Robert Schwartz co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975 and has been its executive director since 1982.
In his career at Juvenile Law Center, Schwartz has 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 spoken in over 30 states on matters related to children and the law.
Schwartz's career has not been limited to Pennsylvania, but has included fighting nationally and internationally for juvenile rights. In 2011, Schwartz became chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Youth at Risk. 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.
From 1996-2006, Schwartz 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. Schwartz in 2005 became chair of the Advisory Committee to the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. From 2003-2012, Schwartz chaired the Board of the Philadelphia Youth Network.
Schwartz is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 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. Schwartz is a graduate of Temple University School of Law and of Haverford College, which in 2011 also awarded him an honorary degree.
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. VII, No. 2, 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