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 HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC CHALLENGES? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL! August 8, 2018 - The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its fall 2018 Civil Commitment Certification Training. In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months, and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation […]
Reporting tool to capture video conferencing issues experienced during client court hearings. July 25, 2018 - In response to the 2017 CPCS/Suffolk University survey regarding trial court video conferencing (VC), the Trial Court has established a Working Group to address various issues associated with VC.  Technological malfunctions are one focus for the Working Group. CPCS’s representatives on the Working Group seek to gather data so the Working Group can identify specific courts […]
Boston Globe Op Ed July 10, 2018 - CPCS Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti coauthored an Op Ed for the Boston Globe with Dr. Laurie Guidry, chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Massachusetts Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (MATSA).  The Op Ed, “Changing Sex Offender Law Needs to Be Evidence-Based”, opposes the Governor’s legislative response to the proposed release of […]
Lawyers Needed to Represent Parents and Children in State Intervention Cases June 27, 2018 - The Children and Family Law (CAFL) 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. There is a significant shortage of CAFL attorneys in western Massachusetts. The need is most critical in the Springfield […]
The Berkshire Eagle – Attorney Richard LeBlanc June 12, 2018 - The Berkshire Eagle Monday, June 11, 2018 9:51 am STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE Attorney Richard LeBlanc of Pittsfield has received the Edward Duggan Award from the state Commission of Public Counseling Services for his work as a public defender in the Berkshires. Tuesday, May 22, 2018. “It’s all I ever wanted to do”: […]
MBA and CPCS Issued Statement on Judicial Independence June 8, 2018 - CPCS and the Mass Bar issued a joint statement on Friday, June 8, 2018, responding to those calling for the removal of Judge Timothy Q. Feeley.  CPCS and the Mass Bar warn that removing a judge because he or she made an unpopular decision would threaten the independence of the Judiciary.  See statement below or […]