Anne Goldbach’s journey

Our classmate Anne Goldbach is the Forensic Services Unit Director for the Committee for Public Counsel (CPCS) in Massachusetts and has been a CPCS advocate for its indigent clients for the past 39 years.

After graduating from BC Law, she joined the Massachusetts Defenders Committee as a public defender in 1978. Upon creation of CPCS, Anne joined the staff of the Roxbury Defenders in January 1985, where she became a supervising attorney. She was selected as attorney-in-charge of the Boston office in November 1987 and, after running the Boston Trials Unit for ten years, became CPCS Director of Forensic Service. In this capacity, Anne acts as a resource on forensics issues and experts for public defenders and bar advocates across the Commonwealth.

Throughout her career, Anne has been actively involved in continuing legal education and criminal defense training programs, and has lectured on numerous forensics topics.

She serves on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Council for Public Justice and on the board of the Thomas J. Drinan Memorial Fellowship Fund at Suffolk University Law School. She is a past president and current board member of MACDL and is a member of the state’s Forensic Sciences Advisory Board.

In 2016, Anne was presented with the Clarence Gideon Award by the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL). According to the MACDL, the honor is not awarded every year; it is “presented to only those worthy to be recognized as champions of the noblest principle that all persons shall stand equal before the law.” Anne is also the recipient of the 2014 Woman of the Year Award presented by the BC Law Women’s Law Center; the 2013 CPCS Edward J. Duggan Public Defender Award for Outstanding Service, given annually to the public defender who best represents zealous advocacy; and the 2000 BC Law Hon. David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award awarded annually to a graduate who has made a noteworthy contribution to the public sector or in public interest law.

A Q&A with Anne…


What motivated you to pursue your career?

My parents–by word and deed–ignited my desire to help others. They supported my desire to go to law school and to stay here in Boston so that I could attend BC Law rather than going home to Indianapolis and as my career aspirations developed, to follow my dreams of being a public defender.

Was there anything in your BC Law school experience that led you in the direction of legal services work or is memorable to you in any way?

The most important experience for me was the clinical program run by Professor Bob Bloom. He helped me with my first cases as a Rule 3:03 defender and he was very, very supportive of my desire to become a public defender. I also feel grateful for the inspiration and support I received from professors John Flackett and Len Strickman.

What impact has your work had on the judicial system or society in general?

In my trial work as a public defender, I believe (and hope!) that I made a difference in the lives of many individuals by zealously defending their constitutional rights and by obtaining acquittals or favorable solutions in their cases. At Mass. Defenders, and then CPCS, we have often litigated on the cutting edge of criminal defense issues which sometimes–often after years of hard work–resulted in changes in case law that have benefited criminal defendants. In my work as the forensic services director, I have helped attorneys all over the state with a wide variety of forensic issues in their cases. We have also been instrumental in helping defense attorneys and defendants affected by various crime lab scandals here in Massachusetts including the most recent ones involving Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak.

Do you plan to slow down at all soon?

Not at this time.

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