Bernard P. Perlmutter

Professor of Law & Co-Director, Children & Youth Law Clinic

J.D. 1983, University of Miami School of Law

Phone: (305)284-4132
Office: F305

Bernard P. Perlmutter is Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Children and Youth Law Clinic, which he established in 1996. Professor Perlmutter also teaches Family Law, Transnational Family Law, Children and the Law, and New Directions in Lawyering: Interviewing, Counseling, and Attorney-Client Relational Skills.

At the Children & Youth Law Clinic, Professor Perlmutter teaches and supervises second- and third-year law students who handle cases involving abused, abandoned and neglected children and adolescents in dependency, foster care, adoption, public benefits, health care, mental health, disability, education, and immigration matters, in addition to appellate, legislative and administrative advocacy, and law reform litigation.

He has litigated numerous federal and state court impact and class action lawsuits seeking to reform Florida's foster care system. He has submitted and joined amicus curiae briefs in federal and state cases addressing the juvenile death penalty and life without parole sentences; children’s constitutional rights to counsel in dependency court proceedings; improved access to health care, educational, and therapeutic services for children in state care; LGBTQ rights to foster and adopt children; and a range of systemic issues affecting children with disabilities, immigrant children, and older foster children.

Professor Perlmutter has published law review articles and book chapters analyzing the due process rights of foster children placed in psychiatric facilities; the uses of therapeutic jurisprudence in child advocacy and clinical legal education; the constitutionality of shackling children in juvenile courts; children's medical privacy rights in juvenile and family court hearings; children organizing to reform foster care systems; the treatment of immigrant children by state dependency courts; and administrative fair hearings in child welfare cases.

The President of the Florida Bar appointed Professor Perlmutter to serve on the Commission on the Legal Needs of Children and the Special Committee on Child & Parent Representation. He has served on the Boards of Directors of Florida's Children First and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, and the National Association of Counsel for Children Children's Law Office Project Advisory Board. He has also served on the Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee, Juvenile Court Rules Committee, and Public Interest Law Section Legal Needs of Children Committee. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in Juvenile Law.

Prior to joining UM School of Law, Professor Perlmutter was a staff attorney at Legal Services of Greater Miami. While on a leave of absence from Legal Services, he served as the Director of the HIV/AIDS and Children's Law Projects in the Civil Law Clinic at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center.

Professor Perlmutter has been recognized by the National Association of Counsel for Children with its Outstanding Legal Advocacy Award (2003); the Clinical Legal Education Association as recipient of its Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Law Case or Project (2003); the Florida Bar Foundation Steven M. Goldstein Award (2001 & 2003). He received the Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section's Hon. Hugh S. Glickstein Child Advocacy Award on two occasions, as a member of the Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, in 2002, and in 2017, “in recognition of his dedication to advancing the rights of children and training the next generation of children’s advocates.”

In 2005, Professor Perlmutter received the Hon. C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award from the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the inaugural Miami-Dade County Children's Trust Champion for Children Award, and the Mental Health Advocate of the Year Award from the Florida Statewide Advocacy Council.

Professor Perlmutter received the 2007 Richard Hausler “Golden Apple” Professor of the Year Award from the Miami Law Society of Bar and Gavel; the 2011 Sookie Williams Award for Exemplary Service to the Miami-Dade Legal Community; Legal Services of Greater Miami’s 50th Anniversary Voices Award in 2016; and the Florida’s Children First Outstanding Child Advocate Award, in 2018, “for being a powerful influence to help shape future advocates, and for the outstanding representation of children in care; for being a stalwart defender of children’s rights and for advocating for systemic reform.” In 2019, he was a co-recipient of the Florida Bar Foundation Paul Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award for “exceptional Florida Supreme Court Advocacy for Immigrant Children.” He is a member of the University of Miami honor society, Iron Arrow.

Professor Perlmutter has a B.A. from Bennington College, did graduate work in English and Comparative Literature at Brandeis University, and received his J.D. from University of Miami School of Law.


Judges Behaving Badly ... Clinics Fighting Back: The Struggle for Special Immigrant Juveniles in State Dependency Courts in the Age of Trump, 82 Alb. L. Rev. 1553 (2019).

"Letting Kids Be Kids" : Youth Voice and Activism to Reform Foster Care and Promote "Normalcy", Studies in Law, Politics and Society (2017).

Advocacy for Foster Youth in Mental Health Commitment Proceedings, Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases 575 (2016).

Florida Youth Health Rights Handbook (2013).

More Therapeutic, Less Collaborative?: Asserting the Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege on Behalf of Mature Minors, 17 Barry L. Rev. 45 (2011).

Mental Health Commitment of Dependent Children: Due Process Rights, Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Cases (2010).

"Unchain the Children:" Gault, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and Shackling, Symposium: Forty Years After In Re Gault: Do Kangaroo Courts Still Rule?, 9 Barry L. Rev. 1 (2007).

George's Story: Voice and Transformation Through the Teaching and Practice of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in a Law School Child Advocacy Clinic, 17 St. Thomas L. Rev. 561 (2005).

Mental Health Commitment of Dependent Children: Due Process Rights (with Carolyn S. Salisbury), 263 Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Cases (2005).

"Please Let Me Be Heard:" The Right of a Florida Foster Child to Due Process Prior to Being Committed to a Long-Term, Psychiatric Institution, 25 Nova L. Rev. 725 (2001).

 Presentations & Awards

Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Approaches to Addressing Ethical Challenges of Vulnerable Populations: Focus on Foster Care and the Disabled ( , 2016)

Rethinking Foster Care Symposium ( , 2016)

Intersections with Immigration Issues: Recognizing and Addressing Legal Barriers for Immigrants in Your Courtroom (March , 2010)

Psychotropic Medications: How to Be an Effective Advocate for Children in Dependency (February , 2010)

Representation to Realize Rights: A Summit on Counsel for Children in Miami: Health Rights of Children (September , 2009)

Legal Challenges to Shackling Immigrant Children in Immigration Court (October , 2009)

Can a Juvenile Be Imprisoned for Life Without Possibility of Parole Under International Law? (November , 2009)

Procedural Rights of Children in State Care (May , 2009)

"Unchain the Children": Toward a Human Rights and Therapeutic Jurisprudence Model of Advocacy to Unshackle Children in the Courtroom (June , 2009)

Roles of the Child's Attorney and GAL and the Child's Perspective in Psychotropic Medication Hearings (August , 2009)

Phone: (305)284-4132
Office: F305
Faculty Assistant


Phone: (305)284-1686
Office: F305

Area of Expertise

  • Children's Rights
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Law

Websites and Blogs

Children and Youth Law Clinic