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 Julie  Ellen  McConnell
Julie Ellen McConnell
Director, Children's Defense Clinic
Clinical Professor of Law
Courses Taught Children's Defense Clinic

Professor Julie McConnell is Director of the School of Law's Children's Defense Clinic. Prior to joining the Law School in 2011, Professor McConnell served as the Supervising Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in the City of Richmond's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where she prosecuted cases involving juvenile delinquency, child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and homicide. She has also served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Richmond Public Defender's Office and is the author of an article in Virginia Lawyer Magazine on the collateral consequences of juvenile adjudications. In 2011, Professor McConnell received the Oliver Hill Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court's “Unsung Hero” Award. She was also awarded the Outstanding Woman Award for Education by the YWCA Richmond in 2017.


In 2017, Prof. McConnell was honored by the YWCA Richmond as their Outstanding Woman in the field of Education. Prof. McConnell received this award for her dedication to extend pro bono representation to immigrant children and incarcerated youth through leadership of the Children's Defense Clinic.

Presenter, "Interviewing Children for Investigators," 2017 Indigent Defense Commission Investigators Conference, Richmond (Nov. 2017).
Presenter, "Understanding the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Virginia," Rotary Club of Richmond (Nov. 2017).
Presenter, "30 Top Tips for Excellence in Juvenile Defense," Virginia Indigent Defense Commission Annual Conference, Portsmouth, Va. (Oct. 2017).
Presenter, "Criminal Best Practices in Chesterfield/Colonial Heights Juvenile Court," Chesterfield/Colonial Heights Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court Bench Bar Conference (Sept. 2017).
Presenter, "Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline in Richmond," Leadership Metro Richmond's Convening Leaders (Aug. 2017).
Presenter, "2016-2017 Virginia Caselaw Update," Robert E. Shepherd Juvenile Law and Education Conference, Richmond (May 2017).
Presenter, "Trying a Miller/Montgomery Sentencing or Resentencing Case," NITA/Juvenile Law Center Trial Advocacy Program, Baker & McKenzie, Houston, Tx. (July 2017).

"Fourth Amendment Challenges in Juvenile Cases in Virginia," Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center Training Immersion Program, Abingdon, Va. (April 2017).

Presenter, "What You Need to Know about the Transformation of Virginia's Juvenile Justice System," 47th Annual Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Seminar, Charlottesville (Feb. 2017).

Presenter, "Developing a Trauma-Informed Lens in JDR Court Practice," Annual Statewide Public Defender Conference, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (Oct. 2016).

Panelist, "Addressing School Discipline and Court Referrals for Students with Disabilities," Blueprints for Change: Criminal Justice Policy Issues in Virginia--Addressing School Discipline and Court Referrals for Students with Disabilities, Richmond (Sept. 2016).

Panelist, Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Juvenile Justice and Education, Richmond (Sept. 2016).

Presenter, "A Trauma-Informed Approach to Juvenile Justice," Washington County Courts Best Practices Conference, Abingdon, Va. (Aug. 2016).

"Effective Representation of Children who Have Experienced Trauma," Adverse Childhood Experiences & Community Resilience Summit, Richmond Department of Social Services (Aug. 2016).

CLE Presenter, "Reasonable Expectations of Defense Attorneys and Guardians ad Litem," Initiatin Meaingful Prosecution at Critical Times (IMPACT) Training, Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Smith Mountain Lake, Va. (May 2016).

Presenter, "Clinical Experiences in Teaching Resiliency to Law Students," American Association of Law Schools Annual Clinical Conference, Baltimore (May 2016).

"Children as Witnesses," 57th Annual Convention of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Hot Springs, Va. (April 2016).

"Discipline and Law Enforcement in the K-12 Context: Responses and Regulation," ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Education Committee Teleforum (March 2016).

"University of Richmond School of Law and its Clinical Technology Initiative," AALS 38th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education (May 2015) (with Mary Kelly Tate).

"Collateral Consequences: What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Client’s Future," Presentation at Richmond Bar Association 2014 Bench Bar Conference, Richmond, VA (Oct. 2014).

"Collateral Consequences: The Intersection of Criminal and Civil Law," Presentation at 2014 Annual Virginia Poverty Law Center/Statewide Legal Aid Conference, Portsmouth, VA (Oct. 2014).

"Tip of the Iceberg: Domestic Violence Inside & Outside of the Legal System," Moderator for Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association CLE panel, Richmond, VA (Oct. 2014).

"Human Trafficking: the Modern Slave Trade in Virginia," Moderator for Law over Lunch CLE panel at University of Richmond Downtown, Richmond, VA (May 2014).

"Introduction to Trial Practice Technology and iPads for Lawyers," Technology Bootcamp at the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA (March 2014).

"Competency of Child Witnesses," Guest lecturer for Professor John Douglass's Evidence class at the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va. (Oct. 2013).

"Representing a Juvenile Charged With a Sex Offense," Presentation at 2013 Annual Public Defender Conference, Hampton, Va. (Sept. 2013).

"Collateral Consequences of a Juvenile Conviction," Presentation at the 2013 Robert E. Shepherd Juvenile Law and Education Conference, Richmond, Va. (May 2013).

"Financial Exploitation and Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly," Presentation for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Chamberlayne 360 meeting, Richmond, Va. (May 2013).

"Introduction to Trial Practice Technology and iPads for Lawyers," Technology Bootcamp at the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va. (April 2013).

Poster Presentation, "Chipping Away at Cognitive Bias: A Cross-Clinic Public-Private Approach to Domestic Violence," AALS National Conference on Clinical Legal Education, San Juan, Puerto Rico (April 2013).

"Clinical Programs at the University of Richmond School of Law," Presentation at the UR Law School Admitted Students Open House, Richmond, Va. (March 2013).

"An Introduction to the Juvenile Courts," Presentation for the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission Juvenile Certification Training, Richmond, Va. (March 2013).

"Evidence Based Prosecution: A Case Example," Presentation for the Virginia Attorney General’s Office "Got Evidence?" training for prosecutors, Roanoke, Va. (March 2013).

Bar Admissions
Professional Experience
Director of the Children's Defense Clinic, Associate Clinical Professor of Law (2014-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Director of the Children's Defense Clinic, Assistant Clinical 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)
Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Richmond, Va.
Assistant Public Defender (2000-2005)
Richmond Public Defender's Office, Richmond, Va.
Law Clerk (1999-2000)
The Honorable James W. Benton, Jr., Judge, Virginia Court of Appeals, Richmond, Va.
Associate Director and Lobbyist (1992-1996)
American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Richmond, Va.
Teaching Assistant (1991-1992)
Cathedral Home for Children, Laramie, Wyo.
Executive Director (1989-1991)
Virginia Association to Abolish the Death Penalty, Richmond, Va.
Community Service
Appointed Member, Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Secretariat of the Commonwealth Board Appointment, Four-Year Term, August 2015

Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (ed., w/Angela Ciolfi) (2018).


An Introduction to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations CourtThe Disposition HearingDispositional AlternativesPost-Disposition Proceedings and AppealsPsychiatric Commitment of MinorsThe Comprehensive Services Ac, Petitions for Services, and Other Proceedings, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (author and co-author) (2018).

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Cases, Disposition, and Post-Disposition and Appeals, in Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia (forthcoming 2018).

Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia, 4th Ed. (Co-editor of chapter 9, The Disposition Hearing (2014))

Additional Publications

Understanding Your Domestic Relations Rights in Virginia, 2016-2017 (Metro Richmond Women's Bar Association) (2017).

Juvenile Justice Journal, co-editor (2016).

Juvenile Justice Update (Co-editor of and contributor to bi-monthly Civic Research Institute publication, New York, NY, January 2014-present).

In the News

Ruling in Beltway Sniper case could lead to other juvenile re-sentencings (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Fri., Jun. 29, 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 (
Mon., Mar. 14, 2016

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

How kicking a trash can became criminal for a 6th-grader
Sat., Apr. 11, 2015

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

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

J.D., University of Richmond School of Law 1999
B.A., Agnes Scott Women's College 1988
Contact Information
Clinic Room G5, Law School
(804) 289-8205
(804) 287-6489 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Juvenile Delinquency and Child Development
Clinical Legal Education
Elder Law
Criminal Law