Overview:The Committee, a 15-member body appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, oversees the provision of legal representation to indigent persons in criminal and civil court cases and administrative proceedings in which there is a right to counsel. Most representation is provided by approximately 3,000 private attorneys trained and certified to accept appointments. Support for and supervision of these attorneys is provided by the Private Counsel Division (for criminal, juvenile delinquency and related matters), the Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) and the Mental Health Litigation Unit. The Public Defender Division has approximately 200 staff attorneys working in offices located across Massachusetts. Staff defenders provide representation to clients in Superior, District and Juvenile Court criminal and delinquency proceedings. An additional 28 staff attorneys working in CAFL offices throughout the state represent clients in state intervention/child welfare cases.
The Chief Counsel, appointed by the Committee and assisted by the Senior Management Team, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency.