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.

CAFL Accepting Applications for Mentor Positions in all Counties August 2, 2016 - 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 […]
Reunification Day Celebration State holds first “Reunification Day Celebration” in Berkshire County July 21, 2016 - On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, for the first time in Berkshire County, local agencies hosted a Reunification Day Celebration to recognize the reunification of families after separation through the child welfare system.  This event was hosted by Berkshire Children & Families, the Department of Children and Families, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services – […]
Another Huge Loss in the Indigent Defense Community July 5, 2016 - Bob Spangenberg – taken in 2011 when he joined the faculty at Boston University Law School Sad news as another giant from the indigent defense world has passed away.  Robert (Bob) Spangenberg, who spent a lifetime working to improve access to counsel for the poor in criminal and civil cases died late last month at […]
Recognition Well-Deserved – Atty. Anne Goldbach Receives the 2016 MACDL Clarence Gideon Award June 23, 2016 - On June 14, 2016, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) presented our colleague, Atty. Anne C. Goldbach, with the Clarence Gideon Award, an honor not awarded every year, but presented to only those worthy to be recognized as champions of the noblest principle that all persons shall stand equal before the law.  
Massachusetts Has Lost An Indigent Defense Giant June 22, 2016 - Gerry Schaefer surrounded by old colleagues at the CPCS 25th Anniversary Party in 2009. Attorney Gerry Schaefer, former head of the Massachusetts Defender Committee (MDC), passed away earlier this month at his home in Easthampton, MA.  Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Gerry, I’ve heard many heartfelt and remarkable stories from long time […]
High School Suspensions Cost The Country $35 Billion Annually, Report Estimates June 3, 2016 - When students get suspended from school for a few days, they may not be the only ones who miss out.  A report released by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project tries for the first time to quantify the full social cost of so-called “exclusionary discipline.” Here is the link to the story on NPR.