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Theo Liebmann - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Theo Liebmann

Clinical Professor of Law | Hofstra University


Professor Liebmann has directed the interdisciplinary Hofstra Youth Advocacy Clinic since its inception





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Passion for the Law




Professor Liebmann teaches ethics and clinical courses. He serves as the Executive Director of the Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics, and has directed the Youth Advocacy Clinic since its inception. His advocacy and scholarship focuses primarily on issues related to immigration, ethics, and the representation of children and youth. Professor Liebmann and his students have represented hundreds of immigrant children in family and appellate courts, as well as in immigration proceedings and removal cases in federal immigration courts.

Professor Liebmann currently serves as the co-chair of the New York State Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court with Judge Mildred Negron. The Advisory Council was formed by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks in October 2015 to provide guidance to the bench, bar, and litigants, on immigration issues that arise in family court. The Council has issued statewide guidance related to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a form of immigration relief for immigrant children who have been subjected to abuse, neglect, abandonment or similar family crises; U-Visas, a pathway to lawful status for victims of crimes who cooperate with courts and other government agencies; and the adverse immigration consequences to a variety of family court orders and adjudications.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (5)

Trial Advocacy

Child Welfare

Youth Advocacy


Juvenile Delinquency

Accomplishments (6)

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)

Special Advisor

Education (2)

Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC: J.D. 1995

Yale University, New Haven, CT: B.A., Philosophy 1990

Affiliations (3)

  • 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 (6)

Biden's Immigration Plan /Presidential Inauguration

ABC 7 NY  tv


Professor Theodor Liebmann spoke with ABC News’ Kristin Thorne about President Biden’s immigration plan.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.”...

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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.”...

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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

Articles (6)

Adverse Consequences and Constructive Opportunities for Immigrant Youth in Delinquency Proceedings

Temple Law Review, Summer 2016

Theo Liebmann

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.

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Ethical advocacy for immigrant survivors of family crisis

Family Court Review

Theo Liebmann

2012 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.

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Supporting youth who are aging out of foster care

ABA Child Law Practice

Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Theo Liebmann

2011 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.

Charting a better future for transitioning foster youth: Executive summary of report from a national summit on the fostering connections to success act

Family Court Review

Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Theo Liebmann


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Hear my voice—Perspectives of current and former foster youth

Family Court Review

Theo Liebmann, Emily Madden

2010 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.

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Keeping promises to immigrant youth

Pace Law Review

Theo Liebmann


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