Supervising Staff Attorney - Family Justice Advocates - CAFL Hampden County Conflicts Office
The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the public defender agency for Massachusetts, is seeking attorneys to work in the office of Family Justice Advocates (FJA), CPCS’s Children and Family Law Division Hampden County Conflicts Trial Office, located in Springfield. FJA provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in family regulation cases, including care and protection (C&P) proceedings, child requiring assistance (CRA) cases, actions to terminate parental rights, guardianship-of-a-minor cases, and any other child custody proceeding where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a party or where the court is considering granting custody to DCF.
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.
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.
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 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.
Family Justice Advocates is CAFL’s Hampden County Conflicts Trial Office in Springfield, Massachusetts. FJA provides legal representation to children and indigent parents and guardians in family regulation/child welfare cases in which (a) a CAFL staff attorney in a non-conflict office has been appointed to another party to the case or (b) a conflict of interest prevents CAFL staff attorneys in non-conflict offices from representing any party in the case. For example, an attorney in FJA may be appointed to represent a parent in the same case in which a staff attorney in CAFL’s existing Springfield trial office represents a child. Alternatively, an attorney in FJA may be appointed to represent a party in a case in which CAFL’s existing Springfield trial office attorneys are unable to represent any party because of conflicts relating to a current or former client of a CPCS staff attorney. FJA is considered a separate law firm from all other CPCS offices for conflict of interest purposes. To this end, it has a separate managerial system, separate physical offices and computer/technology systems, and other mechanisms in place to ensure its separation for conflicts purposes from other CPCS offices.
All CAFL trial offices, including FJA, are robust defender teams, including attorneys, paralegals, social workers, and administrative support staff. They provide legal representation and advocacy throughout Massachusetts to children and indigent parents in care and protection, child requiring assistance, termination of parental rights, guardianship-of-a-minor cases, and other types of custody and adoption proceedings. Team members work diligently to help and support FJA clients to achieve their legal and life goals.
Springfield, the third largest city in Massachusetts, is located in Western Massachusetts along the Connecticut River. It is centrally located: Northampton is 25 minutes away, Hartford is 27 minutes away, Worcester is 55 minutes away, Boston is 90 minutes away, and New York City is 2 ½ hours away. Springfield is best known for being the birthplace of basketball and the home of Theodor Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss.”
Family Justice Advocates is seeking a Supervising Staff Attorney with a minimum of five years of experience providing representation in child welfare/family regulation cases for its office in Springfield, Massachusetts. Under the direction of the office’s Attorney in Charge, the Supervising Staff Attorney will assist in the supervision of staff Trial Attorneys. The Supervising Staff Attorney will also have his or her own reduced caseload. Clients are children and indigent parents who are parties to care and protection, child requiring assistance, termination of parental rights cases, and children and custodians in guardianship-of-a-minor cases in the Juvenile and Probate & Family Courts of the Commonwealth. Attorneys interested in applying for this position are invited to submit an application, as described below.
The direct representation duties of the Supervising Staff Attorney include:
- Interviewing, consulting with, and advising adult clients;
- Visiting, interviewing, consulting with, and advising child clients and determining their positions, consistent with CAFL Performance Standards;
- Conducting investigation and obtaining discovery, including locating and interviewing witnesses, obtaining and reviewing documentary evidence, consulting with service providers, and exploring options regarding placement, visits, and services;
- Conducting legal research and writing;
- Preparing and filing appropriate motions;
- Preparing for and representing clients in pretrial proceedings, hearings, trials, and interlocutory appeals, as well as in the development of service and permanency plans, in court investigator meetings, negotiation, and informal advocacy;
- Advocating for appropriate services for clients and other family members;
- Conducting case-related research on clinical and medical issues;
- Working with consulting and testifying experts; and,
- Coordinating advocacy with CAFL social work staff.
The supervisory duties of the Supervising Staff Attorney include:
- Meeting with supervisees, individually and in groups, to review case preparation and performance;
- Supervising staff Trial Attorneys in court, including second-seating of trials and significant evidentiary hearings;
- Formally and informally evaluating the performance of staff attorneys;
- Planning and conducting in-office training;
- Supervising other staff, such as student interns, as directed by the office’s Attorney in Charge; and,
- Attending CAFL supervisor meetings.
Supervising Staff Attorney - Family Justice Advocates - CAFL Hampden County Conflicts Office
||Committee for Public Counsel Services
||$88,195 - $126,096, commensurate with years of experience
|Posting Start Date:
MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
The following attributes are required for the position of Supervising Staff Attorney:
- 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;
- A minimum of five years of experience representing parents and children in family regulation matters, including experience as counsel for a parent and counsel for a child in termination of parental rights trials;
- Access to an automobile in order to travel to courts, clients, and investigation locations that are not easily accessible by public transportation; and,
- Access to a personal computer with home internet access sufficient to work remotely.
There is a strong preference for applicants with seven or more years’ experience in family regulation matters.
Interested candidates should submit a resume, a legal writing sample, and a statement of interest describing the applicant’s trial experience in family regulation cases and experience as a supervisor.
A Supervising Staff Attorney must also have:
- A demonstrated commitment to the principle of zealous advocacy in the representation of children and indigent parents in family regulation cases;
- The knowledge, skills, and ability to use remote technology tools to effectively supervise staff and represent clients;
- Foreign language skills are desirable.
- Strong interpersonal skills, analytical ability, and legal skills;
- The ability to work in a community, both independently and collaboratively;
- A commitment to working with a culturally diverse, low-income population; and,
- The ability and commitment to complete annual performance evaluations in a timely and comprehensive manner.
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 Chief Human Resources Officer.
||This listing expires on: 8/2/2023