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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…

CPCS News

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

Thoughts on Losing Two Legal Legends September 21, 2020 - The following was sent by CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti to the entire agency regarding the passing of Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants and Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: This past week brought devastating news to the legal system, the commonwealth and the nation. We lost two legal legends with the […]
Committee Meeting Agenda – September 17, 2020 Meeting September 10, 2020 - Due to social distancing, the Committee will be conducting all matters virtually Approval of minutes of the July 15, 2020 meeting Amicus Request(s) Commonwealth v. T.J., A Juvenile, SJC-12986 Commonwealth v. Keith Winfield, 2019-P-871 (Reporting Only) Monthly Financial Overview Report Commitments $10,000 and Over Report COVID-19 Status Update Litigation Update: Carasquillo DOC City of Springfield Chief Counsel […]
CPCS Chief Counsel Discusses Civil Rights and Criminal Justice at Boston College Law Rappaport Center Event September 9, 2020 - Committee for Public Counsel Services Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti joined Hon. Geraldine Hines, former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights; and Carol Rose, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts for a discussion about civil rights and criminal justice on […]
Tribute to Attorney Ed Barshak, Early Pioneer in Massachusetts Indigent Defense September 1, 2020 - Edward J. Barshak, a titan in the Massachusetts legal industry and a trailblazer in the fight for the right to counsel, passed away last month. He was 96 years old. Barshak spent his career pushing to create a better legal system for all people. He is an important figure in the history of indigent defense […]
Dsida Wins NACC Outstanding Legal Advocate Award August 24, 2020 - Michael Dsida, Deputy Chief Counsel of the Committee of Public Counsel Services’ Children and Family Law Division, has been named the winner of the National Association of Counsel for Children’s Outstanding Legal Advocate Award. The award is presented to individuals who demonstrate “excellence in legal or policy advocacy throughout their career in child welfare.” Dsida […]
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 […]