Category Archives: front Mental Health

CPCS CERTIFICATION TRAINING TO REPRESENT PEOPLE FACING CIVIL COMMITMENT AND RELATED FORCED MEDICATION PETITIONS – FALL 2022

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent clients in civil commitment and forced medication cases in District and Boston Municipal Courts. In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months or a year, and treated with anti-psychotic medications against their wishes. These substantial deprivations of liberty entitle people to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected. Civil commitment cases offer frequent and fast-paced litigation experience, client contact, and the satisfaction of providing zealous client-centered advocacy to people who are marginalized because of their mental health challenges.

NEW INCENTIVE! CERTIFICATION PAYMENT: You will be eligible for a “Certification Payment” in the amount of $2,372.50 if you successfully complete the entire course, and within one year of completion you take at least ten (10) civil commitment cases and bill at least 200 hours.

Application Submission:

Admission to the MHLD trial panel is by application only. All attorneys who accept CPCS assignments are required to maintain professional liability insurance. Completed applications must be submitted by the new extended deadline of Monday, August 8, 2022. MHLD will notify applicants by August 19 whether they have been admitted to the training program and with further instructions about how to register. The link to our online application is at the end of this announcement.

Training Format and Requirements: Please review this carefully to make sure this format and the dates work for you considering your work/family/other obligations.

 

This intensive mini course is a fully remote training with a mix of live online (Zoom) sessions and substantial online learning through our learning management system (Talent LMS).

The live Zoom sessions will be held 1:00-4:00 PM on the following dates: September 13, 16, 20, 23, 30, and from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on October 4. Please note the time between the fourth and fifth sessions is longer than the others, and the last session is scheduled earlier in the day, to accommodate those who observe the High Holidays.

Attorneys accepted into the training must also complete a mock hearing for one half-day on either October 13, 14, 17, 18 (to be scheduled once the class registration is complete).

The online learning will include watching recorded lectures and other videos, reading articles and cases, and completing some quizzes and written assignments. Some of this work must be completed before the training begins; the rest must be done between the live sessions. You should expect up to 8-10 hours of this online work per week; this is in addition to the time in the live sessions. The live sessions include discussions and small group skills exercises that you prepare for in advance. The course concludes with a mock trial on Zoom where you will be able to practice what you learned in the first part of the course and get constructive feedback from experienced mental health attorneys before taking your first commitment case.

The registration fee for the training is $175*, 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.

Certification Requirements:

Certification Requirements:

Certification is based on successful completion of the training course, including all live sessions, all required materials in the learning management system, and a mock trial. Attorneys who have successfully completed the course training requirements are provisionally certified and assigned a mentor. Attorneys are expected to take at least three cases in their first six months on the panel and maintain an active mental health practice. During the period of the attorney’s provisional certification, the attorney must work cooperatively with the mentor as required by the MHLD Mentor Program requirements. The mentor will periodically report to the MHLD Trial Support Unit about the attorney’s progress towards full MHLD panel certification.

If you have any questions, please email MHLD Training Director Miriam Ruttenberg at mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net.

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO APPLY (no fee to submit application)

Note: to submit your application, you must press “Submit” at the bottom left-hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application in one sitting you may press the “Save” button, on the bottom right-hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application. Your application must be complete in order to be considered.

If you need reasonable accommodations in order to complete the application, please email mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net or call (617) 910-5782

*We do not want the cost of this training to be a barrier for interested attorneys who are dedicated to representing our clients against petitions for commitment and forced medication. If the cost of this training would be a financial hardship, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg when you submit your application to discuss a confidential fee waiver.

2022 MHLD Appellate Certification Training Applications Open

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

Qualifications:

Applicants must have the following minimum qualifications:

    • Demonstrated proficiency in legal research and writing
    • Demonstrated commitment to working on behalf of indigent individuals and/or people with disabilities

Desirable qualifications include:

    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:

 

Day 1 – Tuesday, March 29, 2022 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 2 – Friday, April 1, 2022 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 3 – Tuesday, April 5, 2022 from 9:00 – 12:30

Day 4 – Thursday, April 7, 2022 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 $175, 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:

To be considered, you must submit a completed application via e-mail to: ktalley@publiccounsel.net  by Friday, February 14, 2022. 

To download the full application, click here

Your application must include:

  1. Answers to all questions in the application
  2. A current resume;
  3. 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 ktalley@publiccounsel.net.

MHLD Guardianship Certification Training  Spring 2022

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is accepting applications for March 2022 Guardianship Certification Training  

Application deadline is January 18, 2022

A guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty – under guardianship an adult can no longer legally make their own decisions about many issues, including where to live, what medical treatment to accept or refuse, and other decisions people make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel. There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of providing zealous, client-centered advocacy for some of the most misunderstood and disempowered people in the Commonwealth.

Application Submission: Admission to the MHLD trial panel is by application only. All attorneys who accept CPCS assignments are required to maintain professional liability insurance. Completed applications must be submitted by Tuesday January 18, 2022. MHLD will notify applicants by early February whether they have been admitted to the training program. The link to our online application is at the end of this announcement.

Training Format and Requirements: Please review all information below carefully to make sure the format and dates work for you considering your work/family/other obligations. It will be difficult to maintain a full workload while participating in this course, so please be mindful of the required time commitment. We suggest you hold these dates open pending notification of acceptance to the training.

The fully remote certification training will be a mix of live Zoom sessions and substantial self-directed learning through our online learning management system (Talent LMS).

The live sessions will be held from 1:00-4:00 PM on March 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, and 18Attorneys accepted into the training must also complete a half-day mock hearing on one of the following dates: March 28, 29, 30, 31 (morning and afternoon options, to be scheduled once registration is complete).

The self-directed learning will include watching recorded lectures and other videos, reading articles and cases, and completing written assignments and preparing for skills work. There will be brief pre-work before the training begins; the rest will be done in between the live sessions. You should expect 8-10 hours of this self-directed work per week, in addition to the live sessions. The live sessions include discussions and small group skills exercises that you prepare for in advance. The course concludes with a mock trial on Zoom where you will be able to practice what you learned in the first part of the course and get constructive feedback from experienced mental health attorneys before taking your first guardianship case.

The cost of the training is $175, which includes all materials. After receiving confirmation that you have been accepted into the training, you will receive registration and payment instructions.

Certification Requirements: Certification is based on successful completion of the training course, including all live sessions, all required materials in the learning management system, and a mock trial. Attorneys who have successfully completed the course training requirements are provisionally certified and assigned a mentor. Attorneys are expected to take at least three cases in their first six months on the panel and maintain an active mental health practice. During the period of the attorney’s provisional certification, the attorney must work cooperatively with the mentor as required by the MHLD Mentor Program requirements. The mentor will periodically report to the MHLD Trial Support Unit about the attorney’s progress towards full MHLD panel certification.

If you have any questions or need reasonable accommodations to complete the application, please email mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net

 

Spring 2022 Guardianship Certification Application (no fee to submit application)

Note: to submit your application, you must press Submit at the bottom left-hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application in one sitting you may press the Save button, on the bottom right-hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.

April 2021 MHLD News

Kudos to Miriam, Beau & everyone who contributed to the MHLD Newsletter April 2021

  • Interesting, informative and helpful.

  • Here are the headlines:

  • Upcoming Webinars – check them out on the Training Page
  • Why Race Matters Speaker Series: We encourage you to register for the April 26th session on the Harvard Study on Racism in the Criminal Justice System. There will be MHLD-specific breakout sessions on how to raise and litigate racial bias in mental health cases.
  • April is National “Minority” Health Month – Resources to keep you informed
  • CDC Declares Racism a Serious Public Health Threat
  • Resources for Culturally Responsive Behavioral Health
  • Research Shows Neurological and Psychiatric Outcomes from COVID article from Lancet
  • Recent SJC Arguments by the Appellate Unit
  • April 5 In the Matter of K.I. “Impounded Case” SJC-13081
  • April 9 In the Matter of P.R. “Impounded Case” SJC-13068
  • To watch the arguments, go to the Suffolk/SJC archive page: https://boston.suffolk.edu/sjc/archive.php
  • New Attorneys Joining the Guardianship Panel after completing certification training. Thanks to all who helped

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

Qualifications:

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 ktalley@publiccounsel.net 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 ktalley@publiccounsel.net.

 

Do you want to protect the civil rights of people with psychiatric challenges and hone or develop valuable trial skills? The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for our Fall 2020 Civil Commitment Certification Training!

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months or a year, and treated with anti-psychotic medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles people to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected. Civil commitment cases offer frequent litigation experience, client contact, and the satisfaction of providing zealous client-centered advocacy to some of the most vulnerable clients in the Commonwealth.

During the COVID-19 pandemic civil commitment petitions and petitions to treat are still being filed and trials are still being held, although telephonically or by videoconference for now as courts slowly re-open for in-person hearings.

Because we cannot meet in person during the pandemic, we have developed an online certification course. This course features new and improved content including asynchronous readings, videos, and short assignments which you do on your own at your own pace, combined with live Zoom sessions including Q & A, discussions, and small group skills exercises. The course concludes with a mock trial on Zoom where you will be able to practice what you learned in the first part of the course and get constructive feedback from experienced mental health attorneys before taking your first commitment case.

Program Details and Time Commitment

This first part of the certification course will begin with a live opening plenary session on Friday October 16, 2020 and conclude on November 6, 2020. The second part of the course is half-day mock trials, to be scheduled during the week of November 16-20.

The breakdown of the expected time commitment is as follows:

  • Viewing online lectures, readings, short videos, and other materials, and completing short assignments: approximately eight hours/week for the full weeks
  • Participation in seven live Zoom lectures/small group discussions/skills breakout sessions for 90 minutes each on Fridays (morning/mid-day) and Tuesdays (afternoon) (10/16; 10/20; 10/23; 10/27; 10/30; 11/3; and 11/6) (exact times TBD)
  • One session of half-day mock trials, to be scheduled as outlined above

You must complete the entire course and attend all live Zoom sessions to be certified to the Mental Health Litigation Division panel.

The deadline for applications is September 14, 2020. The cost of the training is $150 upon registration if you are accepted. In addition to the online course you will receive a copy of the newly revised 7th edition of the MCLE Mental Health Proceedings in Massachusetts: A Manual for Defense Counsel (2020). We will notify everyone of acceptance status after September 14th; please allow up to ten (10) days after the application deadline before inquiring about status.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO APPLY (no fee to apply)

Note: to submit your application, you must press Submit at the bottom left hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application in one sitting you may press the Save button, on the bottom right hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Online Certification Training or for questions about the application, please contact Beau Kealy at akealy@publiccounsel.net or 617-910-5714

CPCS CLE Requirement – Emergency Policy Change – Fiscal Year 2020 Only

Dear Private Attorneys,

We hope you and your families are well during this difficult time.  Due to exceptional circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 virus, CPCS is waiving the Continuing Legal Education hours requirement for all units for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020.)

Although we have waived the CLE requirements, we encourage you to attend webinars that are relevant to your practice area to support your professional development.  The CPCS training unit will post offerings for webinars soon. Please see the CPCS Training Department Website.

You may still be paid for eight (8) hours of training if you meet the attendance and payment requirements.

Additionally, Panel Directors may offer credit for webinars that are not sponsored by CPCS.  Please contact the Panel Director for your practice area to determine whether you may get credit and bill for attendance at a webinar not sponsored by CPCS.

We hope that we will be returning to offering in-person training in the later part of the Spring (all in person CPCS training has been cancelled through April 30, 2020), and look forward to seeing you then.

The CPCS Training Department and Panel Directors

 

DO YOU WANT TO PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE FACING GUARDIANSHIP PETITIONS? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL AND REPRESENT RESPONDENTS IN PROBATE COURT.

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to the spring 2020 Guardianship Certification Training.

A guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty – under guardianship the person can no longer legally make their own decisions about many issues, including where to live, what medical treatment to accept or refuse, and other decisions adults make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel. There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the some of the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.

This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on March 16, 19, 20 (8:45 a.m. to 5:00 each day) and March 31, 2020. March 31st will be mock trials (schedule to be determined depending on number of accepted applicants).

The deadline to apply is February 10, 2020. There is no cost to apply, but the cost of the training upon registration is $125.00. Applicants must be accepted into the program in order to register. We will notify everyone of acceptance status after February 10, 2020; please allow up to ten (10) days after the application deadline before inquiring about status.

Note that it is expected that you will promptly commence your mental health practice and to take at least one mental health case within six (6) months of successful completion of this certification program.

Please click here to apply

In order to submit your application you must press Submit at the bottom left hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application at one time you may press the Save button, on the bottom right hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Guardianship Certification Training or for questions about the application, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782 or mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net

Appeals Court: Hearsay Not Enough to Revoke Probation

A juvenile should not have had their probation revoked based entirely “on unreliable hearsay testimony from a Department of Children and Families case worker,” the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled. 

During an Oct. 2, 2017 probation revocation hearing, a DCF case worker testified that the juvenile was not cooperating with the department and “ha[d] broken all the rules,” according to the decision.

However, the case worker was not assigned to the juvenile’s case when the alleged violations occurred. The case worker also admitted that his testimony was entirely based on conversations with a third party and notes from the juvenile’s DCF case file.

“This case is a simple case of classic, multiple-level, hearsay,” said Benjamin L. Falkner, a Committee for Public Counsel Services bar advocate, during oral arguments in March. “It does not come close to meeting the requirements of being substantially reliable.”

The Appeals Court agreed, and on Tuesday reversed a lower court judge’s order revoking probation and imposing a sentence on the juvenile.

“We … conclude that the testimony from the case worker lacked the ‘indicia of reliability’ required to support finding that the juvenile violated his probation,” Appeals Court Justice Edward McDonough wrote. “Significantly, the case worker’s testimony lacked the requisite factual detail.”

HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC CHALLENGES – APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION COMMITMENT PANEL!

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its Fall 2019 Civil Commitment Certification Training.

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months, and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles these clients to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected.

This certification training will be held in Worcester on October 16, 17, and 18 (all day), and on October 29, 2019 (this last day will be a mock trial; you will be scheduled for either the morning or afternoon session, to be determined).

Please complete the application here:

The application deadline is September 6, 2019. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.

For more information or questions about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782 or mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net.