The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts Public Defender agency, is seeking a full-time attorney for the position of Attorney-in-Charge of the Appeals Unit for the Public Defender Division. Attorneys interested in applying for the position are invited to submit an application.
Description of Office:
The Appeals Unit is currently staffed by eight Appeals Attorneys, including the Interim Chief Appellate Attorney, and two administrative assistants. The Appeals Unit handles appeals of convictions, motions for new trials and interlocutory appeals in cases in which a public defender Trial Attorney or a private attorney was appointed to represent the defendant at trial and the defendant is indigent. The Attorney-in-Charge works collaboratively with the Private Counsel Division and assigns Appeals Unit Attorneys to identify and handle appeals that appear to have strategic importance. The Appeals Unit also drafts amicus briefs in selected cases, on behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. The Appeals Unit also assists staff Trial Attorneys and, occasionally privately assigned counsel in developing issues at the trial level by advising Trial Attorneys, assisting with petitions for interlocutory review and possibly second-seating Trial Attorneys in complex trials. The Appeals Unit also occasionally assists the Chief Counsel or the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Public Defender Division with special projects and impact litigation.
This position requires:
Applicants should submit their resume, writing sample and as a separate document a description of the candidate’s appellate, supervisory, administrative and managerial experience.
The Attorney-in-Charge is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Public Defender Division Appeals Unit, including the supervision of legal and support staff. He or she maintains liaisons with clerks of the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court, and, where necessary, the clerks of the Superior and District Court Departments. He or she reviews all Standing Order 17A dismissals to ensure that no clients' cases are inappropriately dismissed.
The Attorney-in-Charge functions as a supervising attorney in production and review of briefs by unit staff, and maintains a caseload commensurate with the duties of the position. He or she may be called upon to prepare briefs or memoranda or to consult with senior management in emergency situations affecting the agency, and will be expected to provide advice on criminal defense matters to attorneys in both the Public Counsel and the Private Counsel Divisions.
The Attorney-in-Charge has primary responsibility for the opening and assigning of cases in the Unit, which includes developing and administering assignment procedures, as well as distributing cases to Unit staff equitably in terms of both quantity and complexity. The Attorney-in-Charge has primary responsibility for developing and administering procedures for referral of cases from trial attorneys and for being available to answer questions from attorneys about these procedures, as well as for overseeing the process of monitoring cases that have been referred to the Appeals Unit until the trial transcript is received.
The Attorney-in-Charge reports to one of the Managing Directors of the Public Defender Division.