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.

CPCS Annual Training Conference – May 16, 2017 February 17, 2017 - SAVE THE DATE:  The CPCS Annual Training Conference will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 8:00-5:00 at the DCU Center, 50 Foster Street, Worcester. Advance Registration is Required.
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    
Congratulations to the Essex County Bar Association Advocates June 21, 2017 - CPCS sent the following press release to Lawyers Weekly and the Essex County media outlets: The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) congratulates the Essex County Bar Association Advocates (ECBAA) led by Attorney David Hallinan in being named the 2017 recipient of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Harrison Tweed Award. This prestigious award recognizes the […]
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, […]
MBA Recognizes CPCS Attorney With 2017 Access to Justice Defender Award May 19, 2017 - On May 4, 2017, Public Defender Division Staff Attorney Rebecca Jacobstein received the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2017 Access to Justice Defender Award for her  work on behalf of clients affected by the misconduct of a state drug lab chemist in Western Massachusetts. Rebecca and her husband and mother were present at the MBA Annual Dinner to […]