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.

smartphone with home screen showing various apps Tools for Remote Communication March 20, 2020 - With the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19, more and more we are looking for ways to communicate remotely with clients, colleagues, family and friends.  Below is a list of free video conferencing options.  We are also sharing information for you and your clients about expanded internet service and no or low-cost smartphones for low-income persons. There […]
CPCS CLE Requirement – Emergency Policy Change – Fiscal Year 2020 Only March 18, 2020 - Dear Private Attorneys, We hope you and your families are well during this difficult time.  Due to exceptional circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 virus, CPCS is waiving the Continuing Legal Education hours requirement for all units for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020.) Although we have waived the CLE requirements, we encourage […]
Notice to CPCS Staff Attorneys and Private Counsel March 16, 2020 - On Sunday evening, Governor Baker directed that all non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. The Court, following the lead of the Governor, announced late this evening that the Trial Courts will be closed to the public on Monday and […]
CPCS Statement on Coronavirus Pandemic March 13, 2020 - PRESS RELEASE The Committee for Public Counsel Services today announced that it is taking aggressive actions in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among its employees and the public, and — with the dangers of the ongoing pandemic in mind — public defenders across the commonwealth will be heading to court next week to […]
CPCS Committee Meeting Agenda – March 19, 2020 Meeting March 13, 2020 - As you are aware, recent events have raised serious public health concern.  As a result, Governor Baker has declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts.  In light of these developments, the Committee has determined that they are taking all matters that need to be addressed by phone. Approval of minutes of the February 25, 2020 […]
CPCS Training Department Response to Public Health Concerns March 12, 2020 - Given new Executive Branch directives regarding meetings and events in light of COVID-19, the CPCS Training Department is cancelling all in-person training until April 30, 2020. As you know, the situation is fluid and we are continually assessing as we get more information from public health authorities. At this point, we will still deliver some […]