Lucy Johnston-Walsh

Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Children's Advocacy Clinic and Center on Children and the Law

As a clinical professor, director of the Children’s Advocacy Clinic, and director of the Center on Children and the Law, Lucy Johnston-Walsh supervises law students in the legal representation of child clients in abuse and neglect court cases, as well as high conflict custody disputes. The Clinic operates as an interdisciplinary program, by partnering law students with graduate social work interns, pediatric medical residents, and child psychiatry fellows. Under her supervision, law students represent children’s legal interests in complex cases in the Court of Common Pleas as well as appellate advocacy.

In addition to direct legal representation in court proceedings, Professor Johnston-Walsh also works on broader systemic policy issues which impact youth in the foster care system. Her recent work has focused on youth aging out of the foster care system and legal issues which they face. She has worked with the Penn State Child Maltreatment Solutions Network to create the Fostering Lions Program to assist foster youth attending college. She worked with a team of advocates to get legislation passed which provides free tuition to foster youth in Pennsylvania, and also works on the legal impediments to foster youth driving.

Prior to directing the Clinic, Professor Johnston-Walsh worked as an attorney at MidPenn Legal Services and as a policy director for a statewide child advocacy organization, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. Before attending law school, Professor Johnston-Walsh was a school social worker in Virginia, where she recognized the need for quality legal advocacy for vulnerable youth.

Select Publications by Professor Johnston-Walsh

Kinship Care in Pennsylvania: Creating an Equitable System for Families

Behind the Wheel: Driving as a Route to Independence for Foster Youth,” White Paper for Annie E. Casey Foundation, State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center, September 2018.

The Unreasonably Uncertain Risks of ‘Reasonable Medical Certainty’ in Child Abuse Cases: Mechanisms for Risk Reduction,” along with Carrie Russell, Mark S. Dias, Susan Boehmer, Raquel Muñiz, and Benjamin H. Levi, DRAKE LAW REVIEW, Volume 66, Number 2, 2018.

Keys to Independence: Driving for Foster Youth” White Paper with Brian Bornman, June 2016. 

Johnston-Walsh, Lucy, A Practitioner's Guide to New Developments in Pennsylvania's Child Protection Laws (April 2015).

Lucy Johnston-Walsh


Phone  717-243-2968

CV  Curriculum Vitae


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Faculty Impact

J.D., Dickinson Law

M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania

B.S., Juniata College

Research Interests
Legal issues related to children in the foster care system

Current Courses
Child Welfare Law and Policy Seminar

Children’s Advocacy Clinic

Juvenile Law

Advanced Clinic