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.

Agreement Reached on Conditions at Bridgewater State Hospital December 17, 2014 - An independent monitoring group will open an office inside troubled Bridgewater State Hospital for the next two years to make sure that prison guards and clinicians continue reducing their use of isolation and physical restraints on mentally ill patients, under a deal with the state that averts a lawsuit. Read entire Globe Article which includes […]
Upcoming CLE Opportunities December 3, 2014 - December 19 – MCLE (Boston) – How to Make Money & Stay Out of Trouble – Make your practice more ethical—and more successful Whether you are a new or experienced attorney, this program gives you the essential tools to run a professional practice. A panel of practitioners and counsel from the Office of Bar Counsel […]
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 […]
CAFL Now Accepting Applications For Trial And Appellate Panel Certification Trainings. November 4, 2014 - The Children and Family Law Division is now accepting applications for its April 2015 Trial Panel Training and its May 2015 Appellate Panel Training. UPDATE:  DUE TO A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF ATTORNEYS IN SOME PARTS OF THE STATE, WE ARE OFFERING A SHORTENED TRAINING FEBRUARY 2-4 IN WORCESTER.  ATTORNEYS CAN BEGIN TAKING CASES IMMEDIATELY AFTER […]
ID-10030834 New DCF Education Policy Effective September 2, 2014 October 14, 2014 - The Department of Children and Families has issued a new policy effective September 2, 2014 governing education for children involved with the Department. The policy addresses numerous areas including: (1) maintaining school stability for children placed in DCF care or custody; (2) information sharing between schools and DCF; (3) determining who makes regular and special […]