Dale Margolin Cecka
Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Jeanette Lipman Family Law Clinic
Courses Taught Family Law Clinic

Professor Dale Margolin Cecka is Director of the Law School's Family Law Clinic and teaches and writes in the area of family law. Professor Cecka's scholarship focuses on child welfare issues, youth aging out of foster care, and the constitutional rights of parents, particularly those who are mentally disabled, in child protective proceedings. Prior to joining the Richmond Law faculty, Professor Cecka was a Skadden Fellow in the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York and then a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the St. John's University School of Law Family Law Clinic. For her contributions in the area of family law generally, and foster care specifically, Professor Cecka was awarded the FACES of Virginia Families Empowerment Award in 2009.


FACES of Virginia Families Empowerment Award 2009.


Presenter, “Custody and Child Welfare Cases: A Parental Defense Perspective,” Reimagining Family Defense Symposium, CUNY School of Law, New York. April 2016 (forthcoming).

Presenter, "Law Review to Op Ed: What's Next?" Poverty Law: Academic Activism, Seattle University School of Law, February 2016.

Panelist, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Cambridge University Press 2016) Book Panel, AALS Joint Scholars and Scholarship Workshop on Feminist Jurisprudence, Fordham Law, January 2016.

Presenter, "Underserved Children are not Served by Family Court," Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, American University School of Law, January 2016.

Presenter, "Underserved Familes are not Served by Family Court: How the U.S. Can Better Support Family Relationships," Southern Clinical Conference, The University of Memphis School of Law, October 2015.

Presenter, “U.S. Feminist Projects Roundtable,” Fifth Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling, Seattle University School of Law, July 2015.

Panelist, "The Rights of Parents and Children," Family Law Reform Conference, Divorce Corp., November 2014

Panelist and Co-Sponsor, “The Dark Matter of the Night,” with University of Virginia, Richmond, VA Sep,ember 2013.

Participant, “Fostering Justice,” Third National Conference on the Right to Counsel for Abused and Neglected Children, Seattle, WA, June 2013.

Presenter, “Anonymous Reporting to Child Protective Services,” Making and Teaching “Real” Family Law: A Celebration of the Scholarship and Service of Professor Margo Melli, and the 6th Annual Midwest Family Law Consortium Workshop, University of Wisconsin, Madison, April 2013.

Poster Presentation, "Chipping Away at Cognitive Bias: A Cross-Clinic Public-Private Approach to Domestic Violence," AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education, April 2013 (with Julie McConnell)

Presentation on Legal Services for Indigent Clients, 19th Annual Bench-Bar Conference, Richmond, October 2010

"The American with Disabilities Act and Mental Health: Exploring Public Benefits and Child Welfare Law" Presentation to the Urban Justice Center, New York, NY, April 2010

"Teens in Foster Care" Presentation to the Stafford County Best Practice Court Team Training, August 2009

Organizer and speaker, Greater Richmond Housing Summit: Youth Aging out of Foster Care, March 2009

Organizer and speaker, National Symposium: The Housing Crisis Facing Youth Aging of Foster Care, New York, March 2008

AALS Section on Clinical Education Annual Meeting, presenter, 2008 and 2009

Board of Directors, Virginia State Bar Section on Education of Lawyers, September 2011-present.
Board of Directors, National Center for Family Law, Richmond, VA, 2008-present.
Board of Directors, In the Spirit of the Children, Inc. New York, N.Y., 2008-2011
Board of Directors, FACES of Virginia Families, 2009-2011.
Advisory Council, Campaign for Youth Justice, Washington, D.C., 2008-2010.
New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the Law (Appointed member), 2008-2009.
Member, ¿Panel¿ for civil appointments, Nassau County Family Court.
Bar Admissions
New York
U.S. Southern District of New York
U.S. Eastern District of New York
Professional Experience
Director of the Family Law Clinic, Clinical Professor of Law (2014-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Director of the Family Law Clinic, Associate Clinical Professor of Law (2011-2014)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Director of the Family Law Clinic, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law (2008-2011)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Interim Director, Child Advocacy Clinic (2007-2008)
St. John's University School of Law, New York, N.Y.
Clinical Teaching Fellow (2006-2008)
The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division, New York, N.Y.
Skadden Fellow, representing adolescents in foster care (2004-2006)
Community Service
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Delegation of Judicial Authority in Private Child Custory Cases, 52 U. Rich. L. Rev.___ (forthcoming 2017).

Inequity in Private Child Custody Litigation, 20 CUNY L. Rev. 203 (2016).

It’s Time for the Fourth Circuit to Rethink Deshaney, 67 S. C. L. Rev. 679 (2016).

Traumatic Brain Injury and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 59 Soc. Work 261 (2014) (with Portia L. Cole).

Persons Affected by Traumatic Brain Injury in the Workplace, 27 J. Workplace Behav. Health 227 (2012) (with Portia L. Cole and Fatima M. Smith).

Spoliation in Child Welfare, 15 Rich. J. L. & Pub. Int. 533 (2012). 

Every Adolescent Deserves a Parent, 40 Cap. U. L. Rev. 417 (2012).

The Housing Crisis Facing Youth Aging-Out of Foster Care: Introduction, 23 St. John's J. Legal Comment, Vol. 12, 382 (2008).


Commentary for Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Kathryn Stanchi, et al., eds.) (Cambridge University Press 2016).

Additional Publications

Editor, Education & Practice (Virginia State Bar) (Biannual publication, September 2011-present).

Parents with Disabilities: The Legal Landscape, Journal of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, University of Minnesota 14 (2013).

Where are the Records? Handling Lost/Destroyed Records in Child Welfare Tort Litigation, The American Bar Association Child Law Practice, Vol. 30, No. 6 (2011). 

Clients Aging Out of Care, The American Bar Association Children's Rights Litigation, Vol. 12, Issue 4 (2009).

Securing Housing in Tough Times: Seeking Shelter for Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care, The American Bar Association Child Law Practice, Vol. 27, No. 5 (2008).

Working with Adolescents in Foster Care: A Manual for Practitioners, The Legal Aid Society (2007).

Rights and Advocacy Manual for Young People in Foster Care, The Legal Aid Society, Vol. 27 (2006).

The Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Teens, 2nd ed., The New York Civil Liberties Union, Vol. 27 (contribution) (2006).

Pregnant and Parenting Teenagers in Foster Care, Practicing Law Institute (2005).

B.A., Stanford University 1999
J.D., Columbia Law School 2004
Contact Information
Clinic Room G8, Law School
(804) 289-8921
Areas of Expertise
Family Law (Juvenile Justice, Domestic Violence, and Child Advocacy)
Public Benefits
Clinical Legal Education