Coronavirus Updates

CPCS has assembled a list of important resources for lawyers and clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency has also created an explainer outlining our COVID-19 litigation.

Our Mission Statement

We fight for equal justice and human dignity by supporting our clients in achieving their legal and life goals. We zealously advocate for the rights of individuals and promote just public policy to protect the rights of all.

Our Values

•   Courage   •   Accountability   •   Respect   •   Excellence

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.

Do you want to protect the civil rights of people with psychiatric challenges and hone or develop valuable trial skills? The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for our Fall 2020 Civil Commitment Certification Training! August 4, 2020 - In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months or a year, and treated with anti-psychotic medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles people to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected. Civil commitment cases offer […]
Committee Meeting Agenda – July 15, 2020 Meeting July 10, 2020 - Due to social distancing, the Committee will be conducting all matters by phone. Approval of minutes of the June 18, 2020 meeting Amicus Request(s): Commonwealth v. Josiah Zacher, SJC-12952 Commonwealth v. Caliz, SJC-12932 Commonwealth v. Delgado-Rivera, SJC-12929 Contract Approval – 100 Cambridge Street, Boston Monthly Financial Overview Report CPCS Steps to Combat Racial & Ethnic […]
CPCS Statement on Pride Month June 25, 2020 - It is incredibly fortuitous that I am able to share some thoughts in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month  so soon after the U.S. Supreme Court, in an historic 6-3 decision, definitively ruled in the Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia case that employment discrimination toward LGBTQ individuals violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of […]
Public Defender Appointed to BPD Reform Task Force June 24, 2020 - Allison Cartwright, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Roxbury Defenders office, has been appointed to a Task Force charged with reviewing Boston Police policies and making recommendations for progressive reform. The Boston Police Reform Task Force was launched earlier this month by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. It will review Boston Police’s […]
Committee Meeting Agenda – June 18, 2020 Meeting June 11, 2020 - Due to social distancing, the Committee will be taking all matters by phone. Approval of minutes of the May 20, 2020 meeting Amicus Requests – Reporting Only (approved by Executive Committee) Commonwealth Daniel Nash, 2019-P-0703 Gonzalez v. Immigration & Customs Enf’t, 416 F. Supp. 3d 995 (C.D. Cal. 2019) Contracts FY 2021 Bar Advocate Program […]
CPCS Statement: No Lives Matter Until Black Lives Matter June 3, 2020 - In 2014, we all bore witness to the video footage of a white police officer gunning down Michael Brown, a black and unarmed, recent high school graduate.  Since that unforgettable date and time, the blood of black men and women has been mercilessly spilled, and their lives cut short by police brutality, in nearly every […]