Richmond Home
 Julie  Ellen  McConnell
Julie Ellen McConnell
Director, Children's Defense Clinic
Clinical Professor of Law
Courses Taught Children's Defense Clinic Advanced Clinical Practice Science of False Confessions Juvenile Delinquency Law and Procedure
Profile

Professor Julie E. McConnell is a Clinical Law Professor and Director of the Children’s Defense Clinic. In addition to the Clinic, she teaches Advanced Clinical Practice, Juvenile Delinquency Law and Procedure, and the Science of False Confessions. 

Through the clinic, she and her students represent on a pro bono basis, indigent youth throughout Central Virginia who are charged with acts of delinquency. The clinic also represents young people in post-conviction serious offender reviews and adults seeking resentencing on mandatory life sentences they received as minors. Additionally, the clinic represents guardians seeking custody of undocumented children in special immigrant juvenile status cases. Previously, she served six years as a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, where she was a supervisor in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. In that office, she specialized in the prosecution of violent juvenile crimes, domestic violence, elder abuse, child physical and sexual abuse, and domestic homicide cases. 

She is a frequent speaker on the topics of best practices in juvenile representation, trauma-informed practice, elder abuse, the impact of child abuse and sexual abuse on children, and clinical education. For more than four years, she was part of a multi-disciplinary team funded by the federal Office on Violence Against Women, which conducted trainings on the successful prosecution of elder abuse for law-enforcement and prosecutors throughout the Commonwealth. 

Prior to becoming a prosecutor, McConnell served as an assistant public defender and before that as a law clerk for the Honorable James W. Benton in the Virginia Court of Appeals. Before law school, she worked with the Virginia ACLU and as a community organizer and lobbyist for several not-for-profits in the Virginia General Assembly and served as a counselor and special education teacher at a group home for delinquent youths. In 2011, she received the Oliver Hill Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court’s “Unsung Hero” Award. In 2015, she was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to a four-year term on the Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and is now serving as co-chair. In 2016, she was selected to serve on the Virginia Bar Association’s Commission on the Needs of Children. In 2017, she was honored as the Richmond YWCA’s Outstanding Woman in Education. In 2018, she was chosen as the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association’s Woman of Achievement. And in 2019, she was honored as a member of the inaugural class of Virginia Lawyer's Weekly 2019 Influential Women in the Law Award.

Awards
Virginia Lawyer's Weekly Influential Women in the Law Award (2019)
Metropolitan Richmond Women's Bar Association Woman of Achievement (2018)
Richmond YWCA Outstanding Woman Award in Education (2017)
Oliver Hill Juvenile Justice and Domestic Relations Court "Unsung Hero" Award (2011)
Presentations
Moderator, "Best Practices in Juvenile Defense under International Law in a Counterterrorism Context," International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law Juvenile Justice Initiative: Sectoral Workshop for Judges, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (October 2019)
Moderator, "First Case Presentation on Juvenile-Specific Procedures for Terrorism Cases," International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law Juvenile Justice Initiative: Sectoral Workshop for Judges, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (October 2019)
Moderator, "Implementing Restorative Justice Practices in the Criminal Justice System," University of Richmond Public Interest Law Review Symposium--Restorative Justice, Public Interest Law Review (October 2019)
Moderator, "Juvenile Diversion Programs as an Alternative to Prosecution," International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law Juvenile Justice Initiative: Sectoral Workshop for Judges, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (October 2019)
Presenter, "Mastering Juvenile Court Practice: challenging competency, creative motions, challenging confessions, and what to do when the prosecution wants to try your client as an adult.," VACDL Fall CLE--Conquering the Mountains: New Paths to Win Your Case, Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (October 2019)
Moderator, "Three Breakout sessions to work through hypothetical juvenile terrorism cases," International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law Juvenile Justice Initiative: Sectoral Workshop for Judges, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (October 2019)
Presenter, "Using a Robust Motions Practice in Juvenile Court," 2019 Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit, National Juvenile Defender Center (October 2019)
Panelist, "Best Practices from a Defense Perspective on International Juvenile Terrorism Cases," Juvenile Justice Initiate Sectoral Workshop for Prosecutors and Investigating Magistrates, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (July 2019)
Moderator, "Case Presentation by a Regional Prosecutor from Morocco," Juvenile Justice Initiate Sectoral Workshop for Prosecutors and Investigating Magistrates, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (July 2019)
Presenter, "2018-2019 Caselaw Update," Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Juvenile Law and Education Conference, University of Richmond School of Law (May 2019)
Moderator, "Creative Motions Practice in Juvenile Court," 2019 Leroy R. Hassell, Sr. Advanced Skills for the Experienced Practitioner Criminal Defense Seminar, Virginia State Bar (May 2019)
Presenter, "Juvenile Law Explained - It Really is Easier than Talking to your Teenager," Virginia State Bar Annual Criminal Law Seminar, Virginia State Bar (February 2019)
Presenter, "Juvenile Law Explained - It Really is Easier than Talking to your Teenager," Virginia State Bar Annual Criminal Law Seminar, Virginia State Bar (February 2019)
Bar Admissions
Virginia
Professional Experience
Director of the Children's Defense Clinic, Clinical Professor of Law (2017 - present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Director of the Children's Defense Clinic, Associate Clinical Professor of Law (2014 - 2017)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Director of the Children's Defense Clinic, Assistant Professor of Law (2011 - 2014)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Supervising Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (2006 - 2011)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
Assistant Public Defender (2000 - 2005)
Richmond Public Defender's Office, Richmond, VA
Law Clerk, the Hon. James W. Benton, Jr. (1999 - 2000)
Virginia Court of Appeals, Richmond, VA
Associate Director and Lobbyist (1992 - 1996)
American Civil Liberties Union, Richmond, VA
Teaching Assistant (1991 - 1992)
Cathedral Home for Children, Laramie, WY
Executive Director (1989 - 1991)
Virginia Association to Abolish the Death Penalty, Richmond, VA
Community Service
AALS Committee on Children and the Law, (2017)
VBA Commission on the Needs of Children, (2016)
Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, (2015)
Annual Virginia State Bar Advanced Indigent Defense Conference, (2015)
Legal Advisory Netowrk, (2014)
Juvenile Training Immersion Program, (2014)
Jazz for Justice Planning Committee for the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation, (2014)
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, (2014)
Governor's Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Prevention, (2018 - 2018)
Legal and Courts Committee, Richmond Trauma-Informed Care Network, (2016 - 2016)
Oliver Hill Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court's Juvenile Justice Collaborative, (2016 - 2016)
RISE Coalition on Juvenile Justice Reform, (2015 - 2015)
Metropolitan Richmond Women's Bar Association, (2012 - 2012)
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, (1992 - 1992)
Publications
Journal Articles

Criminal Law and Procedure, 37 University of Richmond Law Review (with Gregory Franklin et al.) (2002).

Books

Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE 5th) (Angela Ciolfi) (April 2018).

Book Chapters

An Introduction to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (with Angela Ciolfi) (March 2018).

Dispositional Alternatives, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (with Mary Langer) (March 2018).

Post-Disposition Proceedings and Appeals, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (March 2018).

Psychiatric Commitment of Minors, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (with Jeffrey Aaron) (March 2018).

The Children's Services Act, Petitions for Service, and Other Proceedings, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (with Angela Ciolfi) (March 2018).

The Disposition Hearing, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (Virginia CLE) (with Frank Somerville) (March 2018).

The Disposition Hearing, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (2014).

Magazine/Trade Publications

30 Tips for Excellence in Juvenile Defense, Virginia Champion 12-15; 19 (Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) (2018).

Newspaper Articles

Making Juvenile Justice More Humane and Effective, The Virginian-Pilot A11 (with Sue Kennon) (February 2016).

Additional Publications

Juvenile Justice Update (Adrienne Volenik) (2020) (co-editor and contributor since 2014).

International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law Defense Attorneys' Juvenile Justice Practitioners' Note, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (December 2019).

Metropolitan Richmond Women's Bar Association's Domestic Relations Pamphlet (2017).

In the News

Virginia Makes All Children Eligible For Parole, A Major Shift For This Punitive State (The Appeal)
Mon., Feb. 24, 2020

Rethinking mandatory life sentences (Richmond Law Magazine)
Wed., Feb. 27, 2019

Influential Women of Law 2019 (Virginia Lawyers Weekly)
Mon., Feb. 18, 2019

If not you, who? (Richmond Law Alumni Magazine)
Sat., Feb. 2, 2019

Spotlight on the MRWBA's 2018 Women of Achievement Award winner (Richmond Free Press)
Fri., Jan. 11, 2019

A Q&A with Julie McConnell (University of Richmond Newsroom)
Wed., Dec. 5, 2018

UR Law Professor Julie McConnell Named Woman of Achievement (University of Richmond Newsroom)
Wed., Dec. 5, 2018

Ruling in Beltway Sniper case could lead to other juvenile re-sentencings (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Fri., Jun. 29, 2018

#SpidersWeLove: Julie McConnell (University of Richmond Spider Pride)
Sat., Apr. 28, 2018

A Portsmouth teen is standing trial as an adult. Can his mother join him at the defense table? (The Virginian-Pilot)
Mon., Apr. 9, 2018

Richmond region schools once again flagged for disparity in treatment of African-American students with disabilities (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sat., Feb. 17, 2018

Mullin bill would allow pretrial appeals in juvenile cases (Daily Press)
Tue., Feb. 6, 2018

Teens sentenced to life without parole may have chance to walk free (ABC13 News Now)
Thu., Nov. 16, 2017

Inmates locked up for life as teens seek relief in Virginia (Los Angeles Times)
Mon., Jul. 31, 2017

'These are babies': Experts weigh in on implications of three children involved in Richmond-area shooting (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sat., Jun. 10, 2017

Suspensions and identification of certain students in Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond raise red flag for state (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sun., Mar. 26, 2017

YWCA Richmond announces eight Outstanding Women honorees (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Tue., Jan. 17, 2017

In Virginia, juveniles sentenced to life without parole wait in limbo (WVTF Public Radio)
Fri., Oct. 21, 2016

'One of the worst': The school-to-prison pipeline in Richmond, Virginia (RVAGov.com)
Mon., Mar. 14, 2016

Making Juvenile Justice More Humane and Effective (with Sue Kennon)
Mon., Feb. 15, 2016

Law and disorder: From detention to detainment in Virginia (Reveal News Podcast)
Sat., Apr. 11, 2015

Virginia tops nation insending students to cops, courts: Where does your state rank? (The Center for Public Integrity)
Thu., Apr. 9, 2015

Castlewood teens accused of sexual assault likely to be tried as adults (Bristol Herald Courier)
Tue., Dec. 11, 2012

Bill to try more Va juveniles as adults rejected (San Francisco Chronicle, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and New England Cable News)
Mon., Jan. 30, 2012

Stanley's bill to try more juveniles as adults rejected by Senate panel (The Roanoke Times)
Mon., Jan. 30, 2012

Education
J.D., University of Richmond School of Law 1999
B.A., Agnes Scott Women's College 1988
Contact Information
Room 315, International Center
(804) 289 8205
(804) 287 6489 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Juvenile Delinquency and Child Development
Clinical Legal Education
Elder Law
Criminal Law