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…
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2019 Nominations for Annual Awards February 15, 2019 - Nomination Process The Committee will present the awards at an Awards Ceremony on April 24, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. All nominations should be submitted to Ms. Denise Simonini, Executive Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services, 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA 02108, by fax to […] Changes to DCF Foster Care Review Process January 30, 2019 - CAFL attorneys should have received an e-mail from Virginia Peel on January 23, 2019 notifying them that DCF has implemented changes to its foster care review process. These changes include e-mailing attorneys notice of reviews. If you did not receive Virginia’s e-mail, you need to contact her ASAP to ensure that you receive notice of future reviews. Virginia […] Committee Meeting Dates – CY 2019 January 7, 2019 - All meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the third Wednesday of the month except where noted. January 15, 2019 (Tuesday starting at 11:00 a.m.)February 20, 2019 February 26, 2019 (Tuesday)March 20, 2019April 17, 2019May 15, 2019June 19, 2019July 17, 2019August – NO MEETINGSeptember 18, 2019October 16, 2019November 20, 2019December 18, 2019 Upcoming Children and Family Law Certification Trainings November 19, 2018 - Guardianship Certification Training in Fall River and Holyoke CAFL is presenting a one-day certification training for attorneys wishing to represent children and parents in guardianship of minor proceedings in the Probate and Family Court. The training is open to all CAFL attorneys in good standing on the care and protection trial panel who have graduated […] New Juvenile Court Rules and Time Standards Go Into Effect November 5, 2018 October 29, 2018 - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has issued new Juvenile Court Rules for the Care and Protection of Children, which go into effect on November 5, 2018. The new 2018 rules will replace the 2007 Juvenile Court Rules for the Care and Protection of Children. Along with these Rules, the Juvenile Court has issued new Standing […]