Monthly Archives: January 2021

Committee Meeting Agenda – January 21, 2021 Meeting

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.  Registration is required.

  • Approval of minutes of the December 17, 2020 meeting
  • Audit and Oversight Overview
  • Commitments $10,000 and Over Report
  • Monthly Financial Overview Report
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Chief Counsel Report

Registration is required to join the meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

CPCS Attorneys Selected for BBA Leadership Program

Two Committee for Public Counsel Services public defenders have been selected to participate in the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program.

Jim Barakat

Jim Barakat, with the Children and Family Law Division’s Brockton office, and Schuyler Daum, with the Public Defender Division’s Quincy office, will be part of an impressive class of attorneys who will participate in the 10-month program. The Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) is geared toward promoting civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession, and the Commonwealth.

“Being a public defender, and advocate for the indigent, I hope to gain insight and implement ideas that my private firm counterparts have in regard to executing public interest initiatives, but I also hope to meaningfully add to the discussion by bringing my own ideas to the table,” Barakat said. “I hope to raise awareness of what CPCS does, advocate for the population we assist, and lift the voices of our clients during the PILP meetings at the BBA over the next year.

This selective program attracts a diverse group of attorneys who have graduated law school within the last 10 years and have demonstrated a commitment to pro bono and public service.

Schuyler Daum

“I’m excited to join the Public Interest Leadership Program to develop a new toolkit with which to fight for justice in the criminal legal system,” Daum said.

This year’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) will be in a virtual format and has been designed to provide leadership and professional development training across key areas, including effective organizational leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion, pro bono engagement, and board service.

Mental Health Litigation Division Appellate Panel Certification Training

Committee for Public Counsel Services
Mental Health Litigation Division
Appeals Unit

January 2021

The Mental Health Litigation Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is now accepting applications for the Mental Health Litigation Division (“MHLD”) Appellate Panel Certification Training


Applicants must have the following minimum qualifications:

(i)        Demonstrated proficiency in legal research and writing; and

(ii)       At least one of the following:

      1. Two years of mental health trial experience;
      2. Primary authorship of two or more appellate briefs in other practice areas;
      3. A recent appellate clerkship, substantial editing experience for a law journal, or publication of a law journal article.

Admission into the training is based on qualifications and current availability of mentors, such that not all applicants who meet minimum qualifications will be admitted.

Required Training:

Admitted applicants must attend the virtual MHLD appellate training program that includes live (synchronous) Zoom sessions on the following dates, as well as completion of asynchronous assignments in between live sessions:

Training Orientation- Thursday, February 18, 2021 from 3:45 – 5:00

Day 1 – Monday, February 22, 2021 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 2 – Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 3 – Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 4 – Tuesday, March 9, 2021 from 9:00 – 12:30

Note that the total time commitment will approximate that of previous live trainings, i.e. approx.   21 hours.

The registration fee for the training is $150, which includes all materials. Please do not submit payment until after receiving confirmation that you have been accepted into the training, at which point you will receive payment and registration instructions.

Application Submission Instructions:

Please click here to download the application.

To be considered, you must submit a completed application via e-mail to by January 22, 2021. 

Your application must include:

(i)        Answers to all questions in the application

(ii)        A current resume;

(iii)        Two writing samples totaling no more than 100 pages.  If you are submitting a              brief, please include the entire brief, including the cover page and tables of                     contents and authorities.  If your samples include the name or work of other              attorneys, you must identify the portions you wrote and explain whether                     anyone else edited your work.

Further Information:

For further information regarding the appellate panel certification process, please contact Karen Talley at



As you may have already seen, the state – responding to a joint request from CPCS and the Massachusetts Bar Association – has added defense attorneys and other “court system workers” to Phase 2 of the vaccination priority list. The decision to add defense attorneys to the Phase 2 designation came over the weekend in response to a joint letter (See: Attached) we sent to Gov. Charlie Baker on Jan. 6.

We appreciate that the governor and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services quickly responded to our request. We also owe a debt of gratitude to MBA leadership, which continues to support the work that we do, and was ready and willing to stand with us as we made this request.

More information about the vaccine priority list can be found here. We are seeking more clarifying information from HHS and the governor’s office, including: the full list of defense attorneys and support staff involved in Phase 2 and where we fall on the priority list once the state enters the Phase 2 portion of the priority list. As of now, it is anticipated that Phase 2 distribution will occur during February and March. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available.

In seeking Phase 2 designation, our letter to the governor and HHS pointed out that defense attorneys and our supporting professionals both help maintain the critical infrastructure necessary to the ongoing operation of the judicial system to assure public safety. We also noted the enormous backlog of cases, and the fact that defense attorneys and supporting professionals must be ready to enter courthouses, jails and prisons as soon as possible to facilitate the operation of the judicial system.

It is clear that the state took our concerns seriously. Once again, I want to thank the MBA for its guidance and support in this ever-important campaign.

I look forward to providing more information as it comes in. Until then, stay safe, and thank you for all of the hard work you put in on behalf of our clients.

Anthony J. Benedetti
Chief Counsel
Committee for Public Counsel Services