The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender agency, is seeking a highly experienced expert in the interplay of Massachusetts criminal law and federal immigration law to serve as the Director of the Immigration Impact Unit (IIU).  The IIU provides training, litigation support, and advice in individual cases to court-appointed counsel in all divisions of CPCS and engages in systemic litigation on issues regarding immigration enforcement and other issues impacting CPCS’ immigrant clients. The IIU is based in Malden, Massachusetts but provides expert advice, training, and litigation support throughout the state.

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 Private Counsel Division delivers legal services to indigent clients through assigned private attorneys in criminal defense trial, post-conviction, and parole cases as well as in civil commitment trials, registration administrative hearings, and appeals from those legal proceedings. To ensure the delivery of high-quality legal services, the Private Counsel Division supervises, trains, advises, and supports private attorneys in these areas as well as provides expertise in trial skills, post-convictions matters, immigration law, forensic evidence, expert witnesses, community resources, and sex offender civil commitment and registration.

OFFICE OVERVIEW

Although part of the Private Counsel Division, the Immigration Impact Unit (IIU) supports CPCS staff attorneys and bar advocates in all divisions of CPCS to provide equitable, client-centered representation to immigrant clients and provides technical assistance on relevant immigration issues. The IIU provides training, litigation support, and advice in individual cases on the impact of criminal and juvenile delinquency charges on a client’s immigration status, as well as the impact of a client’s immigration status on child welfare/family defense cases, mental health, and other civil commitment proceedings. The unit also engages in some systemic litigation on issues regarding immigration enforcement and other issues impacting CPCS clients.

The IIU is physically located in the CPCS Malden Office, where it shares office space with several other CPCS units. Located just outside of Boston, Malden has an estimated population of 66,263 people in 2020. Malden is a diverse community with large Brazilian and Vietnamese populations. Malden has several MBTA bus lines and is served by the Orange Line T.

Although situated in Malden, the IIU serves the entire state of Massachusetts. In 2023, the IIU provided support to more than 1400 immigrants from 86 countries. We worked with attorneys from every county in Massachusetts and all divisions of CPCS.

POSITION OVERVIEW

The Immigration Impact Unit Director oversees and manages the work of the IIU, including supervising attorney and non-attorney staff and strategically thinking about the growth and development of the IIU and its staff to promote equitable and zealous representation of all CPCS immigrant clients.  The Director is also responsible for developing, managing, and participating in the unit’s litigation involving the role of the state criminal justice system in the enforcement of immigration law, the disparate treatment of immigrants in the child welfare/family defense system, or involving other inequitable treatment of immigrants within Massachusetts criminal and civil legal systems.

Because the IIU is a very small unit serving approximately 3,000 court-appointed attorneys, the Director also directly performs the work of the unit, including providing training and case-specific advice and engaging in litigation undertaken by the unit. The Director also advises and supports CPCS Senior Management on immigration-related policy issues as needed.

This position reports to the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Private Counsel Division and is eligible for a hybrid work schedule.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The duties of the Director include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing all aspects of the Immigration Impact Unit, including developing goals and priorities for the Unit, supervising attorney and non-attorney support staff, including providing in-house training and promoting the professional development, and completing annual staff performance evaluations in a timely and comprehensive manner;
  • Providing immigration advice and expertise on individual cases to court-appointed attorneys in all divisions of CPCS throughout Massachusetts;
  • Developing, managing, and participating in the unit’s litigation involving inequitable treatment of immigrants within Massachusetts criminal and civil legal systems;
  • Developing, leading, and participating in training workshops for court-appointed attorneys and collaborating on trainings with other CPCS units and divisions;
  • Managing and drafting written resources, training materials, and practice advisories on relevant federal and state immigration law and policies for Massachusetts practitioners;
  • Supervising oversight of the CPCS immigration-related (“Padilla”) post-conviction sub-panel by the IIU’s Staff Counsel II, in coordination with the Private Counsel Division’s Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Unit;
  • Monitoring pending immigration-related policies, legislation, and litigation before the Massachusetts and federal appellate courts and submitting comments or testimony and filing amicus briefs when relevant and approved by the CPCS Committee;
  • Supervising maintenance of the IIU’s website;
  • Collaborating with external immigration advocates and providing expertise on behalf of CPCS;
  • Building and maintaining relationships with local and national organizations to leverage external resources to assist CPCS immigrant clients and to ensure their rights are including in advocacy efforts;
  • Working with the Human Resources Unit to ensure staff compliance with CPCS personnel policies; and,
  • Other duties as assigned.
Requirements
MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
  • The Director must be committed to serving a culturally diverse, low-income immigrant population and 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;
  • Minimum of 7 years’ experience in the interplay of criminal and immigration law;
  • Access to an automobile in order to travel to offices, courts, and training 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
  • 10 year’s experience in the interplay of criminal and immigration law;
  • Significant experience developing and participating in training programs remotely and in person;
  • Commitment to working with a culturally diverse, low-income population and a substantive understanding of the implicit biases impacting our clients;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the principle of zealous advocacy in the representation of indigent immigrants;
  • Excellent analytic, writing, and oral communication skills;
  • Some experience in the interplay of immigration law and child welfare/family defense law and/or other areas of law served by other divisions of CPCS preferred;
  • Prior management or supervisory experience preferred; and,
  • Proficiency with Excel and data analysis is strongly preferred.
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.