Robert Listenbee, JD

Robert (Bob) Listenbee currently serves as First Assistant District Attorney at the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney, where he is bringing his expertise and experience working at the local, state, and national levels on juvenile and criminal justice issues to this newly created position.

Previously, Bob was a Stoneleigh Visiting Fellow and Director of Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Initiatives at Drexel University’s Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab. In this role, he worked with the city and state’s juvenile justice, criminal justice, and child welfare agencies and organizations to advance shared policy priorities.

In 2013, Bob was appointed by President Barack Obama as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, serving in this position until January 2017. During his tenure as Administrator, Bob focused on three overarching priorities: addressing the core protections outlined in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act; reducing out-of-home-placements; and reforming the nation’s juvenile justice system so that it utilizes a developmental, trauma-informed approach with a focus on evidence-based practices and programs.

Prior to his appointment to OJJDP, Bob was Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia for 16 years and a trial lawyer with the Association for more than two decades. In this capacity, he was instrumental in developing several specialty court programs designed to divert youth out of the juvenile justice system and reduce their risk of residential placement. Bob has contributed his expertise on policy committees of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the National Juvenile Defender Center, the National Center for Juvenile Justice, and several other local, state, and national organizations. He played a central role in the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative and served as co-chair of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The MacArthur Foundation honored him as a Champion for Change in juvenile justice reform in 2011.

Bob holds a BA from Harvard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Visiting Fellow

2017 - 2018

Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab, Drexel University

Current Position

First Assistant District Attorney
Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney



See how Robert is Advancing the Field