General Information

  1. Is CPCS responsible for all court cases where the client is indigent?

No. Please click on the following link for information regarding our scope of legal services:

http://www.publiccounsel.net/private_counsel_manual/CURRENT_MANUAL_2010/Ch.1.pdf

  1. Once I am approved and certified to accept cases, how will I know when the court issues an assignment?

Most of the courts issue assignments by entering the docket number and your attorney information into the states MASSCOURT system daily. CPCS receives a nightly file containing all assignments entered for that day and the next day we add those assignment records to our file. When we receive an assignment (or assignments) for you from MASSCOURT, we will issue a notice to your Ebill account (and add these assignments to your Ebill list.) This is the only notice that you will receive regarding the assignment, and will contain the Notice of Assignment of Counsel (NAC) number that you need for billing. The notice may contain more multiple assignments and assignment numbers. We recommend that you login to your Ebill notices daily, print the assignment notice and file it in your clients file. These assignments start with the letter “D”.

It is possible that you could receive a notification of assignment and notification of rejection on the same day. Therefore it is important to review all of your Ebill notices daily.

Some court’s and some cases, require a multipart paper assignment form. The forms are completed and signed at the court, and the clerk will give you a copy. These assignments start with the letter “C”.

  1. What is a fiscal year?

The state’s fiscal year runs from 7/1 through and including 6/30.

  1. I have a case that needs the services of an expert, how do I find one?

First- contact our Forensic Resource Division for information regarding the best type of expert for your particular case: 617-988-8337 or 671-988-8472.

Once you have the name of the expert, please email: vendorinfo@publiccounsel.net  to determine if the expert is already a state vendor on file with CPCS. If the expert is not already in our file, you will be advised regarding needed the process and paperwork needed to get them established. Failure to use a vetted expert could result in denial of payment of expert services. Prior to this process it is advisable to obtain and estimate of cost from the expert and request an allowed motion from the court. An allowed motion is required for payment of all experts.

  1. Does CPCS have set hourly rates for specific expert categories?

Yes, the rates, and important expert billing information, can be found at the following link:

http://www.publiccounsel.net/billing_information/expert_qualifications_and_rates/pdf/Expert.pdf

 

Vendor Setup/Maintenance Information

  1. I am currently in private practice but I am interested in representing indigent clients through The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS).  Where do I start?

CPCS represents indigent clients in District Court, Superior Court, Criminal appeals, Juvenile Delinquency, Youthful Offender, Family Law, Mental Health and SORB cases. Each of these practice areas has different requirements and training. For information regarding the requirements for a specific area of practice please consult the following link:

http://www.publiccounsel.net/private_counsel_manual/CURRENT_MANUAL_2014/MANUALChap3-Revised%201-15-14.pdf

  1. How do I obtain the forms needed to become a state vendor?

Please send an email to vendorinfo@publiccounsel.net , and specify that you are seeking the new attorney vendor forms.

  1. How do I change the remittance address I have on file with the State Comptroller?

Please print and complete this form:

http://www.mass.gov/osc/docs/forms/vendorcustomer/newmass-w9.pdf

Mail (it has to be mailed) with a letter requesting an address change to:

Vendor Maintenance
Committee for Public Counsel Services
44 Bromfield St., 4th floor
Boston, MA 02114

The State Comptroller requires that your legal address match the address that you use to file your taxes.

  1. How do I change the bank account I have on file with the state comptroller?

Please print and complete this form:

https://massfinance.state.ma.us/VendorWeb/EFT_FORM.pdf

And mail it, with a cancelled check attached, to:

Vendor Management
Committee for Public Counsel Services,
44 Bromfield St.
Boston, MA 02114

Please check with your institution first to ensure that they are able to accept direct deposits.

 

Notice of Assigned Counsel (NAC) Information

  1. Why can’t I see my ‘C” paper assignments on my Ebill list of assignments?

Since “C” assignments are not automated there is no way for them to automatically appear on the Ebill list. You need to start your first bill by entering the complete assignment number.

  1. What do I do when I receive a notice that an assignment rejected?

When an assignment rejects a letter is mailed to you. If you disagree with the rejection, please follow the directions in the letter. It will include the steps necessary to be taken to appeal the rejection and where you should submit the appeal.

  1. How do I request that a specific case be reopened for billing?

Please send an email to: cbradford@publiccounsel.net
Include the client’s name, the complete assignment number (not the docket number) and the reason for your request.

  1. Does closing a NAC number remove it from my Ebill list of NACs?

Yes, when you close a NAC it is removed from your list.

  1. I recently requested that CPCS reopen a NAC number, and I received a notice that is was reopened but I why don’t I see it on my Ebill list of NACs?

When we reopen a NAC you will receive an email that it has been reopened, and the reopened NAC will then reappear on your list for your selection. You may have to scroll down the list to find the NAC since only ten assignment numbers are displayed at one time.

  1. My client was surrendered, how do I reopen the original assignment?

CPCS requires that the court issue a new assignment when there is probation surrender/violation.

  1. The Date of Assignment is incorrect on the NAC, how do I change this?

The court enters the data, and our system will issue a NAC based on the data. Therefore, you must inform the court of the error, they will make the necessary correction and our system will reissue the NAC with the correct date.  However, it is important to note that the court use the date of assignment rather than date of appointment.

  1. The court issued one NAC for multiple dockets with separate charges, how can I receive separate NACS for billing purposes?

Our system issues one NAC for multiple dockets when it is the same attorney, same court, same assignment date and same client.   This reduces your case load which will allow you to take extra cases.

  1. Question: The court issued several NACS for siblings. Would you be able to merge them, so that I can bill all of my time for the cases under one NAC?

NACs issued for siblings can be consolidated.   Send an email to ebill@publiccounsel.net with all of the NAC numbers, and indicate which NAC number you would like to use for billing.    All of the NACs will be merged under this NAC.

  1. Question: Several of my Children and Family Law (CAFL) cases are now closed, although I never closed them. How can I get these cases reopened?

Members of the CAFL unit from time to time will close cases which are opened but inactive for some time. Email our CAFL Unit at caflattorney@publiccounsel.net with your request to reopen the cases.

 

Ebill Information

  1. I submitted an interim bill a few weeks ago and now Ebill won’t accept another interim bill, am I doing something wrong?

Monthly billing is limited to one interim bill per NAC number per month. Once an interim bill for a NAC is submitted, another interim bill cannot be submitted until the following month. If dates for a particular month have been inadvertently omitted, those dates may be included with the following month’s bill, as long as the dates do not cross fiscal years.

  1. Does CPCS limit the number of hours that I can bill in a year?

Please see Chapter 5, Section 17, page 16 of the Assigned Counsel Manual for the yearly billing limit.

http://www.publiccounsel.net/assigned-counsel-manual/

  1. Does CPCS limit the number of hours that I can bill in a day?

Please see Chapter 5, Section 19, page 19 of the Assigned Counsel Manual for the daily billing limit.

http://www.publiccounsel.net/assigned-counsel-manual/

  1. Can I bill for waiting time?

Attorneys can bill for up to one hour per day, not per case. For more information please see Section 24 D. page 23, of the Assigned Counsel Manual.

http://www.publiccounsel.net/publiccounsel.net/private_counsel_manual/private_counsel_manual_index.html

  1. I can’t navigate to other menus once I log into Ebill, how can I resolve this?

Once you review all unread Ebill notices, you will be able to progress to other menu options.

 

Billing Information

  1. What are the CPCS attorney billing deadlines and the penalties for missing deadlines?

Year End bills that include dates of service rendered 7/1 through 6/30 must be submitted on or before 7/31 of the current fiscal year.

Please note: Ebill allows you to bill twice on a case in the month of June: one interim bill and one End of Year bill. As appropriate, you may also submit a case closed bill in June (note that interim and End of Year bills may not be submitted after the submission of a case closed bill). You are limited to one FY End of Year bill; it is your choice whether this bill is submitted in June or July.

Year End and Interim bills that include dates of service rendered 7/1 through 6/30 that are submitted from 8/1through 8/31 of the current fiscal year are subject to a 10% reduction.

Year End and Interim bills that include dates of service rendered 7/1 through 6/30 that are submitted after 8/31 of the current fiscal year will be rejected.

Case Closed bills must be received within 60 days of the last date of service listed on the bill or be reduced by 10%

Case Closed bills received more than 90 days after the last date of billable service will be rejected. The last date of service billed on a Case Closed bill is recognized by CPCS as the date the case concluded.

In accordance with G.L. c. 211D, § 12, the above dates apply whether or not they occur on a Saturday, or Sunday.

Please note: Although the billing limit is usually one bill per month per NAC, during the months of July and August you can file the current fiscal year-end bill and the new fiscal years interim or closed bill on the same NAC in the same month if necessary. Previously noted penalties apply for late submissions.

  1. How do I request reimbursement for an out-of-pocket case related cost?

Private attorneys should use the Ebill program and enter an “Other Type” voucher for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses for a specific case. Prior to requesting reimbursement it is assumed that you have already paid directly for the product or service and you can provide a receipt, or invoice and legitimate proof of payment. Multiple expenses for the same case can be billed on one voucher. “Other Type” vouchers are subject to the same billing deadlines as legal services bills. For additional information, please review the Ebill manual.

IMPORTANT:

E-bill vouchers for out-of-pocket expenses that total $50 or less do not need to be mailed to CPCS for payment consideration. However, they should be printed, signed and maintained in the case file with receipts and proof of payment attached.

E-bill vouchers for out-of-pocket expenses that total more than $50, must be printed, signed and mailed to CPCS with receipts and proof of payment attached in order to be considered for payment. A copy should be retained for your records

 

Payment Information

  1. Regarding the payment of Ebill Vouchers, why aren’t my small expenses paid as quickly as the larger ones?

CPCS pays a fee to the State Comptroller’s office for every payment transaction. In order to minimize the charge, we accrue attorney request for reimbursements until they reach $50. Once they total $50 or more they are consolidated and paid.

  1. When does CPCS submit attorney bills to the Comptroller’s Office for payment?

CPCS submits legal bills for payment twice monthly. All bills that have been received in good order by the 15th of the month will be processed and forwarded to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) for payment within 7 business days of the 15th. If the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday during the next transmission of bills to OSC, we will include all bills received in good order through 11:59 p.m. of the next business day.

All bills received in good order between the 16th and the last day of the month will be processed and forwarded to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) for payment within 7 business days of the last day of the month. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, during the next transmission of bills to OSC, we will include all bills received in good order through 11:59 p.m. of the next business day.

If the date of expected CPCS transmission to OSC falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, the bills will be transmitted before 5 p.m. of the next business day.

Please know that the CPCS bill payment policy is not the same as the CPCS bill submittal policy, and it does not change the monthly billing policy; which does not allow the submission of more than one interim bill per assignment number (NAC) per month.

  1. When does the State Comptroller’s Office issue payment?

OSC issues payment within 3 to 5 business days (this schedule is subject to available funding.)

  1. Where can I see the payments that the OSC issued?

You can find this information on the State Comptrollers website, Vendor Web:

https://massfinance.state.ma.us/VendorWeb/vendor.asp?login=1

You need your state vendor code and the last four numbers of your tax identification number in order to log in. There is a lapse of at least 3 business days between when we submit bills for payment and when they appear on the Comptroller’s website. You can also access a copy of your 1099 (also issued by OSC) for the last two calendar years.