Spring Commencement Speaker - Attorney Robert Listenbee

Robert Listenbee

Robert Listenbee 

Attorney Robert Listenbee has been selected to deliver the commencement speech at Wilkes University’s 64th Annual Spring Commencement on May 21, 2011. He will receive an honorary degree, the Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Wilkes will honor Mr. Listenbee for his distinguished service to advance the cause of juvenile justice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Northeast Pennsylvania’s recent history requires that we re-create a justice system for our youth in Luzerne County that is guided by the highest ethical principles. In August of 2009, he was appointed to the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice that is examining the scandal involving the violation of the constitutional rights of over six thousand children in the juvenile courts of Luzerne County.Mr. Listenbee’s vision and commitment serve as an example to lift our sights so that we as a community develop a model program that is effective, fair and just.
 
Robert Listenbee has been a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia since 1986, and Chief of the Juvenile Unit since 1997. He  received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard University in 1972 and the Juris Doctor from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. Mr. Listenbee was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1980.
 
He currently serves on several boards and committees that advocate for the rights and interests of children.  These include the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).  He is also a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee (JJDPC) of PCCD which advises the Governor on juvenile justice policy.  Mr. Listenbee serves on the Advisory Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and has participated in NJDC sponsored statewide assessments of the juvenile justice systems in Indiana and Louisiana.
 
He is also actively involved in the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative in Pennsylvania.  He served on the Aftercare Subcommittee and supervises a training grant and a DMC grant received by the Defender Association. He is Team Leader of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (PA-JIDAN) that is undertaking several initiatives on behalf of the Juvenile Defenders Association of Pennsylvania (JDAP) to improve access to counsel and the quality of representation for Pennsylvania’s children. JIDAN is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and supervised by NJDC.
 
Mr. Listenbee is the President of JDAP, a statewide non-profit organization established in 2006 to advocate for the rights and interests of Pennsylvania’s children and to speak on behalf of juvenile defenders in the Commonwealth. Effective July 1, 2009, JDAP became a grant recipient from PCCD responsible for training juvenile defenders throughout the Commonwealth.  The Defenders Association of Philadelphia was the original recipient of the training grant and had successfully supervised it under Mr. Listenbee’s leadership from 2004 through 2009.
 
He is also former Chair of the Defender Policy Group of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Chair of the Expungement Initiative sponsored by the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness and President of the Philadelphia Working Group, a youth/law enforcement initiative which has developed a curriculum for training youth and law enforcement professionals about constructive interactions with one another and coordinated the development of a statewide DVD on youth/law enforcement interactions.  

Mr. Listenbee is married to Sabrina Listenbee. The Listenbees reside in Glenside, PA are the parents of five children who have provided them with seven grandchildren.