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Applications Due Sept. 14: CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division 2020 Fall Civil Commitment Certification Training Course

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, treatment, or care in any way. Lawyers, law students, judges, and other legal professionals in Massachusetts can find more on scheduling a Free & Confidential appointment with a licensed clinician here.

CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is accepting applications for their Fall 2020 Civil Commitment Certification Training course until September 14.

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Working with the CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division panel offers an opportunity to protect civil rights of people with psychiatric challenges. As the CPCS training description webpage explains,

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months or a year, and treated with anti-psychotic medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles people to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected. Civil commitment cases offer frequent litigation experience, client contact, and the satisfaction of providing zealous client-centered advocacy to some of the most vulnerable clients in the Commonwealth.

During the COVID-19 pandemic civil commitment petitions and petitions to treat are still being filed and trials are still being held, although telephonically or by videoconference for now as courts slowly re-open for in-person hearings.

Because we cannot meet in person during the pandemic, we have developed an online certification course. This course features new and improved content including asynchronous readings, videos, and short assignments which you do on your own at your own pace, combined with live Zoom sessions including Q & A, discussions, and small group skills exercises. The course concludes with a mock trial on Zoom where you will be able to practice what you learned in the first part of the course and get constructive feedback from experienced mental health attorneys before taking your first commitment case.


Fall 2020 Training Course Program Details

The training course involves two parts: 7 live, online lectures with short assignments, and (2) one half-day mock trial session.

Online Lectures: 7 live 90-minute plenary session lectures will take place online on the dates listed below. The time commitment expected for lectures and completing short assignments, readings, short videos, and other materials is approximately 8 hours / week for the full weeks. The exact timing of the lectures on each scheduled day is TBD.

  • Friday, October 16 (morning or midday)
  • Tuesday, October 20 (afternoon)
  • Friday, October 23 (morning or midday)
  • Tuesday, October 27 (afternoon)
  • Friday, October 30 (morning or midday)
  • Tuesday, November 3 (afternoon)
  • Friday, November 6 (morning or midday)

Half-Day Mock Trial: To be scheduled during the week of November 16 – 20. You must complete the entire course and attend all live Zoom sessions to be certified to the Mental Health Litigation Division panel.


Applications Due September 14

The cost of the training is $150 upon registration if you are accepted. In addition to the online course you will receive a copy of the newly revised 7th edition of the MCLE Mental Health Proceedings in Massachusetts: A Manual for Defense Counsel (2020). Applicants will be notified about acceptance status after the September 14th deadline; please allow up to ten (10) days after the application deadline before inquiring about status. Note: to submit your application, you must press Submit at the bottom left hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application in one sitting you may press the Save button, on the bottom right hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.



Learn more about working for CPCS here. For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Online Certification Training or for questions about the application, please contact Beau Kealy at or 617-910-5714.

CATEGORIES: Announcements | Career Planning & Transition
TAGS: access to justice | new lawyers

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