children. In 2017 he became the Beck Chair in Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law; in 2019 the law school named him a Visiting Scholar.

Articles and Publications

“Gault’s Ripple Effect: The Founding of Juvenile Law Center,” in Rights, Race and Reform: 50 Years of Child Advocacy in the Juvenile Justice System, ed. by K. Henning, L. Cohen, E. Marrus (Routledge, 2018).

“A 21st Century Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile Probation Approach,” Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2018).

“Youth on Probation: Bringing a 20th Century Service into a Developmentally Friendly 21st Century World,” Stoneleigh Foundation monograph, November 2017.

Preface to Symposium Issue on “Empowerment v. Protection,” 88 Temple Law Review 615 (2016).

Katherine Burdick, Jessica Feierman, Catherine Feeley, Autumn Dickman, Robert G. Schwartz, Building Brighter Futures: Tools for Improving Academic and Career/Technical Education in the Juvenile Justice System, 2015.

Jessica Feierman, Kacey Mordecai, Robert G. Schwartz, "Ten Strategies to Reduce Juvenile Length of Stay," 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.

Jessica Feierman, Rachel M. Kleinman, David Lapp, Monique N. Luse, Len Reiser, and Bob G. Schwartz, "Stemming the Tide: Promising Legislation to Reduce School Referrals to the Courts," Family Court Review, Vol. 51, Issue 3, July 2013. 

Robert Schwartz, "Age-Appropriate Charging and Sentencing," Criminal Justice [American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section quarterly magazine] , Fall 2012

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. 

Robert Schwartz, "My Turn: The Big Question Over the Luzerne County's Scandal," Policy & Practice: The Magazine of the American Public Human Services Association, August 2009

Robert Schwartz, "Punishment, Legal," in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion (R. Shweder, ed.), 2009

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

Robert Schwartz, "Symposium of Juvenile Competency and Culpability: Defense Perspective," in Thomas M. Cooley Journal of Practical and Clinical Law, Vol. 8, special issue, 2006

Robert Schwartz, "Like they see 'em," The New York Times, October 6, 2005

Robert Schwartz, "Juvenile Justice and Positive Youth Development," in Handbook of Applied Developmental Sciences (F. Jacobs, D. Wertlieb, R. Lerner, Sage, eds.), Vol. 2, 2003

Grisso, Steinberg, Woolard, Cauffman, Scott, Graham, Lexcen, Reppucci, and Schwartz, "Juveniles' Competence to Stand Trial: A Comparison of Adolescents' and Adults' Capacities as Trial Defendants," in Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 4, August 2003

Robert Schwartz and Thomas Grisso, Youth on Trial: A Developmental Perspective on Juvenile Justice, 2001

Robert Schwartz, "Juvenile Justice and Positive Youth Development," in Trends in Youth Development: Visions, Realities and Challenges (P.L. Benson & K. Pittman, eds.), 2001

Robert Schwartz and Len Rieser, "Zero Tolerance as Mandatory Sentencing," in Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment in Our Schools(Ayers, Dohrn & Ayers, eds.), 2001

Robert Schwartz, "Sending Miriam White's case to adult court is a step backward," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 11, 2000

Robert Schwartz, "Legal delays warp children's lives," The New York Times, April 29, 2000

Robert Schwartz, "Positive Youth Development and Juvenile Justice," in Youth Development: Issues, Challenges, and Directions (G. Walker, ed.), 2000

Robert Schwartz, "The Development and Direction of Children's Law in America," in Children's Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2, 1997

Robert Schwartz, "Report of the Working Group on Determining the Best Interest of the Child," in Fordham Law Review Special Issue: Ethical Issues in the Legal Representation of Children, Vol. LXIV, No. 4, March 1996

Robert Schwartz with Theresa Glennon, Forward to Symposium: "Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The Evolution of Children's Rights," in Temple Law Review, Vol. 68, No. 4, Winter 1995

Robert Schwartz with Patricia Puritz, Sue Burrell, Mark Soler, and Loren Warboys, "A Call for Justice: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings," American Bar Association, 1995

Robert Schwartz with James E. Anderson, "Secure Detention in Pennsylvania, 1981-1990," in Reforming Juvenile Detention: No More Hidden Closets (Schwartz, I. & Barton, W., eds.), 1994

Robert Schwartz, "Schall v. Martin and Juvenile Detention," in Child, Parent, and State: Law and Policy Reader, 1994

Robert Schwartz, "Toward Justice for Juveniles in South Africa," newsletter of Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1994

Robert Schwartz with Mimi Rose, "Civil and Criminal Judicial Intervention," in Child Abuse: A Medical Reference (Ludwig & Kornberg, eds.), 2nd ed., 1992

Robert Schwartz, "The Children and Youth Services System," in The Rights of Disabled Children (Pennsylvania Bar Association, ed.), 1991

Robert Schwartz, "Book Review: 'Grading New York's Juvenile Justice System,'" Philadelphia Inquirer, May 30, 1988

Robert Schwartz with Penelope A. Boyd and Janet F. Stotland, "Developing Legal Strategies for Obtaining Services for Children with Emotional Problems," in Children's Legal Rights Journal, Vol. IX, No. 4, 1988

Robert Schwartz (contrib. ed.), Child Abuse and the Law (3rd ed.), 1987

Robert Schwartz, "Agenda for Juvenile Justice Reform," Children's Rights Chronicle, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1987

Robert Schwartz, "A larger jail won't stop youth crime," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 23, 1986

Robert Schwartz (contrib. ed.), Child Abuse and the Law (2nd ed.), 1985

Robert Schwartz, "Representing Dependent Children," in Children's Rights Chronicle, December 1983

Robert Schwartz, "Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court," in Children's Rights Chronicle, September 1981

Robert Schwartz, "Emancipation of Minors in Pennsylvania," in Children's Rights Chronicle, August 1981

Robert Schwartz (for the Support Center for Child Advocates), "Representing the Foster Child - Reunification as the First Priority," in Legal Options for Permanency Planning, 1979

Robert Schwartz (contrib. ed.), Child Abuse and the Law, 1977