Lisa B. Swaminathan

Pro Bono Counsel
Tel 215.864.8905
Fax 215.864.8999

As Pro Bono Counsel, Lisa B. Swaminathan oversees a program through which attorneys across the firm donate roughly 50,000 hours of free legal services each year to people in need of legal aid. She also chairs the firm's Pro Bono Committee. Lisa has advocated for the rights of individuals and families in need of legal services throughout her career, both as a litigator in private practice and as an attorney with legal non-profit organizations.

As an attorney at Juvenile Law Center, Lisa worked to enforce and advance the rights of children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She focused particularly on ending the imposition of costs and fines in the juvenile justice system, educating courts on the collateral consequences of juvenile justice involvement, ensuring youth access to counsel, and promoting permanency for older youth in the child welfare system. She served as a staff attorney in the Family Advocacy Unit of Community Legal Services, where she represented parents in child welfare cases and developed policies to support and maintain relationships among system-involved families.

Before entering the nonprofit sector, Lisa was a litigator at Ballard Spahr, where she represented clients in commercial disputes and took part in many of the firm’s most challenging pro bono cases. She was part of the team that successfully challenged Pennsylvania's widespread use of civil forfeiture, raising the standard of proof needed to confiscate property in the Commonwealth and expanding protections for property owners facing claims.

While at Duke University School of Law, Lisa interned at The Women’s Law Project where she handled a variety of matters involving harassment, Title IX compliance, privacy, and access to health care services.

Pro Bono Experience

Lisa contributed more than 1,400 hours to pro bono service during her time as an associate in Ballard Spahr’s Litigation Department. Her pro bono work included matters involving civil rights, asylum, defamation, and child welfare.

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Children's Right to Counsel Committee, January 2018-present

Community Legal Services, Justice for All 5K Organizing Committee, January 2010-July 2015

Recognitions & Accomplishments

Recipient, Duke University's Burdman Fellowship (for pursuit of public interest work)


"Extended Foster Care for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System? A Smart and Sensible Policy for Better Outcomes," Juvenile Law Center Blog, April 2018

"Developments in Civil Asset Forfeiture," Verdict, January 2018

"Pennsylvania Supreme Court Case Review," The NACC Guardian, Spring 2017

"When Parents Fight: Alaska's Presumption against Awarding Custody to Perpetrators of Domestic Violence," Alaska Law Review, December 2008

Speaking Engagements

"Ending the Placement of Youth on Registries for Sex Offenses: What You Need to Know," National Juvenile Justice Network Webinar, September 2018

Guest lecturer, "Oral Advocacy in Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings," University of Pennsylvania and Temple Law Schools' Parents, Children, and the State Seminar, 2009-2010 and 2017-2018

Guest lecturer, "Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Delinquency Adjudication," Temple Law School's Juvenile Justice Seminar, 2017-2018

Facilitator, "Litigation Strategy Panel," Berkeley Policy Advocacy Clinic Convening on Costs and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System, January 2018

Guest lecturer, "The Role of Counsel for Children," Temple Law School's Custody Law Seminar, 2018

Facilitator, "Policy and Research Panel," Litigation Strategy Convening to End Youth Registration, December 2017

"What Disability Rights Advocates Need to Know About Child Welfare," National Disability Rights Network Webinar Series, May 2017

"National Transition Strategies: Advocating in the Courtroom for Improved Outcomes for Older Youth with Disabilities," Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program 2017 Disabilities Training Conference, May 2017

"Older Youth Matters: Tips and Strategies to Effectively Engage in Transition Planning," Philadelphia Family Court, March 2017

"Transition Planning 2.0: Supporting Older Teens as They Prepare for Adulthood," Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth & Family Services, February 2017

"Preparing for Transition: New Policies and Tools to Help Youth with Disabilities Access Services and Supports," Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network, January 2017

Board Memberships

Philadelphia VIP, December 2015-December 2016

Duke University School of Law (J.D. 2009, with honors)

University of Pennsylvania (B.A./B.S., magna cum laude, 2004)


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania