The Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is now accepting applications for its Juvenile Appeals Panel Certification Training.

The Youth Advocacy Division is committed to providing our clients with excellent appellate advocates who are dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each client, understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs.  YAD strives to meet these goals by recruiting and maintaining a diverse and inclusive panel of private attorneys who represent a broad range of human difference and experience.


Applicants must be a member in good standing of the Massachusetts bar and possess the following minimum qualifications:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in legal research and writing;
  • Demonstrated commitment to working on behalf of youth and emerging adults;
  • At least one of the following:
    • One year of trial experience with adult criminal defense, delinquency, youthful offender, juvenile murder, Children and Family Law, SORB, SDP or Mental Health litigation;
    • Primary authorship of one or more thoroughly researched and well written appellate briefs;
    • A recent judicial clerkship, substantial editing experience for a law journal, primary or ancillary authorship of a law journal article, or other substantial legal research and writing experience;
    • Other relevant life or legal experience that has provided the applicant with a unique or personal perspective on juvenile defense work.

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 hybrid Juvenile Appeals Certification Training that includes one live (synchronous) Zoom session and one in-person session, on the following dates:

Day 1 – Thursday, November 7, 2024 from 1:00 – 4:00 (Zoom)

Day 2 – Thursday, November 14, 2024 from 9:00 – 4:30 (in person in Worcester – lunch included)

**Note that the total time commitment will be approximately 15 hours, including approximately three hours of video assignments.

After receiving confirmation that you have been accepted into the training, you will receive registration instructions.

YAD’s Juvenile Appeals Panel Requirements

Certification is based on successful completion of the training course, including all live sessions and all required asynchronous materials. Attorneys who have successfully completed the course training requirements are provisionally certified and assigned a mentor. The Director of Juvenile Appeals may grant a waiver of the mentor requirement in some circumstances. During the period of the attorney’s provisional certification, the attorney must adhere to the YAD Appeals Performance Standards and work cooperatively with their mentor as required by the Juvenile Appeals Mentor Program. The mentor will periodically report to the Juvenile Appeals Unit about the attorney’s progress towards full Juvenile Appeals Panel certification.

Attorneys certified for juvenile appellate assignments may receive assignments in juvenile delinquency and youthful offender appeals, juvenile murder appeals, screenings for collateral motions (new trial, relief from unlawful restraint, revise and revoke), sentencing appeals and other post-adjudication matters.  An additional certification process is required to receive juvenile murder appeals.

Application Submission Instructions:

To be considered, you must submit a completed application via e-mail to: [email protected] no later than Friday, September 20, 2024. 

 Your application must include:

  • Answers to all questions in the YAD Appeals Application 2024;
  • Current resume;
  • Two legal writing samples totaling no more than 100 pages, of which the applicant is the primary author. If the applicant does not have two samples of primary authorship, one jointly authored sample may be included provided the following are clearly identified: the name and level of involvement of other attorneys; the portions the applicant wrote; and whether anyone edited the portions written by the applicant.  Writing samples concerning criminal or delinquency law are preferred but not required.  Court investigator, GAL or similar reports will not be accepted.
  • Three professional references who are familiar with the applicant’s abilities in legal research and writing, trial experience and/or appellate practice in any area. References familiar with the applicant’s experience working with adolescent clients are preferred but not required.  Please see the reference form appended to the application for further instructions.

If you have any questions or need reasonable accommodations to complete the application, please email Afton Templin, Director of Juvenile Appeals, at [email protected].