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.


Supporting an Open Data Standards Approach for MassCourt Data* April 22, 2016 - The following is an open reply to the Massachusetts Trial Court’s call for comments regarding its Proposed Uniform Rules on Public Access to Court Records. It is the joint comment of multiple organizations and individuals. CPCS is a signatory, and this post is meant to provide some context explaining why. For a complete list of […]
Gideon Anniversary – Why the Rights of the Accused Matter March 18, 2016 - Although the American tradition of providing a zealous defense, even for unpopular defendants, goes back to John Adams, it was not until March 18, 1963, that the U.S. Supreme Court declared that Clarence Earl Gideon had not received a fair trial because he was too poor to afford counsel.  Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335  The ruling was momentous because […]




CAFL Accepting Applications for CRA Panel Training March 2, 2016 - The Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent children in Child Requiring Assistance cases in the Juvenile Court.  Admission to the CRA panel is by application only and requires completion of a two-day training. For additional information and a link to the application, visit […]

Trial Courts Issue Sentencing Best Practices Reports May 4, 2016 -   Trial Court Establishes Best Practice Principles in Criminal Sentencing*  BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Trial Court today announced that the four Trial Court departments with criminal jurisdiction have issued comprehensive criminal sentencing reports, including best practice principles to assist judges in developing individualized, evidence-based sentences that are intended to improve offenders’ chances of success […]
Watch “Poverty, Violence, and the Developing Mind” April 29, 2016 - From the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior @ MGH: An increasing number of children are at risk for exposure to severe violence and dangerous living conditions. During this panel event, experts wrestled with the following question: What are the implications of trauma exposure and toxic stress for healthy brain development? Click here to watch […]

March 24 – 7:00 PM, Boston: Harvard Center for Law, Brain & Behavior hosts: Poverty, Violence, and the Developing Mind March 15, 2016 - Concentrated poverty is on the rise, and an increasing number of children are at risk for exposure to severe violence and dangerous living conditions. What are the implications of trauma exposure for healthy brain development? During this panel event, Dr. Kerry Ressler (of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School) will discuss the risks poor, urban environments pose for […]