Trial Attorney - CAFL Pittsfield
The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) is seeking a barred attorney to represent children and parents in family regulation cases in its Pittsfield Trial Office. CAFL provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in family regulation matters, including care and protection (C&P) proceedings, children 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 CAFL Berkshire Trial Office provides public defense in family regulation matters and is in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Berkshire CAFL has a strong culture of teamwork and strongly believes in community engagement and partnership to assist clients as they navigate the family regulation system.
Situated within the heart of the Berkshires in Massachusetts, Pittsfield offers a laidback city atmosphere inspired by its local roots. The Berkshires are a special place, filled with artists, artisans, and purveyors who thrive on originality. Deep, historic roots can be traced to this region, and yet it’s laced with a refreshingly modern vibe in its dining, culture, and design. All of this is within the backdrop of the Berkshires, the mountains of western Massachusetts with outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, viewing spectacular Fall foliage, and renowned annual festivals including the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
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 CRA 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, a CAFL attorney will fight to ensure that they are provided a permanent home – one that allows them to stay together.
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.
New Trial Attorneys in the CAFL Offices begin their CPCS career with a nationally recognized, comprehensive, skills-based training course to ensure they are ready to represent their clients to their full capabilities. Continuing legal education programs for new and experienced Trial Attorneys are held periodically to ensure that our Trial Attorneys are up to date on the law and have the skills necessary to provide zealous representation to their clients.
The duties of the Trial Attorney include:
- Interviewing adult clients;
- Visiting and interviewing child clients;
- Conducting legal research and writing;
- Conducting pre-72 hour hearing investigation including reviewing pleadings and exhibits, locating and interviewing witnesses, preparing witnesses, gathering facts from the DCF social worker and other collateral providers, consulting with other parties' counsel regarding their position, collecting and reviewing documentary evidence, identifying objections to testimonial and documentary evidence, and drafting appropriate motions;
- Obtaining entire DCF file, reviewing DCF action plans, proposing plan changes, advising client on whether to sign, meeting with court investigator, preparing client to meet with court investigator, and preparing motions to strike inadmissible evidence contained in the court investigator report;
- Preparing necessary motions regarding outstanding discovery, identifying matters requiring further hearing (e.g., services, DCF reasonable efforts, visitation), preparing pre-trial memo, and developing trial strategy with client;
- Preparing for Foster Care Reviews;
- Reviewing DCF's permanency plans and filing objections, if necessary;
- Investigating and representing client's position in extraordinary medical treatment hearings;
- Filing motions challenging DCF decisions;
- Conducting care and protection trials and termination of parental rights trials;
- Representing clients in interlocutory proceedings;
- Working with the legal team, including social workers and paralegals;
- Conducting post-judgment representation; and,
- Other duties as assigned.