Professor Liebmann has directed the interdisciplinary Hofstra Youth Advocacy Clinic since its inception. In his capacity as Attorney-in-Charge, he supervises law students and mental health trainees working together to advocate on behalf of youth involved in the immigration and child welfare legal systems. Professor Liebmann and his students have represented hundreds of youth in cases involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, as well as related delinquency, custody and guardianship matters. Prior to his current position at Hofstra, Professor Liebmann was a lawyer for children in maltreatment and juvenile delinquency cases at the Manhattan office of the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division. Professor Liebmann serves as Director of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s Training the Lawyer to Represent the Whole Child program, frequently leads workshops on topics such as the role of the law guardian and immigrant youth issues, and co-authors regular columns in the New York Law Journal on children and the law. He recently developed a NITA case file and program providing training in collaborative skills for lawyers and social workers who work in the child dependency field. Professor Liebmann has written in the areas of the overlap between child welfare and immigration law, the impact of family law legal standards on the physical and emotional well-being of youth and children, and ethical problems in the representation of children.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (5)
NYSBA Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare (professional)
The New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the Law recognized Professor Theo Liebmann with a 2017 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. The Howard A. Levine Award recognizes the vital services of lawyers and non-lawyers who have done outstanding work to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Hofstra Law School David A. Diamond Distinguished Public Service Award (professional)
CARECEN Award for Service to Latino and Immigrant Communities (professional)
Center for Children, Families and the Law (professional)
Board of Advisors
State of New York Unified Court System (professional)
Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Courts
American Bar Association Commission on Youth at Risk (professional)
Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC: J.D. 1995
Yale University, New Haven, CT: B.A., Philosophy 1990
- Family Court Review : Editorial Board, August 2002 to Present
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts : Member, August 2002 to Present
- Clinical Legal Education Association : Member, May 2000 to Present
Media Appearances (5)
Immigrants change up their routines, brace for arrest
Theo Liebmann, the head of Hofstra's law schools deportation clinic, and others are vowing a legal and political fight against deportations. But the battle, they admit, could be an uphill one...
Hofstra will open clinic to aid immigrants’ deportation defense
Theo Liebmann, clinical programs director at the university’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law, said his office has experienced “a significant increase in calls” since the 2016 presidential campaign in which Trump made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his agenda...
New York courts create panel to study immigrants' legal access
The Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court, made up of about 20 lawyers and judges from the legal and advocacy communities, will be co-chaired by Theo Liebmann, a Long Island professor who directs the Youth Advocacy Clinic at Hofstra University...
Hofstra Law to open deportation defense clinic
WSHU Public Radio
One of the founders of the clinic, Theo Liebmann, says the creation of the clinic was in direct response to the Trump administration.
“Right now there is as intense a need for good legal advocacy for immigrants out here as there has ever been.”...
Analysis: Mandatory reporting laws could harm children
“You’d have to employ an awful lot more case workers to deal with all these reports,” said Theo Liebmann, who directs the Hofstra Child Advocacy Clinic. “You’d get some crazy stuff.”...
Event Appearances (6)
Protecting Children in New York: Threats to the Principles of Child Protection in the Current Immigration Policy Environment
Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University, May 2017 New York, NY
Panelist, Protecting Immigrants in Our Communities
NYS Permanent Commission on Access to Justice Conference: The Role of Law Schools in Helping Meet the Essential Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income New Yorkers May 2017 Queens, NY
Adelante: Meeting the Social and Legal Services Needs of Central American Refugees in NY Ethical Issues in Representing Central American Refugee Families
Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University, December 2016 New York, NY
Judicial Master Class: Children in Court
New York City Family Court Judges Association June 2016 New York, NY
What Legislators Should Know about Immigration Law
Nassau County Bar Association February 2016 Mineola, NY
Defense of Foreign Minors in Removal Proceedings
Nassau Academy of Law, April 2015 Mineola, NY
All non-U.S. citizens—both authorized and unauthorized—face the possibility of severe adverse consequences of family court findings with which citizens need not contend, including deportation to another country and
permanent bars to ever obtaining legal status. These ramifications can impede basic family court goals of rehabilitation, protection, and permanency, and therefore compound the challenges already faced by many children served by family courts. At the same time, family court involvement with a child can sometimes create opportunities for immigration relief for many children who have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment, or some other form of family crisis.
For lawyers representing youth in juvenile delinquency cases, providing sound, knowledgeable counsel on immigration issues can empower clients to make informed decisions and help protect clients from potential adverse immigration consequences. This Article will closely examine those consequences and opportunities; articulate the extent of the duty for lawyers who represent minors in delinquency cases to be able to competently advise and advocate for their clients, under both existing ethical rules and the 2010 Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky; 7 and analyze the challenges of applying those standards to the representation of immigrant youth in delinquency proceedings.
The involvement of family courts in the lives of youth and families creates significant opportunities for advocates to assist their clients with immigration-related issues. Informed and effective advocacy on these issues in family court can make life-changing, and even life-saving, differences for immigrants. More specifically, immigration issues are germane to family court because certain vital avenues of immigration relief available to survivors of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and other forms of family crisis explicitly depend on findings, orders, and certifications that are issued in the context of family court proceedings. After describing these forms of relief, and the family court's role in immigrants’ access to them, this essay analyzes how ethical mandates related to client counseling, representational goals, and competence affirmatively require family court practitioners to provide advice and advocacy related to these collateral benefits to family court proceedings.
Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Theo Liebmann
Most emancipated foster youth are woefully unprepared for independent adult life: only one-third have a driver's license, fewer than four in 10 have at least $250 in cash, and fewer than one-quarter have the basic tools to set up a household, let alone the skills to know what to do with those tools. With generally no more than a garbage bag of belongings, our foster youth commonly leave foster care with no significant connection to a responsible adult, no one to provide them needed guidance, and no place to turn when they falter.
Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Theo Liebmann
Theo Liebmann, Emily Madden
The youth participation movement begins with the basic premise that, without hearing and heeding the voices of those affected by the policies and practices we create, our efforts to improve the systems designed to help them are doomed to failure. This article provides accounts by court-involved youth and emerging adults of their frustrations and successes and firsthand perspectives on the nature of the challenges confronting them. These interviews, narratives, and poems provide the fundamental context for the incisive and thought-provoking articles that follow.