Mental Health Training

Director: Miriam Ruttenberg

The Mental Health Litigation Division is committed to protecting the legal and constitutional rights of citizens facing civil commitment to mental hospitals, guardianship and involuntary treatment including the administration of anti-psychotic medications. We do this through four staffed offices and a panel of private attorneys. All of our attorneys receive training in issues relating to mental health and the statutory and constitutional rights of our clients. We also provide training to attorneys in other divisions in mental health issues.

UPDATE: CPCS Fall 2021 Training to Represent People Facing Civil Commitment and Related Forced Medication Petitions

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 some of the most misjudged and undervalued clients in the Commonwealth.

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 Friday, July 30, 2021.

For more information and application click link below:

Deadline Extended for Applications-Fall-2021-Commitment-Certification-Training


Mental Health CLE programs

CPCS CLE Submission Form (click to download form)

MHLD Approved Webinars for FY2021

*Please note: Below programs are presented by agencies outside of CPCS.   For CPCS sponsored CLE programs check out our calendar here

upcoming events:

December 2020

Date & Time Title CLE’s Links
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Trauma Informed Lawyering—Effects of Secondary Trauma on Attorneys and Advocates 1 CLE Register here
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 2:15 -3:15 pm MHA: How Culture and Race Can Impact Identifying and Treating Mental Health Conditions 1 CLE Register Here

January 2021

Date & Time Title CLE’s Links
Tuesday, January 12, 2021  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm NYAPRS: Understanding Loneliness & Social Isolation: Impacts on People and Society at Large in a Connected World 1 Register Here
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 2pm to 3:30 pm Accessible Justice Session 1: ATTORNEY’S DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE & ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS WHEN REPRESENTING A CLIENT LIVING WITH A DISABILITY 1.5 Register Here
Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 3pm to 4:30 pm SLL Evidence Webinar 1: Admissibility of Evidence From Personal Electronic Devices and Evidentiary Issues Involving Self-Represented Clients 1.5 Register Here
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 3pm to 4:30 pm SLL Evidence Webinar 2: The Confrontation Clause 1.5 Register Here
Thursday, January 21, 2021, 2pm to 3:30 pm Accessible Justice Session 2: ACCOMMODATIONS IN LITIGATION: THE DISCOVERY PROCESS 1.5 Register here
Friday, January 22, 2021, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm NYAPRS:  Winter Wellness Planning 1 Register Here
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 2pm to 3:30 pm Accessible Justice Session 3:  ACCOMMODATIONS IN LITIGATION: THE COURT PROCESS 1.5 Register Here
Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 3pm to 4:30 pm SLL Evidence Webinar 3: Documentary Evidence, Business Records and Significant Evidence Decisions 1.5 Register Here

February 2021

Date & Time Title CLE’s Links
Monday, February 1, 2021, 6pm to 7:30 pm DeeDee’s Cry Presents: Mental Health While Black Pt. 3 1.5 Register Here
Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 2pm to 3:30 pm Accesible Justice Session 4: ATTORNEYS LIVING WITH MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSES SPEAK ON ACCESSIBLE JUSTICE 1.5 Register Here 
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 11am to 12:30 pm Advancing Guardianship Reform Through Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) 1.5 Register Here
Thursday, February 18, 2021 6pm to 7pm Confronting Racial Injustice: Slavery, Wealth Creation, and Intergenerational Wealth 1 Register Here
Thursday, February 25th 4:30-6 PM Greater Newburyport Bar Association District Court Zoom Trials 1.5 Trial CLE Register Here

March 2021

Date & Time Title CLE’s Links
Friday, March 5, 2021    12:30 to 4:30 pm MCLE: Making Objections Workshop 2021 4 Trial CLE Register Here
Thursday, March 11, 2021  6pm to 7pm Confronting Racial Injustice: Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years 1 Register Here
Friday, March 12, 2021
11 am – 12 pm
Exploring the Science of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal 1 Register Here
Tuesday, March 16, 2021  3pm to 4:30 pm Working with Clients in Trauma: Serving Them, Protecting Yourself with Katharine Manning 1.5 Register Here
Saturday, March 20, 2021
9am to 5pm
Vinfen’s 14th Annual Moving Images Film Festival:
Adjusting the Lens: A Shift in Perspective
2 CLE Per film and live panel discussion REGISTER HERE
Thursday, March 25, 2021
2pm to 4pm
MCLE Free Webinar: Racial Disparities in the Massachusetts Criminal System 2 Register here

April 2021

Date Title CLE’s Links  
Thursday, April 15, 2021  6pm to 7pm Confronting Racial Injustice: Boston School Desegregation through the Rearview Mirror 1 Register Here
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
9:30 am to 4:30 pm
MCLE:  Direct & Cross Examination Skills Workshop 4 Trial Skills Register Here

May 2021

Date & Time Title CLE’s Links
Thursday, May 19, 2021  6pm to 7pm Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences 1 Register Here