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.

2020 Nominations for Annual Awards February 6, 2020 - NOMINATIONS ACCEPTED FOR ADDAMS, BLITZMAN, DONOVAN, DUGGAN, LIACOS, MARSHALL, MCPARLAND, MELLEN, SOUTO-GOYETTE AND WINCHESTER AWARDS  Nomination Process The Committee will present the awards at an Awards Ceremony on May 14, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. All nominations should be submitted to Ms. Denise Simonini, Executive Assistant to the Chief […]
SJC: Ask if Passenger Can Drive Before Impoundment February 4, 2020 - Police must ask an arrested driver whether they want a passenger to drive their vehicle to a safe location before authorities can decide whether it’s “reasonably necessary” to impound and conduct an inventory search, according to the Supreme Judicial Court.  “We conclude that, where officers are aware that a passenger lawfully could assume custody of […]
Randy Gioia Outlines Concerns about Videoconferencing February 4, 2020 - Defense attorneys across the Commonwealth have voiced concerns about the prospect of expanding the use of videoconferencing in criminal proceedings. District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley has been accepting comments on a draft standing order outlining the use of videoconferencing. Randy Gioia, deputy chief counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, explained his reservations […]
YAF Wins 2020 Excellence in Legal Services Award January 29, 2020 - The Youth Advocacy Foundation (YAF), the nonprofit arm of the Massachusetts juvenile public defender agency, has been named the 2020 winner of the Reginald Heber Smith Award for Excellence in Legal Services. The award, presented by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, goes to an organization that has exhibited innovation and excellence in legal advocacy. YAF will receive […]
CPCS Testifies in Favor of Safe Communities Act January 27, 2020 - Wendy Wayne, director of the Immigration Impact Unit at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, testified in favor of the Safe Communities Act – a bill designed to protect the civil rights of all Massachusetts residents.  Wayne, speaking before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on Friday, said the bill “prioritizes the […]
Roxbury Defender Receives Community Leadership Award January 21, 2020 - Kristyn Henry, a trial attorney with the Roxbury Defenders Unit, was honored by the North Shore Black Women’s Association for being a community leader who exemplifies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “ideals, passion and commitment to service.” Henry received the award during the NSBWA’s 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon on Saturday afternoon in […]