Committee for Public Counsel Services

Internship Opportunities - Summer 2024 - Private Counsel Division & Specialty Units - Statewide

Job Locations US-MA-Boston
ID
2023-2510
# of Openings
1
Posted Date
12/7/2023
Type
Intern
Post End Date
2/29/2024
Salary
Unpaid Internships

Overview

The Private Counsel Division and Strategic Litigation Unit of CPCS are seeking applicants for Summer 2024 internship positions across the Commonwealth. We are interested in law students (both with and without SJC Rule 3:03 Certification), graduate students, and undergraduate students for opportunities with these offices.

 

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

 

We stand with our Clients and the Community in the fight for Justice. We are dedicated to providing zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense and protection of fundamental constitutional and human rights. Our staff across the Commonwealth embodies a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and perspectives.  It is through these differences in age, ethnicity, geographic origin, race, faith, religion, and progressive values, that we are able to best serve our clients.  Through our internship program we seek to hire, develop, and hopefully retain talented people from all backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from non-traditional backgrounds, historically marginalized, or underrepresented groups to apply.

 

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 attorneys 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.

 

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT

 

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 each member of the CPCS community.

 

AGENCY OVERVIEW

 

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (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, child welfare, 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.

 

UNIT OVERVIEWS

 

Alternative Commitment & Registration Support Unit

 

The summer internship with ACRSU offers one to two second-year law students the opportunity to fully litigate a client’s case from assignment through to the final administrative hearing before the Sex Offender Registry Board.  Interns will also help with legal research, observe Superior Court trials, visit incarcerated clients, review psychological and scientific studies, and assist with other projects.  The ACRSU is committed to ensuring that every indigent adult and youth in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation when facing sexually dangerous person civil commitment trials and sex offender registry board classification proceedings.  Emerging issues include disparate impact of proceedings on minorities, propriety of proceeding against individuals who are juveniles or were juveniles at the time of past crimes, and enforcement of due process guarantees.  

 

Innocence Program

 

This unit is devoted to identifying and fighting wrongful convictions in all counties across Massachusetts.  Innocence Program staff and private panel attorneys represent indigent defendants who have been convicted and punished for crimes they did not commit.  The Innocence Program accepts both DNA and non-DNA based innocence claims, with special attention to cases involving eyewitness identification evidence, police misconduct, flawed or invalidated forensic science testimony, and false confessions.  Legal interns will work closely with the program director, staff attorneys, paralegal and administrative assistant to screen cases, provide litigation support, work on related research projects, and assist in drafting trial and appellate court filings for any active litigation.  Interns will also have the opportunity to attend court for any hearings or arguments. 

 

Parole Advocacy Unit

 

The Parole Advocacy Unit advocates for incarcerated people who need assistance with parole or medical parole release. In addition to training, assigning, and supporting private counsel, the unit handles cases and serves as a point of contact for prisoners, their loved ones, and attorneys with questions about parole, medical parole, and incarceration.   The Parole Advocacy Unit consists of a Director, a Staff Attorney, and an Administrative Assistant. Interns will help the Unit’s attorneys by screening clients for access to counsel, helping on staff cases at various stages of representation, and conducting needed legal research in this emerging area of law.

 

Private Counsel Criminal Appeals

 

 The Criminal Appeals Unit assigns attorneys to adult, criminal, post-conviction cases and oversees panel attorneys who litigate these cases. Interns should be law students and will assist lawyers on some developing and pivotal legal issues by drafting responses to inquiries, research, writing, review of documents, and preparing discovery packets.

 

Special Projects Unit

 

The Special Projects Unit (SPU) is part of the Private Counsel Division Criminal Appeals Unit.  This unit assigns cases to criminal post-conviction clients when there have been developments in the law that have a widespread impact on CPCS post-conviction clients and may provide grounds for undoing a conviction, notifies clients and attorneys about these developments and, in some cases, litigates these issues.  For more information, please see our webpage at https://www.publiccounsel.net/pc/criminal-post-conviction-and-appeals-unit/  Of special note, Summer Interns will be asked to assist in preparation for direct litigation which will involve seeking and reviewing discovery and related legal research and assisting with preparation for an evidentiary hearing.

 

Strategic Litigation Unit

 

Interns will collaborate with experienced lawyers responsible for pursuing litigation to address systemic issues of injustice CPCS clients face daily. This unit also assists attorneys from other CPCS units with cases of strategic importance and therefore involves both criminal and civil litigation, at both the trial and appellate levels. Interns will work with lawyers on various tasks depending on what is happening at the time including, but not limited to, researching and writing advisory memoranda on issues of systemic importance, helping with the research for and editing of briefs, and reviewing cases and other materials for inclusion in a police misconduct database.

Qualifications

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

 

Interested candidates should have a demonstrated commitment to the principle of zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and the protection of fundamental constitutional and human rights.

Candidates must also:

  • Have access to reliable transportation in order to travel to courts, clients, and investigation locations that are not easily accessible by public transportation; and,
  • Have access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely;

APPLICATION INFORMATION

 

Interested applicants should submit (1) Resume, (2) Personal Mission Statement (no more than two pages detailing your interest in the internship, your personal qualities and background, and what draws you to this work, and (3) Writing Sample. 

Applicants should specify preferred office locations for the Summer 2024 Internship Program.  

 

Applications received prior to January 8, 2024 will be given preference. 

 

INTERNSHIP FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

 

CPCS has a limited number of paid internship opportunities for Summer 2024.  In order to be considered, applicants may complete the following application: https://www.publiccounsel.net/hr/cpcs-intern-scholarship-program/

 

For students who are not selected for a paid internship, CPCS can work with students to support the receipt of externship credit or outside funding.

Responsibilities

OVERVIEW OF REGION AND UNIT OFFICE LOCATIONS

 

CENTRAL REGION

 

The Central Region is famous for its rich history. Boston is not only the capital of the Commonwealth but one of the oldest municipalities in the United States and the scene of several significant events in the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. It was a port and manufacturing hub and a center of education and culture, as well as home to the first public park, public school, and subway system in the United States. The area is home to professional sports teams, including Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, and the Boston Red Sox.  Roxbury is known to serve as the “heart of black culture in Boston” and is home to an extremely diverse population. The city of Quincy is recognized as the “City of Presidents” as it was the birthplace of John Adams, and his son John Quincy Adams, as well as, John Hancock, who was president of the Continental Congress and first signor of the Declaration of Independence, and first and third governor of Massachusetts. This city was home to first commercial railroad in the United States and had a thriving granite industry. 

 

The Central Region of CPCS includes the Alternative Commitment Registration & Support Unit, the Forensic Services Unit, the Strategic Litigation Unit, and the Private Counsel Criminal Appeals and Special Project Unit office locations in Boston.  The Immigration Impact Unit (IIU) office is located in Malden. The Innocence Program office is located in Roxbury. 

 

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 Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, Mark Conlon, at mconlon@publiccounsel.net

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