CPCS’s Youth Advocacy Division is so happy to announce that Maryellen Cuthbert has been awarded the ABA Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award.
Maryellen’s service to the solo practitioners and children of Middlesex County Massachusetts is heroic and legendary. Maryellen Cuthbert has spent over three decades in private practice as a tireless fighter for the rights of the indigent in both criminal and civil cases. She is a member of eight CPCS panels, including the Superior Court, Youthful Offender, and Children and Family Law panels, and she has demonstrated remarkable creativity, courage, and tenacity in fighting for her clients’ rights and needs, not only in the courtroom, but also in their lives.
Maryellen was among the original five Juvenile Delinquency/Youthful Offender Regional Coordinators in Massachusetts, providing extensive training, mentoring, and supervision to juvenile defense attorneys in the private bar. Since 2007, she has been a Juvenile Supervising Attorney in Middlesex County, where she also serves as a Resource Attorney to the private bar. As Juvenile Supervising Attorney, Maryellen has developed training materials and programs for both the public and private counsel divisions, and she has frequently taught at MCLE, the Suffolk Law School’s Annual Trainings, CPCS sponsored events, and local school groups. She also serves as a liaison to the judges, courthouse staff, community programs, the public and private bar, the bar advocate program, YAD and CPCS.
At a recent MBA Conference, in response to a question from the audience as to what UTEC (United Teen Equity Center) looks for in a lawyer, the UTEC Street Workers and Staff replied simply, “Maryellen Cuthbert.” They went on to describe how Maryellen responds to their calls at all hours, any day of the week; she has driven out to meet with clients in the middle of the night when alerted to issues involving a new incident or arrest, and she has stayed with them until the issue is resolved. Thanks to her, young people have been inspired to turn their lives around; not only does she provide top-notch legal skills, but her dedication to her clients has often motivated them to complete their education, hold down a job, and stay off the streets. She has lead by example and taught her attorneys to do the same.
She is also an outstanding trial attorney – a fighter and a winner – often trying back-to-back cases to juries with excellent results. In 2017, she represented a juvenile in an OUI case; when her motion to suppress was denied, she paid her way to attend an appeals training in New Orleans, and upon her return, she appealed, re-wrote her motion, and won the case for her client. Another client’s case was transferred to Superior Court this year; Maryellen preserved all of the issues for appeal, and then went on to win the jury trial in Superior Court.
As a solo practitioner since 1984, Maryellen has developed a wealth of experience trying cases at all levels, and she has used her talent and experience to assist in developing policy proposals for juvenile justice. She also serves as a Board Member of the Middlesex Defense Attorneys, Inc., as a member of the Juvenile Delinquency Advisory Committee in Massachusetts.
Maryellen also has a flair for making legal trainings for the bar she supervises informative, fun, and tasty. Her trainings at her home are legendary – she brings the entire community of private and public attorneys, judges, and other professionals into her home for outstanding trainings and equally mind-blowing meals. She also manages to squeeze trainings into every available hour of the day – her 1-hour “brown bag” trainings on specific legal issues usually include her provision of enough pizza, salad, and dessert to feed the entire county.
Maryellen works around the clock, and for her lifetime, not only to provide her own clients with cutting-edge representation, but also to ensure that all attorneys in Massachusetts have access to her as a resource, as a colleague, and as a leader in the community. We are extremely lucky to have her, and we are very proud of her.
We are extremely lucky to have Maryellen as a comrade, leader, and coach for all of us who aspire to improve the quality of representation to youth in Massachusetts and throughout the country.