Faculty Stories

SUNY Buffalo Law professor will lead Juvenile Law Center


A SUNY Buffalo Law School professor who has devoted her professional life to promoting child welfare has been chosen to head the nation’s oldest public-interest law firm for children.

Professor Susan Vivian Mangold, who joined the Law School in 1995, will become executive director of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. Mangold was a staff attorney with the organization from 1987 to 1992.

She will succeed Bob Schwartz, co-founder of the center, who is retiring after serving as executive director since 1982. Mangold’s appointment, which takes effect Oct. 14, comes after a six-month national search.

“I cannot imagine a greater honor than to return to Juvenile Law Center and join the leadership team as the executive director,” Mangold said. “I look forward to working with established partners and forging new relationships to improve the legal response for children in the child welfare and justice systems.”

At the Law School, Mangold has taught a variety of courses on children and the law. She also served for three years as vice dean for academics, and currently chairs the Faculty Advisory Committee for UB’s Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy. Mangold is also the co-editor of Children and the Law: Doctrine, Policy and Practice, a leading law school casebook in the area of children and the law.

She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where she served as executive director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and co-founded the school’s Children’s Rights Project. During her five years at Juvenile Law Center, she co-authored the second edition of the center’s desk book for Pennsylvania judges who heard child abuse and neglect cases. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Sue back to the Juvenile Law Center family,” said board President Barry Zubrow. “She has made significant contributions to the field since she’s been at SUNY Buffalo, and, like her predecessor Bob Schwartz, has the passion, knowledge and experience to lead the superb staff at Juvenile Law Center.”

“Sue is the ideal person to continue Juvenile Law Center’s history of connecting theory to practice,” said board member Bob Reinstein, who chaired the search committee. “She has a strong background in child welfare, which will ensure that our work on behalf of foster youth is as effective as our efforts for youth in the justice system.”       

Juvenile Law Center, which is marking its 40th anniversary, uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youths in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. 

It has fought in court for young people confined in a Philadelphia juvenile detention center, to insulate juvenile offenders from the death penalty, and for young detainees affected by the “Kids for Cash” scandal in Pennsylvania in which judges accepted kickbacks from developers of a privately run juvenile detention center.  Its child welfare work focuses on youth aging out of foster care and education challenges for children in state care.

Mangold’s expertise lies more in child welfare than in juvenile justice, and it is likely that the center will pursue more work in that area under her leadership. “Part of our current strategic plan is reinvigorating our child welfare portfolio,” said Schwartz, the outgoing director. “We were more well-known for that than for juvenile justice 25 years ago, when Sue was with us.”