Attorney in Charge, Appeals Unit

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Job location
44 Bromfield Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Committee for Public Counsel Services, Massachusetts
Street address: 
44 Bromfield Street
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

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.


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.


This position requires:

- a demonstrated commitment to the representation of indigent persons accused of crime, and to the mission of CPCS;
- a minimum of 7 years’ experience as an attorney handling criminal appeals, with 10 years’ experience preferred;
some experience as a manager or administrator, including supervision of legal and/or support staff, with five years’
experience preferred;
- experience supervising the production of briefs by others;
- in-depth knowledge of criminal law and procedure and strong criminal defense litigation skills,
strong leadership skills and qualities, commitment to the principles of zealous advocacy and the ability to promote the
provision of excellent post-conviction representation by staff members;
- ability to develop, support, and mentor staff;
- ability to work with courts and other personnel in the criminal justice system;
- strong legal, analytical, interpersonal, communication, and decision-making skills;
- ability to furnish CPCS senior management with high-level advice on a wide-range of issues affecting the provision of
criminal indigent services, statewide;
- eligibility to practice law in Massachusetts.

Applicants should submit their resume, writing sample and as a separate document a description of the candidate’s appellate, supervisory, administrative and managerial experience.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
$86,392.00 to $110,985.00, depending on experience
Submission deadline: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Expiration date: 
Friday, October 27, 2017