Committee for Public Counsel Services

  • 2018 CAFL Trial Attorney

    Job Locations US-MA-All Locations
    ID
    2017-1572
    # of Openings
    1
    Posted Date
    1/8/2018
    Type
    Regular Full-Time
    Salary
    $48,950 - $80,450.43, depending on experience
  • Overview

    The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), Massachusetts public defender agency, seeks attorneys to represent children and parents in child welfare cases.  CPCS provides legal representation for those unable to afford an attorney.   The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in child welfare matters, including care and protection (C&P) proceedings, children requiring assistance (CRA) cases, actions to terminate parental rights, guardianship-of-a-minor cases, and any other child custody proceeding where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a party or where the court is considering granting custody to DCF.

     

     

    DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT

     

    CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of its clients by providing zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and excellent representation.  We are dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each of our clients, to understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs.  In striving always to achieve those goals, CPCS embraces diversity and inclusion as core values and is steadfast in our commitment to:  (1) ensuring that CPCS staff members represent a broad range of human difference and experience; (2) providing a work climate that is respectful and that supports success; and (3) promoting the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS's leadership is responsible for ensuring excellence, diversity, and inclusion. Our ability to achieve these goals depends on the efforts of all of us.

     

    Overview:

     

    The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is Massachusetts’ public defender agency, providing legal representation for those unable to afford an attorney.   The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in child welfare matters, including care and protection (C&P) proceedings, children requiring assistance (CRA) cases, actions to terminate parental rights, guardianship-of-a-minor cases, and any other child custody proceeding where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a party or where the court is considering granting custody to DCF.

     

    CAFL’s legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases that affect families.  For a parent involved in a C&P case, having a skilled CAFL lawyer may mean the difference between the family’s reunification and the termination of parental rights – the “death penalty of family law.”  For a teenager who is the subject of a truancy CRA case, CAFL’s advocacy may secure the special education services that enable the client to succeed in school and avoid being placed in a foster home.  For siblings looking for stability after the court has freed them for adoption, a CAFL attorney will fight to ensure that they are provided a permanent home – one that allows them to stay together.

     

    New Trial Attorneys in the CAFL Offices begin their CPCS career with a nationally recognized, comprehensive, skills-based training course to ensure they are ready to represent their clients to their full capabilities.  Continuing legal education programs for new and experienced Trial Attorneys are held periodically to ensure that our Trial Attorneys are up to date on the law and have the skills necessary to provide zealous representation to their clients.

     

    The Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking Trial Attorneys to provide child welfare representation.  Attorneys interested in applying for these positions are invited to submit an application, as further described below.

     

    Due to extreme staffing needs in Western Massachusetts, we will be prioritizing recruiting and hiring in our Springfield, Northampton/Amherst, and Pittsfield Offices.

     

    Positions will be filled as our budget allows.  This posting does not guarantee that we will be filling Trial Attorney positions.

     

    To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter.

     

    These positions have an expected start date in late August/early September 2018.

    Qualifications

    • A Trial Attorney must be committed to serving a culturally diverse, low income population and must be eligible to practice law in Massachusetts, either as a member of the Massachusetts bar, as a law school graduate under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, or as an attorney licensed in another jurisdiction who is covered by Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:04;
    • All Trial Attorney positions require travel;  access to reliable transportation throughout the state is necessary; 
    • Foreign language skills are desirable;
    • Trial experience in termination of parental rights cases as counsel for a parent and/or as counsel for a child or children is preferred;
    • A demonstrated commitment to the principle of zealous advocacy in the representation of indigent persons in child welfare cases;
    • Strong interpersonal and analytical skills;
    • Ability to work in a community and defense-oriented capacity, both independently and collaboratively.

     

    Responsibilities

    The duties of the Trial Attorney include:

    • interviewing adult clients;
    • legal research and writing;
    • pre-72 hour hearing investigation including reviewing pleadings and exhibits, locating and interviewing witnesses, preparing witnesses, gathering facts from the DCF social worker and other collateral providers, consulting with other parties' counsel regarding their position, collecting and reviewing documentary evidence, identifying objections to testimonial and documentary evidence, draft appropriate motions;
    • obtaining entire DCF file, reviewing service plan, proposing changes to plan, advising client on whether to sign, meeting with court investigator, preparing client to meet with court investigator, preparing motions to strike inadmissible evidence contained in the court investigator report;
    • preparing necessary motions regarding outstanding discovery, identifying matters requiring further hearing (e.g., services, visitation), filing written certification that mediation has been discussed, preparing pre-trial memo, developing trial strategy with client;
    • preparing Foster Care Reviews, reviewing DCF's permanency plans and filing objections, if necessary;
    • investigating and representing client's position in extraordinary medical treatment hearings;
    • filing abuse of discretion motions challenging DCF decisions;
    • care and protection trials and termination of parental rights trials;
    • representation of clients in interlocutory proceedings;
    • post-judgment representation; and
    • providing formal and informal assistance to private attorneys on cases assigned through the Private Counsel Division of CPCS.

    EEO Statement

     

    The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran or military status, genetic information, gender identity, or sexual orientation as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other applicable federal and state statutes and organizational policies.  Applicants who have questions about equal employment opportunity or who need reasonable accommodations can contact the Director of Human Resources Management, Lisa Bacon, at lbacon@publiccounsel.net.

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