Monthly Archives: January 2020

Roxbury Defender Receives Community Leadership Award

Roxbury Defender Kristyn Henry received an award from the North Shore Black Women’s Association for being a community leader.

Kristyn Henry, a trial attorney with the Roxbury Defenders Unit, was honored by the North Shore Black Women’s Association for being a community leader who exemplifies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “ideals, passion and commitment to service.”

Henry received the award during the NSBWA’s 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon on Saturday afternoon in Malden.

“My clients are poor, marginalized, unfairly targeted, and live in areas that are significantly over policed,” Henry said during her acceptance speech. “But my clients are also strong men and women, hard workers, immigrants, influencers, mothers, fathers, and so much more than the statistics and categories where they are regularly placed.”

Since becoming a public defender, Henry has dedicated her practice to representing people of color, immigrants, and young people who otherwise cannot afford counsel.

“As an attorney, I know that there are much higher paying and more prestigious jobs that I could have,” she said. “But I chose to be a public defender and I love what I do. I chose to exclusively represent the indigent population in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.”

Outside of court, Henry has been a mentor to young people within her community; including high school students, college students, paralegals, and law students; through various internships, mentorship programs, and work-study programs. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at Northshore Community College where she teaches various courses in its Paralegal Studies program.

“As a professor I have been blessed to have the opportunity to meet so many young people who are interested in some aspect of the legal field,” she said. “I challenge them to do better than me, do better than the attorneys before me. Because I truly believe that we all have the capacity to change the world: One small step at a time.”

Henry said she is proud of her Guyanese heritage and culture, and understands how being a young woman of color from a family of immigrants puts her in a unique position to connect with many of her clients on a meaningful level.

“Years ago, there is no way that I would be standing here before you today as a young black woman attorney and professor,” she said. “But the progress we have made is not enough. There is still so much racism, prejudice, inequality, and injustice in our communities and I believe that it is our duty, my duty, to continue to put forth my greatest effort to make change, no matter how small.”

Henry is an active member of the Massachusetts Black Lawyer’s Association, the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. She holds a Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, FL where she received a Governor’s scholarship.

Do you want to help children and parents in crisis? Apply for our Springfield training!

For the last few years, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has intervened in lives of Massachusetts families at an alarming rate. Most of these families cannot afford to hire attorneys. Fortunately, in Massachusetts there is a right to counsel for parents and children in state intervention cases. Unfortunately, there are not enough certified attorneys who have the time and training to zealously represent all these families in need.  The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is inviting members of the private bar to apply for admission to the CAFL Trial Panel.  We are looking to increase the number of attorneys handling state intervention cases (typically referred to as “care and protection” or “termination of parental rights” cases) in the Massachusetts Juvenile Court. Because the shortage is most acute in western Massachusetts, we are particularly interested in applicants who are able to accept CAFL appointments in those courts.

Attorneys who are interested in pursuing this opportunity can find more information about the training and the link to submit your application here.

Here is some information that might help attorneys decide whether they are interested in joining this panel of litigators.

  1. Certification Training – We will be presenting a training in Springfield beginning March 30, 2020. Successful completion of the training will enable attorneys to be certified to accept assignments in state intervention cases. The training will take place on March 30-31, April 6-7, and April 13-14. Because this is New England, we have reserved April 2 as a snow date! One-day mock hearings will be scheduled on April 28, 29 and 30, 2020. If selected, participants must keep all three mock hearing dates open until assigned to a specific date and place for the mock hearing. The mock hearings will be located throughout the state. The training will be open to attorneys of all levels of experience, but trial experience is preferred.
  2. Assignment – Care and Protection/Termination of Parental Rights cases begin, most often, with a petition being filed ex parte by the Department of Children and Families. The attorney’s responsibilities for the case begin immediately upon assignment, as he or she must prepare for a potential emergency custody hearing to take place within 72 hours of any ex parte order (the “72-hour hearing”). These cases frequently continue to be court involved for 15 months or more. Children Requiring Assistance cases (or status offenses) are usually concluded within 15 months.
  3. Compensation – Private attorneys are paid at the rate of $55/hour for their work on Care and Protection/Termination of Parental Rights cases.
  4. Expectations Regarding Performance – Attorneys are required to abide by CAFL’s performance standards and meet other requirements set forth in CPCS’s Assigned Counsel Manual, found at
  5. Support – Each new member of CAFL’s private attorney panel is assigned a mentor. The mentor is available to support the attorney for the first couple of years of practice, to introduce the attorney to court personnel and others, to assist in learning local practices, to attend initial court hearings, and to provide other support and assistance.

CPCS is committed to ensuring that the panel of attorneys accepting CAFL assignments is sensitive to the diversity of the client population it serves.  We will give preference to attorneys who commit to practicing in western Massachusetts and to attorneys who submit completed applications by Friday, February 14, 2020.  We encourage interested attorneys to apply early and not wait until the deadline.




Committee Meeting Agenda – January 16, 2020 Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes of the December 18, 2019 meeting
  2. Amicus Requests:
    1. Commonwealth v. Long, SJC-12868
    2. Commonwealth v. Rambert, 2018-P-1282
    3. Commonwealth v. J.S., A Juvenile, 2019-P-1645
    4. Four Co-Defendant Cases:  SJ-2019-0511; SJC-0513; SJ-2019-0512; SJ-2019-0510
    5. Commonwealth v. Bohigian, SJC-12858 (Reporting Only)
  3. Monthly Financial Overview Report
  4. Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  5. Chief Counsel Report

Calendar Year 2020 Committee Meeting Dates

All meetings will being at 5:30 p.m. in the CPCS Conference Rooms at 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA.  The meetings will be held on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening as noted.

January 16 (Thursday)
February 19 (Wednesday)
February 25 (Tuesday)
March 19 (Thursday)
April 16 (Thursday)
May 20 (Wednesday)
June 17 (Wednesday)
July 15 (Wednesday)
September 16 (Wednesday)
October 14 (Wednesday)
November 18 (Wednesday)
December 16 (Wednesday)