What We Do

We provide legal representation in Massachusetts for those unable to afford an attorney in all matters in which the law requires the appointment of counsel. This includes representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, mental health, sexually dangerous person and sex offender registry cases, as well as related appeals and post-conviction matters.

Representation is provided by a combination of approximately 500 staff attorneys and 3,000 private attorneys trained and certified to accept appointments. Support for and supervision of these attorneys is provided by the Private Counsel and Public Defender Divisions (for criminal cases and related matters), the Children and Family Law Division (for child welfare cases), the Youth Advocacy Division (for delinquency, youthful offender, and GCL revocation cases), and the Mental Health Litigation Division (for guardianships and mental health/substance abuse commitments). Additionally, the Immigration Impact Unit provides attorneys within all divisions with training, litigation support and advice in individual cases regarding immigration consequences for noncitizens clients.

Learn more about who we are and how we are structured…


To see the latest CPCS news, check out our blog.

YAF Wins 2020 Excellence in Legal Services Award January 29, 2020 - The Youth Advocacy Foundation (YAF), the nonprofit arm of the Massachusetts juvenile public defender agency, has been named the 2020 winner of the Reginald Heber Smith Award for Excellence in Legal Services. The award, presented by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, goes to an organization that has exhibited innovation and excellence in legal advocacy. YAF will receive […]
CPCS Testifies in Favor of Safe Communities Act January 27, 2020 - Wendy Wayne, director of the Immigration Impact Unit at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, testified in favor of the Safe Communities Act – a bill designed to protect the civil rights of all Massachusetts residents.  Wayne, speaking before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on Friday, said the bill “prioritizes the […]
Roxbury Defender Receives Community Leadership Award January 21, 2020 - Kristyn Henry, a trial attorney with the Roxbury Defenders Unit, was honored by the North Shore Black Women’s Association for being a community leader who exemplifies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “ideals, passion and commitment to service.” Henry received the award during the NSBWA’s 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon on Saturday afternoon in […]
Do you want to help children and parents in crisis? Apply for our Springfield training! January 17, 2020 - For the last few years, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has intervened in lives of Massachusetts families at an alarming rate. Most of these families cannot afford to hire attorneys. Fortunately, in Massachusetts there is a right to counsel for parents and children in state intervention cases. Unfortunately, there are not enough certified […]
Committee Meeting Agenda – January 16, 2020 Meeting January 10, 2020 - Approval of minutes of the December 18, 2019 meeting Amicus Requests: Commonwealth v. Long, SJC-12868 Commonwealth v. Rambert, 2018-P-1282 Commonwealth v. J.S., A Juvenile, 2019-P-1645 Four Co-Defendant Cases:  SJ-2019-0511; SJC-0513; SJ-2019-0512; SJ-2019-0510 Commonwealth v. Bohigian, SJC-12858 (Reporting Only) Monthly Financial Overview Report Commitments $10,000 and Over Report Chief Counsel Report
Calendar Year 2020 Committee Meeting Dates January 9, 2020 - All meetings will being at 5:30 p.m. in the CPCS Conference Rooms at 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA.  The meetings will be held on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening as noted. January 16 (Thursday) February 19 (Wednesday) February 25 (Tuesday) March 19 (Thursday) April 16 (Thursday) May 20 (Wednesday) June 17 (Wednesday) July […]