Deputy Chief Counsel - Children and Family Law Division

$163,000 - $181,055 yearly
  • Committee for Public Counsel Services
  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Jan 29, 2024
Full time Executive Government Legal

Job Description

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender agency, is seeking a dynamic experienced leader to serve as Deputy Chief Counsel of the Children and Family Law Division.

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

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT

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.

AGENCY OVERVIEW

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 staff 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.

DIVISION OVERVIEW

The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) of CPCS provides children, young adults, and indigent parents zealous legal representation in a range of civil matters involving families. These include child neglect and abuse cases (referred to in Massachusetts as care and protection or C&P cases); termination of parental rights cases; status offense (child requiring assistance) matters, guardianship-of-a-minor cases, and proceedings for certain minors to obtain judicial consent for an abortion. We provide this representation through a diverse community of public defenders. Our multidisciplinary legal teams defend families against unwarranted governmental interference and protect the constitutional and statutory rights of children, young adults, and parents. CAFL provides leadership, training, and support to staff members and private attorneys throughout Massachusetts. 

CAFL staff represent clients in 13 multidisciplinary litigation offices, two of which are part of the division’s new Family Justice Advocates firm, which handles conflicts matters. The other 11 are part of CPCS’s larger “Public Division” firm (which includes public defenders advocating for clients in other right-to-counsel matters). Most of CAFL’s work is handled by about 900 private attorneys whom CPCS trains and certifies as eligible to accept assignments and who are supported and overseen by our trial and appellate panel support units. Both private attorneys and staff are also supported by the CAFL Training Unit, which is part of CPCS’s Training Department.

CAFL’s client-directed legal advocacy plays a critical role in cases involving families. Whether private or staff, CAFL attorneys protect the rights of parents and children to remain together whenever possible and their right to be reunited quickly when children are removed from their homes. Our legal teams provide clients a voice and work to ensure that the Department of Children and Families and other agencies provide children, young adults, and parents the support and services they need and to which they are entitled under the law. For a parent involved in a C&P case, having a skilled CAFL attorney may mean the difference between the family’s reunification and the termination of parental rights. 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 or in congregate care. For siblings who are at risk of being separated, CAFL’s legal team will fight to ensure that they can stay together. 

POSITION OVERVIEW

CPCS is seeking a new Deputy Chief Counsel who has the talent, vision, and perseverance to lead a dedicated, experienced, and skilled group of attorneys, social workers, administrative professionals, and peer advocates in providing ever-improving, high-quality advocacy to clients and engaging with client communities. The Deputy Chief Counsel will also lead the development and advancement of the division’s policy priorities to transform the racism-laden family regulation system – one that regularly traumatizes children, families, and whole communities – into a system that provide supports and services to help them thrive.  

The Deputy Chief Counsel provides direct supervision to three Managing Directors (overseeing the staff litigation offices), the Directors of CAFL’s trial and appellate panels, the Director of Social Work, the Director of Private Social Work Services, and an Administrative Assistant. The CAFL Training Director, to whom the Deputy Chief Counsel provides significant substantive direction, and CPCS’s Director of Education Advocacy, whom the Deputy Chief Counsel works with to ensure that CAFL clients’ education needs are met, are also part of the CAFL leadership team.  

The CAFL Deputy Chief Counsel reports to the Chief Counsel and is a member of the CPCS Senior Management Team, which develops and implements agency fiscal, operational, human resource, IT, and legislative policies. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Deputy Chief’s duties include, but are not limited to:

·         Defining CAFL’s vision, priorities, and goals in collaboration with the Chief Counsel and communicating with CAFL staff members and private attorneys about them with inspiring messaging;

·         Managing and supervising the CAFL leadership team to promote a culture of courage, accountability, respect, and excellence;

·         Directly supervising the CAFL Managing Directors, Panel Directors, Directors of Social Work, and an Administrative Assistant and providing direction to other members of the CAFL leadership team;

·         Overseeing approximately 150 CAFL staff members and all aspects of the Division's operations through managerial supervision, development and implementation of policies, and allocation of financial and other resources;

·         Setting performance standards to support the achievement of the Division’s goals and supporting and overseeing the performance of CAFL staff and panel members in their compliance with those standards and CPCS’s Assigned Counsel Manual;

·         Working closely with the CPCS Training Chief, who supervises the CAFL Training Director, to prioritize and ensure the delivery of training and other professional development opportunities for staff and private attorneys;

·         Overseeing the certification, recertification, and (in partnership with the CPCS Training Chief) training of private attorneys in family regulation proceedings in all courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;

·         Collaborating internally with other CPCS divisions and departments, and working externally with the Department of Children and Families, court leadership, the legislature, and other stakeholders to develop fairer procedures and generate better outcomes for our clients;

·         Working with the General Counsel on legislative and policy advocacy, reviewing pending legislation, drafting bills, and testifying on proposed legislation before state legislative committees;

·         Working with the CPCS Communications Director on strategies for communicating information about family regulation issues and issues relating to clients and client communities;

·         Connecting with the national community of public defenders and other experts in family regulation, human rights, and social justice to exchange ideas and resources; 

·         Advancing the Division-wide commitment to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the family regulation system, promoting cultural humility in CAFL work, and providing leadership and support to CPCS efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace to become an anti-racism organization; and,

·         Other duties as assigned.

 

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

·         Be a member in good standing of the Massachusetts bar, or be licensed in another jurisdiction and eligible to practice in Massachusetts under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:04;

·         Have at least ten (10) years of litigation experience, five (5) years of which must be in the practice of family regulation law;

·         Have at least five (5) years of management experience, including supervision of legal and support staff;

·         Access to an automobile in order to travel to CAFL offices, courts, and other locations that are not easily accessible by public transportation; and,

·         Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.

 

QUALIFICATIONS/SKILLS

The successful candidate will have some or all of the following:

·         A commitment to client-directed representation on behalf of children, young adults, and parents involved in the family regulation/child welfare system;

·         Strong leadership skills and qualities;

·         Strong analytical, interpersonal, communication, negotiation, and decision-making skills;

·         Strong written and oral advocacy skills;

·         A demonstrated commitment to the principles of zealous advocacy and community-oriented defense in the representation of indigent clients;

·         Demonstrated ability to develop, support, and mentor staff;

·         Ability to work successfully with courts and leaders of other state and private organizations involved in the family regulation/child welfare system;

·         Prior experience in a policy-making position which required data analysis; and,

·         Demonstrated commitment to anti-racism and to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the family regulation/child welfare system.

COMPENSATION

CPCS offers a competitive compensation, benefits, and pension package; a diverse and inclusive culture; colleagues and co-workers who are committed to and passionate about their work; and the opportunity to serve.  Salary Range:  $163,055 - $181,055, commensurate with experience.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Candidates should submit a résumé, writing sample, and statement of interest.

The position will be posted until filled, however preference will be given to candidates who apply prior to February 26, 2023.

Application process: Candidates should submit a résumé, writing sample, and statement of interest through the following link: Deputy Chief Counsel Direct Application

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 Chief Human Resources Officer, Mark Conlon, at mconlon@publiccounsel.net