Christopher Northrop

Managing Director,
Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic Clinical Professor

Christopher Northrop is a leading authority in the area of juvenile law. In 2006, he launched the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Maine Law, under the umbrella of the school’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic. In 2022 he helped transition the Juvenile Justice Clinic to the Youth Justice Clinic and became the Managing Director of the clinic.

Students enrolled in the Youth Justice Clinic (YJC) are specially licensed by the state and federal courts to provide direct representation to youth in delinquency and criminal courts. Students are also involved in ongoing policy work. They have the opportunity to research and contribute to the state, regional, and national dialogues around youth justice. Professor Northrop’s students frequently partner with national advocacy organizations, state agencies, and child-focused non-profits to advance their youth justice policy objectives. For an in-depth look at the YJC and their work, listen to this recent podcast with Professor Northrop, Jill Ward, and Jon Ruterbories.

In 2018, Professor Northrop was awarded the prestigious Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Leadership Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense. The award is presented annually for outstanding advocacy and dedication in the field of juvenile defense. In 2017, he was awarded the “Unsung Hero Award” during the annual meeting of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This award is presented annually to one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the highest level of commitment, passion, and the tireless pursuit of justice in the representation of indigent defendants.

Prior to joining Maine Law, Professor Northrop spent many years in private practice concentrating on youth defense work. He has been involved with the Gault Center since its inception and has served as a consultant for Gault Center assessments of statewide defender systems in twelve states, including New Hampshire and Kansas in 2019. The Gault Center recognized Professor Northrop in 2013 as one of their first Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) certified trainers. In the last few years, he has taught JTIP protocols to public defenders throughout the state and around the country.

Selected Publications

What's My Age Again?: Adolescent Development and the Case for Expanding Original Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Investing in Alternatives for Emerging Adult Involved in Maine's Justice System, 74 Me. L. Rev. 243 (2022). Co-authors: Jill Ward, Jon Ruterbories, Jess Mizzi. [PDF]
 

Kids Will be Kids: Time for a “Reasonable Child” Standard for the Proof of Objective Mens Rea Elements, 69 ME. L. REV. 109 (2017) (with Kristina R. Rozan). [PDF]

NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., JUVENILE TRAINING IMMERSION PROGRAM: COORDINATOR AND TRAINER’S GUIDE (2014) (Member, Drafting and Review Committee). [PDF]

NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., MISSOURI: JUSTICE RATIONED, AN ASSESSMENT OF ACCESS TO COUNSEL AND QUALITY OF JUVENILE DEFENSE REPRESENTATION IN DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS (2013) (investigator, contributor). [PDF]

NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., NATIONAL JUVENILE DEFENSE STANDARDS (Sue Burrell et. al, eds., 2012) (Member, Drafting and Review Committee).

NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., JUVENILE LEGAL DEFENSE: A REPORT ON ACCESS TO AND QUALITY OF REPRESENTATION FOR CHILDREN IN NEBRASKA (2009) (investigator, contributor). [PDF]

NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., ILLINOIS: AN ASSESSMENT OF ACCESS TO COUNSEL & QUALITY OF REPRESENTATION IN DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS (2007) (investigator, contributor). [PDF]

PATRICIA PURITZ & ROBIN WALKER, NAT’L JUV. DEFENSE CTR., MISSISSIPPI: AN ASSESSMENT OF ACCESS TO COUNSEL & QUALITY OF REPRESENTATION IN YOUTH COURT PROCEEDINGS (2007) (investigator, contributor). [PDF]

Lisa H Thurau-Gray, N.E. Juv. Defender Ctr., Troubled Kids, Troubled Courts: A Call to New England’s Juvenile Court Judges and State Policymakers, 9 JUV. JUST. UPDATE (2003) (contributor).