The Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking up to three full-time attorneys with varied levels of experience for its Appeals Unit in Boston.  The Appeals Unit provides legal representation and appellate advocacy for its indigent clients in the Massachusetts appellate courts and occasionally in federal court.  The cases handled by the Appeals Unit are primarily post-conviction criminal cases, but also include sexually dangerous person commitment cases and sex offender registry proceedings, as well as interlocutory appeals.  Post-conviction appellate cases usually involve clients convicted of serious felonies and sentenced to substantial periods of incarceration and may also include misdemeanor and other district court convictions.

Although the bulk of their work takes place on cases pending in either the Massachusetts Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Unit attorneys occasionally represent their clients in trial court on motions for new trials, motions to revise and revoke sentences, and motions to correct or enlarge the appellate record.


The duties of a Public Defender Division Appeals Unit staff attorney include representation of clients in interlocutory proceedings, on direct appeal, and in other related proceedings, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • collecting and reviewing documentary evidence
  • interviewing clients
  • conducting legal research
  • preparing appellants’ and occasionally appellees’ briefs, reply briefs, and applications for rehearing, for reconsideration, and for further appellate review
  • arguing before the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court
  • at times conducting post-conviction investigation, including visiting crime scenes and locating and interviewing witnesses
  • providing formal and informal assistance to Public Defender Division trial attorneys on trial court level cases
  • providing formal and informal assistance to private attorneys on appellate and trial cases assigned through the Private Counsel Division of CPCS
  • providing training to Public Defender Division and Private Counsel Division staff attorneys
  • depending on experience level, may include supervising, editing and mentoring of other Appeals Unit Attorneys


Candidates must be eligible to practice law in this jurisdiction as a member of the Massachusetts bar in good standing, or as an attorney in another jurisdiction who is eligible to engage in limited Massachusetts practice under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:04.  Candidates must also be able to work in a defense-oriented capacity, both independently and collaboratively, and be committed to working with a culturally diverse, low-income population.  Candidates must possess very strong writing and oral advocacy skills.  Candidates must have access to an automobile in order to travel to courts, clients, and investigation locations which are not easily accessible by public transportation.


Commensurate with experience.


Applicants should e-mail a letter of interest which includes a description of prior appellate experience, a résumé, and a writing sample to:

The deadline for submitting an application is July 1, 2013.