Committee for Public Counsel Services

2024 Children and Family Law Division Trial Attorney - Statewide Positions

Job Locations US-MA-Statewide
# of Openings
Posted Date
Regular Full-Time
$68,000 - $115,378, commensurate with years of experience


The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the public defender agency for Massachusetts, is seeking attorneys to represent children and parents in family regulation 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 family regulation 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.


We fight for equal justice and human dignity by supporting our clients in achieving their legal and life goals. We zealously advocate for the rights of individuals and promote just public policy to protect the rights of all.


Our Values


Courage   •   Accountability   •   Respect   •   Excellence




CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of our assigned clients through zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and the fullness of excellent legal representation.  We are dedicated to building and maintaining strong professional relationships, while striving to accept, listen to and respect the diverse circumstances of each client, as we dedicate ourselves to meeting their individual needs.  It is our CPCS mission to achieve these goals, and in furtherance thereof, we embrace and endorse diversity, equity and inclusion as our core values as we maintain a steadfast commitment to: (1) Ensure that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human differences and experience; (2) Provide a work climate that is respectful and supports success; and (3) Promote the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS leadership is responsible for ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion. The ability to achieve these goals with any level of certainty is ultimately the responsibility of each member of the CPCS community.




 CPCS is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing an attorney when the state or federal constitution or a state statute requires the appointment of an attorney for a person who cannot afford to retain one.  The agency provides representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, family regulation, guardianship, mental health, sexually dangerous person, and sex offender registry cases, as well as in appeals and post-conviction and post-judgment proceedings related to those matters.


The clients we represent are diverse across every context imaginable and bring many unique cultural dimensions to the matters we address. This reality creates a critical need for CPCS staff to be culturally competent and able to work well with people of different races, ethnicities, genders and/or sexual orientation identities, abilities, and limited English proficiency, among other protected characteristics.




CAFL’s legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases that affect families.  For a parent involved in a Care & Protection 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 Child Requiring Assistance 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.


Attorneys interested in applying for these positions are invited to submit an application, as further described below.


Positions will be filled as our FY24 & FY25 budgets allow.  This posting does not guarantee that we will be filling Trial Attorney positions.


These positions have an expected start date in late August/early September 2024.



  • 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. A recent law school graduate who is ineligible to practice under SJC Rule 3:03 will be hired as a paralegal with the understanding that they will be promoted to trial attorney once admitted to practice in Massachusetts;
  • All Trial Attorney positions require travel; access to reliable transportation throughout the state is necessary; and, 
  • Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.

To apply, please submit a resume and personal mission statement of no more than two pages detailing your interest in the position, your personal qualities, background, and skills, and what you hope to achieve in your work.



  • 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.




The duties of the Trial Attorney include:

  • Interviewing adult clients;
  • Visiting and interviewing child clients;
  • Conducting legal research and writing;
  • Conducting pre-72-hour hearing investigation including reviewing pleadings and exhibits, locating and interviewing witnesses, preparing witnesses, gathering facts from the Department of Child Families 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, and drafting appropriate motions;
  • Obtaining entire DCF file, reviewing DCF action plans, proposing plan changes, advising client on whether to sign, meeting with court investigator, preparing client to meet with court investigator, and 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, DCF reasonable efforts, visitation), preparing pre-trial memo, and developing trial strategy with client;
  • Preparing for 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 motions challenging DCF decisions;
  • Conducting care and protection trials and termination of parental rights trials;
  • Representing clients in interlocutory proceedings;
  • Working with the legal team, including social workers and paralegals;
  • Conducting post-judgment representation; and,
  • Other duties as assigned.

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 Chief Human Resources Officer, Ted Waterman at


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