MHLD Guardianship Certification Training  Spring 2022

Application deadline is January 18, 2022

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is accepting applications for a March 2022 Guardianship Certification Training. Successful completion of this training and participation in the MHLD mentorship program qualifies attorneys for inclusion on the Probate & Family Court lists to receive appointments as counsel for Adult Guardianship cases.

As the recent case and national conversation about Britney Spears’ conservatorship (called guardianship in Massachusetts) shows, a guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty that impacts all aspects of daily life. 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 choices that adults make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel to represent them in Probate Court. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of providing zealous, client-centered advocacy for some of the most marginalized 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 may be difficult to maintain a full workload while participating in this course, so please be mindful of the time commitment. We suggest you hold these dates open pending notification of acceptance to the training.

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

The live Zoom sessions will be held from 1:00-4:00 PM on March 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, and 18. Attorneys 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. While this training is rigorous, you will be well-prepared to defend your clients’ rights to the least restrictive infringement of their liberty.

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 will 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

 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.

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