Trial Attorney - MHLD Northampton

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Job location
109 Main Street, Suite 201
Northampton, MA 01060
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Street address: 
75 Federal Street 6th Floor
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is seeking a full-time Trial Attorney for civil commitment cases including trials and a limited number of appellate cases for its Northampton Office. This office is responsible for civil commitments filed by Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Holyoke Medical Center in Holyoke, MiraVista Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, and Vibra Hospital of Western Mass. in Springfield and other facilities in Western Massachusetts.

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 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.


The Northampton Commitment Unit is located in the heart of the city of Northampton, which provides a sophisticated rural lifestyle combined with the cultural, artistic, academic, and culinary amenities of a big city. It offers more restaurants, eclectic shops, galleries, theaters, and performance venues than most urban centers ten times its size. You will also find two rivers, mountain views, landscaped parks, and meadow walks. It provides a unique and charming combination of natural and cultural activities that should not be missed.

The Northampton Commitment Unit is responsible for civil commitments filed in the District Courts for individuals facing civil commitments to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Holyoke Medical Center in Holyoke, MiraVista Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Vibra Hospital of Western Mass. in Springfield and other facilities in Western Massachusetts.


The Mental Health Litigation Division is committed to protecting the legal and constitutional rights of citizens facing civil commitment to a psychiatric facility, guardianship petitions, and involuntary treatment orders including the administration of antipsychotic medications. Mental Health Litigation Division Trial Attorneys receive training in issues relating to mental health and the statutory and constitutional rights of our clients.
Mental Health Litigation Division Trial Attorneys provide zealous representation in mental health cases, primarily to indigent persons in proceedings seeking the initial commitment to, continued confinement at, or authorization to treat by psychiatric facilities operated by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Department of Mental Health (DMH) and private psychiatric facilities licensed by DMH. Attorneys will appear primarily in District and Municipal Court sessions conducted at facilities for which the Office is responsible or in Superior Court divisions within the county in which the facilities are located but may be required to represent clients in proceedings emanating from other facilities and conducted in other courts of the Commonwealth. Trial Attorneys may also represent clients in appeals to the Appellate Divisions of the District and Municipal Courts.


Duties of MHLD Trial Attorneys include, but are not limited to:

• Visiting with and interviewing clients at the facilities;
• Conducting pre-trial investigation and discovery, including reviewing facility and other medical and psychiatric records, and interviewing facility staff;
• Working extensively with forensic psychiatric and psychological clinicians;
• Locating and interviewing witnesses and consulting with service providers;
• Conducting legal research and writing; and,
• Representing clients in pretrial proceedings, hearings, and interlocutory appeals.
Trial Attorneys will be supervised by, and report to, the Commitment Unit Attorney in Charge.



• Applicants 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 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 Commonwealth is necessary; and,
• Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.
To apply, please submit a resume, a cover letter detailing your interest in the position, and a legal writing sample.


• Foreign language skills to support interaction with limited English proficient groups in the region are desirable;
• Trial experience in mental health cases is preferred;
• Strong interpersonal and analytical skills; and,
• Ability to work in a community and defense-oriented capacity, both independently and collaboratively.

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 Director of Human Resources Management.

To apply: 

To be considered for this position, please apply at:

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
$68,000 - $115,378.00, commensurate with years of experience
Submission deadline: 
Monday, October 2, 2023