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…

CPCS News

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

CPCS Alerts Media of Petition Seeking Relief from Convictions Tainted by Amherst Lab Chemist and the Misconduct of Two Assistant Attorneys General September 21, 2017 - Upon filing a petition at the SJC that seeks relief for the thousands whose cases were tainted by Amherst Drug Lab Chemist Sonia Farak and further exacerbated by the misconduct of two assistant attorneys general, CPCS sent out the following press release: CPCS Files Petition Seeking Relief from Convictions Tainted by Amherst Lab Chemist and […]
Mental Health Litigation Appellate Certification Training – Fall 2017 September 15, 2017 - The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for its 3 day Appellate  Certification Training taking place in the Fall of 2017.  The training will take place at the Registry of Deeds in Worcester over the course of three days**: Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 from 9:00 – 4:30 Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 from […]
Congratulations to the Essex County Bar Association Advocates – Updated August 22, 2017 -   David Hallinan receiving the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award The following article on the Essex County Bar Advocate Program being named this year’s recipient of the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award appeared in The Salem News on June 28, 2017:   http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/local-legal-assistance-program-receives-national-award/article_825265e8-c83e-5c41-9873-f47c655446ed.html
SAMHSA Releases Recommendation Letter on the Treatment of Women with Substance Use Disorder and Their Infants August 17, 2017 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services responsible for issues of mental health and substance use, recently released a letter with recommendations for the treatment of pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorder and their infants. The text of the letter, […]
CPCS HELPS UNITED WAY HELP THE HOMELESS August 17, 2017 - CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti was one of the guest speakers kicking off the United Ways’ Project Homeless Connect at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, MA on August 11, 2017.  He explained to the more than 350 staff and volunteers what CPCS does, saying, “We defend the accused; we demand justice; […]
Lisa Kavanaugh’s Victory for Frederick Clay August 9, 2017 - INCREDIBLE! CONGRATULATIONS to our colleague, Atty. Lisa Kavanaugh, Director of the CPCS Innocence Program, and her co-counsel, Atty. Jeff Harris of the Boston law firm Good, Cormier, Schneider and Fried, on their victory in convincing the Commonwealth to vacate the conviction of Frederick Clay, convicted of first degree murder in 1981. Clay was convicted on […]