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.

CAFL Guardianship Training July 3, 2017 - 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 Tuesday, July 25, 2017, training at the Worcester Law Library, is open to all CAFL attorneys in good standing on the care and protection trial panel who have […]
Congratulations to the Essex County Bar Association Advocates June 29, 2017 - UPDATE:   The following article on the Essex County Bar Advocate Program being named this year’s recipient of the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award appeared in The Salem News on June 28, 2017:   http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/local-legal-assistance-program-receives-national-award/article_825265e8-c83e-5c41-9873-f47c655446ed.html
Criminal Justice Reform Bill – Lawyers Weekly Article June 21, 2017 - Below is a link to a PDF of the piece in Lawyers Weekly from Max Stern and Michael Keating. https://massinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Lawyers-Weekly-piece.pdf    
Children and Family Law Division is Seeking Mentors June 12, 2017 - The Children and Family Law Division is currently seeking experienced panel attorneys to serve as mentors in all regions in the Commonwealth. Mentoring is an excellent opportunity for experienced CAFL practitioners to work closely with newly trained attorneys in an effort to support their courtroom and advocacy skills. Mentors facilitate the professional growth of newly […]
CAFL Certification Training to Represent Children and Parents in Termination of Parental Rights and CRA Cases June 8, 2017 - The Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent children and indigent parents in care and protection/termination of parental rights and child requiring assistance cases in the Juvenile Court.  Admission to the CAFL trial panel is by application only and requires completion of a seven-day […]
DCF New Family Assessment and Action Planning Policies June 7, 2017 - The Massachusetts Department and Children and Family Services (DCF) has a new policy directing social workers how to conduct clinical assessments and create “action plans.” The policy went into effect on February 6, 2017 and replaces DCF’s “Assessment Policy # 85-011” and “Service Planning and Referral Policy # 97-003.”   As part of the new policy, […]