The Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) is known nationally and internationally for its innovative, community-based, early-entry, holistic public defense practice. For 30 years, our dedicated Harlem staff has provided the highest quality legal representation to residents of Northern Manhattan. NDS has represented clients with a team that includes criminal and civil attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, law and social work interns, and pro bono attorneys. NDS deploys all of these resources in the aggressive defense of its clients. Earlier this year, NDS cut the ribbon on NDS Detroit, our new office where we will bring the same award-winning services to our clients.

A core aspect of our holistic approach to public defense is a commitment to getting involved early and searching for the underlying issues that bring our clients into contact with the criminal legal system. We then provide comprehensive social service support to avoid or minimize future problems. Furthermore, when our clients face civil consequences in their employment, schooling, or in family, housing, or immigration court, NDS strives to help our clients resolve those issues, either through direct representation or referrals to appropriate service providers.

Position Summary

The board and Executive Director (ED) are looking for a strategic and process-minded leader who can effectively manage the day to day administrative activities for our rapidly growing organization. As the COO, you will have specific responsibility/oversight for Organizational Administration, Human Resources, Facilities Management, and Technology. It is essential that NDS have a COO who can set short- and long-term goals in line with our mission and deliverables; work with the ED and executive team to ensure that “bigger picture” goals are met; and motivate administrative staff to achieve their individual goals.


Reporting to the Chief of Staff, the COO will lead internal administrative operations and have
the following responsibilities in each NDS location:

  • Maintain offices that are positive, innovative, and highly productive;
  • Report directly to NDS, Inc.’s Chief of Staff;
  • Work with the ED, Chief of Staff, Chief Financial Officer, and Managing Directors in ensuring the smooth operation of the organization and preparing and adhering to budgets;
  • Oversee office administration functions, including the day to day technology and human resource departments, across multiple locations;
  • Coordinate the annual operations plan;
  • Implement and lead the performance management process that measures and evaluate progress against goals for the organization;
  • Ensure that all governmental and contractual regulations and requirements are disseminated to appropriate staff, and monitor compliance;
  • Work with Chief Financial Officer in designing and implementing timely calculations of salaries, bonuses, business insurance, healthcare, and other benefits as needed;
  • Oversee maintenance of all fixed assets;
  • Supervise and provide feedback to administrative staff, including providing regular progress reviews and plans for improvement; and,
  • Mentor and lead operations staff.

Requirements and Skills Sought:

  • 10 years of experience in a similar position, including minimally 5 years of experience managing administrative staff;
  • An MBA or similar advanced degree highly desired;
  • General Management—thorough understanding of HR; broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, information systems, human resources, and marketing;
  • Result oriented: Proven track record of meeting or exceeding goals and a bottom-line
  • Evidence of the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis,
    wisdom, experience, and judgment;
  • Problem solving, project management, and creative resourcefulness;
  • Leadership and Organization-exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder with ability to connect with staff both on an individual level and in groups;
  • Strong communication skills; and,
  • Recognize and be responsive to the needs of all stakeholders and partners of the organization, including funding organizations, the Board of Directors, local community advocates, participants, and employers.

Location and Travel

  • Position can be based in our NDS Harlem or NDS Detroit location
  • Up to 40% travel required between NDS office locations


This is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly respected organization. NDS will offer a competitive compensation package, including a strong base salary as well as comprehensive benefits.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume to with the subject line , “Chief Operating Officer.” For more information about NDS, please visit our website at

Diversity and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

NDS is committed to providing equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship status, national original, age, disability, marital status, ancestry, or any other legally protected status in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.