The Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts public defender agency, is seeking a child welfare attorney with management experience to serve as one of two Managing Directors in its Children and Family Law Division (CAFL). The Managing Director will support and oversee four to six county-based trial offices. The Managing Director may also be responsible for supporting and overseeing CAFL’s appellate office. In addition, the Managing Director will be part of CAFL’s leadership team.
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.
THE CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW DIVISION
The Children and Family Law Division of CPCS represents parents, children and custodians in state intervention cases in which the Department of Children and Families is seeking custody of a child(ren). Lawyers appointed to these cases represent clients in Care and Protection Petitions (C & P), Termination of Parental Rights cases (TPR), Guardianship Petitions, and Child Requiring Assistance cases (CRA). The majority of these cases are heard in the Juvenile Court.
CAFL’s legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases that affect families. For a parent involved in a C&P case, having a skilled CAFL lawyer may mean the difference between the family’s reunification and the termination of parental rights – the “death penalty of family law.” For a teenager who is the subject of a truancy case, CAFL’s advocacy may secure the special education services that enable the client to succeed in school and avoid being placed in a foster home. For siblings looking for stability after the court has freed them for adoption, CAFL will fight to ensure that they are provided a permanent home – one that allows them to stay together.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT
CPCS is committed to protecting the fundamental constitutional and human rights of its clients by providing zealous advocacy, community-oriented defense, and excellent representation. In fulfilling its mission, CPCS is committed to fostering diversity at all levels of the agency. We are dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each of our clients, to understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs. In striving always to achieve those goals, CPCS embraces diversity and inclusion as core values and is steadfast in our commitment to: (1) ensuring that CPCS management and staff members represent a broad range of human differences and experiences; (2) providing a work climate that is respectful and that supports success; and (3) promoting the dignity and well-being of all staff members. CPCS’s leadership is responsible for ensuring excellence, diversity, and inclusion. Our ability to achieve these goals depends on the efforts of all of us.
The Managing Director’s primary responsibility is ensuring that CAFL staff provides high-quality, client-centered, culturally humble representation to parent and child clients in child welfare matters. The Managing Director achieves this by overseeing CAFL staff offices and providing supervision and support to the Attorneys in Charge (AIC’s) for each of those offices. In addition, as a member of the CAFL Leadership Team, the Managing Director also works collaboratively with other CAFL Directors as well as CPCS’s other legal practice divisions and CPCS’s legal support and operational units (Training, Human Resources, IT, Facilities, and General Counsel). The Managing Director reports directly to CAFL’s Deputy Chief Counsel.
Provide leadership and supervision to AICs and support their effective management of the CAFL offices; ensure that all staff meet performance and supervision standards; complete annual performance evaluations, and ensure that annual performance reviews are completed for all assigned staff in a timely and comprehensive manner; conduct regular site visits, at least every six weeks, to assigned offices across region;
Assist AICs in creating and maintaining a positive workplace environment; create and promote professional development opportunities for staff; oversee the hiring of attorneys and other staff in the region; ensure that AICs work collaboratively with the Human Resources Unit to address employee relations and performance issues and to ensure compliance with CPCS personnel policies;
Identify and address failures in the child welfare system that threaten or deny equal or meaningful access to justice for CAFL clients;
Assist the Deputy Chief Counsel with the leadership and management of the CAFL division and the staff offices;
Work collaboratively with CAFL’s other Managing Director, the CAFL Director of Appellate Panel, the CAFL Director of the Trial Panel, the Director of Social Work to identify and address systematic barriers either within the child welfare or court system that affects the ability of CAFL clients to achieve positive outcomes;
Identify and address systematic issues that may arise in connection with the operation of CAFL offices; develop and recommend any changes to caseload, supervision, performance, and other relevant guidelines/standards needed to provide client-centered representation;
Develop and implement a plan to collect and use case-related data to promote high-quality representation and ensure that office and attorney caseloads are appropriate, and analyze and report regularly on caseload statistics;
Facilitate strong communication across the assigned region, with Trial Offices, and between CPCS’s leadership team and CAFL offices;
Work with Attorneys in Charge, the Director of CAFL’s Trial Panel, and local CAFL bar leadership to develop and maintain a collaborative relationship between CAFL’s trial offices and local CAFL private attorneys;
Supervise Senior Trial Counsel and/or work collaboratively with AICs in offices to assure that there are clear expectations regarding case assignments, training, and mentoring obligations;
Work with AICs, Training Department, and Equity and Inclusion Director to identify training needs and ensure that CAFL staff are culturally competent, sensitive to issues of diversity, and provide client-centered representation;
Investigate and respond to legal conflicts, legal ethics questions, performance issues and complaints regarding attorney and non-attorney staff;
Maintain a professional relationship and leadership role with the local judiciary, DCF, and the private bar, and work with AICs and local bar leadership to develop and maintain a collaborative relationship between CAFL offices and local private attorneys;
Work with the CAFL Deputy Chief Counsel, other CAFL Managing Directors, and other division Deputy Chief Counsel and Managing Directors to develop and execute division policies and strategic plans, and to develop and advance legislative and policy agendas; work collaboratively with other CPCS leaders on cross-divisional and other issues as needed to promote agency goals and objectives; including attendance at AIC, Senior Management Team meetings and Senior Leadership Group Meetings;
Other duties as assigned.
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 Director of Human Resources Management, Lisa Bacon, at email@example.com
MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
Applicants for this position must have a demonstrated commitment to the representation of indigent persons, a minimum of eight years’ experience as a practicing child welfare attorney (including experience representing indigent CAFL clients in termination of parental right cases, appellate, or equivalent relevant experience), andfour years of managerial experience.
Applicants must have access to reliable transportation in order to travel to courts, clients, and office locations that are not easily accessible by public transportation.
The position requires strong organizational skills, excellent communication skills, the ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, and the capacity for close attention to detail.
About Committee for Public Counsel Services
The Committee for Public Counsel Services provides legal representation in Massachusetts for those unable to afford an attorney in all matters in which the law requires the appointment of counsel. This includes representation in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, mental health, sexually dangerous person and sex offender registry cases, as well as related appeals and post-conviction matters.