Sandra  Simkins

Sandra Simkins

Clinical Professor and Chair for Clinical Programs

Contact Information

Law Office: E219
V: 856 225 6646
F: 856 225 6666

Areas of Expertise

Courses Recently Taught



Professor Simkins created and co-directs the Rutgers Children's Justice Clinic, the first clinic at the law school to focus on children. She is a national trainer on the issue of girls in the juvenile justice system and is involved in conditions of confinement reform.

Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 2006, she spent 15 years working in criminal and juvenile defense. She served as assistant chief of the Juvenile Unit at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, supervising and training a staff of 40, including 23 lawyers, to represent children in the juvenile justice system. Professor Simkins also was involved in wide range of national and statewide policy reform for children.

In 2009, she was selected as "Lawyering Professor of the Year" and in 2007 she received the "New Professor of the Year" award, both at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden. In 2008, she was selected by the MacArthur Foundation to participate in the Models for Change Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network. Since creating the Children's Justice Clinic, Professor Simkins has been appointed to several New Jersey committees, including the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts, the Camden Safer Cities Initiative, and Camden County's Steering Committee for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.
She also co-directs the Northeast Region Juvenile Defender Center, a subsidiary of the National Juvenile Defender Center, where she provides consultation and training to child advocates in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. She has championed the creation of effective statewide coalitions and led fundraising initiatives for program development. Her various fundraising efforts have created a specialized mental health and special education attorney, and a statewide training program for juvenile defenders in the state of Pennsylvania. She was selected by Harvard Business School's Social Enterprise Philadelphia Club in 2005 to participate in advanced non-profit management training. In 2004, she was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation to partner with the Foundation's Juvenile Justice Aftercare Initiative in Pennsylvania, and was being recognized in The Philadelphia Lawyer for providing strong advocacy for children at each stage of juvenile court involvement. In 2002, she was the recipient of the American Bar Association's Award for Outstanding Representation of Children. Professor Simkins has taught the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Juvenile Law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.


December 2010 TV interview can be found at

When Kids Get Arrested: What Every Adult Should Know, forthcoming from Rutgers University Press, 2009. Article

Simkins, S., Out of Sight Out of Mind: Lack of Post Dispositional Advocacy in Juvenile Court increases risk of Recidivism and Institutional Abuse, Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, 207-224, Fall 2007.

Simkins, S., Road Trip!! A Simple Solution for protecting girls from institutional abuse, Women Girls and Criminal Justice, Vol. 8 No. 1, December/January 2007.

Lieberman, A, Simkins, S., Your patients in the juvenile justice system, and your role in their care and well-being, Contemporary Pediatrics, July 2006, pp. 57-64.

Simkins, S., Hirsh, A., Horvat, E., Moss, M., The School to Prison Pipeline for Girls: The Role of Physical and Sexual Abuse, Children's Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4, Winter 2004, pp. 56-72.

Simkins, S., The Female Detention Project: The Typical Girl in Detention in Philadelphia, February, 2004, The Prevention Researcher, Vol. 11, No. 1, February 2004, pp. 15-18.

Beyer, M., Blair, G., Katz, S., Simkins, S., Steinberg, A., A Better way to Spend $500,000: How the Juvenile Justice System Fails Girls, Wisconsin Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2003, pp 51-76.

Simkins, S., Katz, S., Criminalizing Abused Girls, Violence Against Women Journal, Vol. 8 No. 12, December 2002, pp. 1474-1499.

Simkins, S., Creative Fundraising Leads to Development of Specialized Expertise within the Philadelphia Defender Association, Juvenile Justice Update, Vol.9 No.2, April/May 2003, p.13

Collaboration of Girls Justice Initiative Advisory Board Justice by Gender, The Lack of Appropriate Prevention, Diversion and Treatment alternatives for Girls in the Justice System, Collaboration with the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association, May 1, 2001

Ambrose, A., Simkins, S., Philadelphia's Female Detention Project, Women Girls and Criminal Justice, Vol.1 No.4, June/July 2000 p. 53.

Simkins, S., Taking on the Challenge of Girls, National Defender Newsletter, American Bar Association, Summer 2000.

Simkins, S., Juvenile Justice System Should Remain Separate (Addressing Pending Congressional Legislation), Pennsylvania Law Weekly, September 18, 1997.

Hofstein, D., Simkins, S., Ethics in Settlement Negotiations, The Joy of Settlement, Gregg Herman, Editor, American Bar Association, 1997.

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