What We Do

We provide legal representation in Massachusetts for those unable to afford an attorney in all matters in which the law requires the appointment of counsel. This includes representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, mental health, sexually dangerous person and sex offender registry cases, as well as related appeals and post-conviction matters.

Representation is provided by a combination of approximately 500 staff attorneys and 3,000 private attorneys trained and certified to accept appointments. Support for and supervision of these attorneys is provided by the Private Counsel and Public Defender Divisions (for criminal cases and related matters), the Children and Family Law Division (for child welfare cases), the Youth Advocacy Division (for delinquency, youthful offender, and GCL revocation cases), and the Mental Health Litigation Division (for guardianships and mental health/substance abuse commitments). Additionally, the Immigration Impact Unit provides attorneys within all divisions with training, litigation support and advice in individual cases regarding immigration consequences for noncitizens clients.

Learn more about who we are and how we are structured…


To see the latest CPCS news, check out our blog.

John_Adams_Courthouse_-_Suffolk_County_Courthouse_-_Boston,_MA_-_DSC04718 CAFL Now Accepting Applications For Trial, CRA And Appellate Panel Certification Trainings. January 22, 2015 - The Children and Family Law Division is now accepting applications for its February 2015 Trial Panel Training, its March 2015 CRA Panel Training, its April 2015 Trial Panel Training, and its May 2015 Appellate Panel Training. DUE TO A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF ATTORNEYS IN SOME PARTS OF THE STATE, THE FEBRUARY TRAINING WILL BE OFFERED […]
Playground Private playground open to public not “school or park” for purposes of G. L. c. 94C, sec. 32J December 2, 2014 - In a case charging the defendant with the sale of marijuana within 100 feet of a school or park, the Appeals Court ruled that a private playground open to the public does not fit the definition of a “school or park” under G. L. c. 94C, § 32J.  In Commonwealth v. Gopaul, the Court answered […]
PRACTICE ADVISORY – Mental Health Commitments and Firearms January 16, 2015 - The following amendment to GL c. 123, §36C took effect on January 1, 2015 SECTION 16. Said chapter 123 is hereby further amended by adding the following section:- Section 36C. (a) A court that orders the commitment of a person pursuant to sections 7, 8 or 18 or subsection (b) or (c) of section 16, […]