“America’s heavy reliance on juvenile incarceration is unique among the world’s developed nations.”

YAD’s experienced directors, staff, bar advocate panels, social service and education advocates, and administrative staff, are working to challenge and change that scenario in Massachusetts – one case at a time.


The Youth Advocacy Division (YAD) ensures that every child from an indigent family in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation that incorporates a Youth Development Approach, resulting in fair treatment in court.

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Working conjunctively as a team, YAD staff attorneys, juvenile defense private panel, social workers, and support staff provide comprehensive services; advocating in the courts, schools, and communities to develop strategies for our clients to achieve long-term success by:

  • Providing legal advocacy in court and at school;
  • Advocating for alternatives to detention and confinement;
  • Assessing the needs and strengths of clients;
  • Using trauma-informed and Positive Youth Development models to create holistic service plans;
  • Building active and productive community partnerships to ensure seamless access to needed services;
  • Supporting youth throughout the court process and beyond; and
  • Connecting youth to a network of positive and supportive adults and programs.

YAD provides leadership, training, support, and oversight to a diverse and collaborative juvenile defense bar across the state. Through individual representation and systemic advocacy, YAD also partners with other state agencies, as well as community organizations and local agencies, to work toward creating safer and healthier communities. YAD is continuously active in taking a leading role in the fight against racial and ethnic disparities in Massachusetts’ educational and juvenile justice systems.

In juvenile murder cases, lawyer assignments are usually made from a list of attorneys skilled in representing juvenile murder defendants.


Under the direction of its Chief Deputy Counsel, YAD Administration provides leadership support in the form of direction, strategy and policy to YAD’s nine trial offices, strategically located across Massachusetts.   Each trial office is headed by an Attorney in Charge who oversees the work of staff attorneys and support staff. Oversight of YAD’s trial offices is split between two Managing Directors.

Youth Advocacy Division Units

YAD Trial offices:  (click office name for address location and team members)

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