Bill Leahy

Chief Counsel

Committee for Public Counsel Services

44 Bromfield Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108

(617) 482-6212 | Fax: (617) 988-8495
[email protected]


William J. (Bill) Leahy grew up in Boston, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1968, and Harvard Law School in 1974.  Between college and law school, he taught elementary school students at P.S. 20 in Hunts Point, the Bronx.  His legal career has been dedicated to the representation of indigent persons, first as a trial and appellate defender with the Massachusetts Defenders Committee for ten years, then as the first leader of the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) from 1984 to 1991, and since 1991 in his current position as CPCS chief counsel.

Bill was a member from 1991 to 2005 of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and was a member of the Boston Bar Association Executive Council from 2003 to 2006.  He has been an Adviser to the American Law Institute's (ALI) Model Penal Code sentencing project since 2001.  In May, 2009, at the ALI annual meeting, he moved successfully to amend the Council's decision to withdraw Model Penal Code capital punishment section 210.6 by adding the clarification that the withdrawal was predicated upon intractable obstacles to the even-handed application of the death penalty under current conditions.

Bill has served on the Boston Bar Association/Crime and Justice Foundation Task Force on Justice, the Superior Court Criminal Justice Study Committee, the Criminal History Systems Board, and the executive board of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  He is an active member of the National Legal Aid and Defender Assocation and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the American Council of Chief Defenders.  In April, 2007, Bill was appointed to serve on Governor Deval Patrick's Anti-Crime Council.  From 2008-2009 he served on the Boston Bar Association's (BBA) Civil Gideon Task Force, and from 2009 to date he has participated as a member of the BBA's Wrongful Conviction Task Force.

In September, 2005, he received the Award for Legal Excellence from the New England Bar Association, and the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award in June, 2005, from the Boston Inn of Court.  In June, 2004, he received the Clarence Earl Gideon Award from the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and in October, 2004, he received the Juvenile Bar Association's Judge Leo Lydon Award.  Bill was lead counsel in the landmark right-to-counsel case of Lavallee v. Justices in the Hampden Superior Court, 442 Mass. 228 (2004).

Phyllis E Mann - Wed, 02/03/2010 - 22:28

Author/Organization: Phyllis Mann, National Defender Leadership Institute (NDLI)
Publication Day: 04
Publication Month: 02
Publication Year: 2010
Link: view

From graduating Harvard Law in 1974 up to his intended retirement at the end of July 2010, Bill Leahy has dedicated his professional life to the representation of indigent people.  For 19 years he has be