THE NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE is building a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office in Wayne County and we invite you to join our team as we represent our clients with excellence. Building on 30 years of experience of providing high quality representation, we have expanded our efforts to bring the same caliber of representation to the communities of Wayne County. We are seeking a team of highly organized, self-driven, and resilient individuals dedicated to our mission. The Criminal Defense Practice at NDS Detroit represents residents of Wayne County who are charged with felony crimes and cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Clients are represented by teams composed of lawyers, investigators, social workers, client advocates, and team administrators. NDS adheres to a client-centered approach to representation that emphasizes a heightened responsiveness to clients’ needs prior to arrest, while a case is pending, and after the case concludes. NDS is committed to addressing the comprehensive legal and social service needs of clients while treating each client with dignity and respect.

The Managing Attorney is part of the visionary leadership team at NDS Detroit. The Managing Attorney is a seasoned trial attorney who has a strong knowledge of criminal procedure from arraignments to appeals; understands the principles of servant leadership; and is an experienced leader of people and teams. The Managing Attorney reports to the Managing Director and supports our work by managing the Criminal Defense Team. As a senior leader at the organization, the Managing Attorney will help shape our present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping shape our practice and our culture in alignment with our values. At NDS Detroit, how we represent our clients is as important as individual case outcomes and our ideal Managing Attorney approaches organizational culture and staff supervision with equal rigor and commitment.

1. Embody NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence.
2. Manage, lead and oversee teams consisting of attorneys, investigators, social workers, client advocates and team administrators charged with representing clients accused of felony crimes.
3. Train, supervise, and identify professional development opportunities for staff; provide oversight and direction to supervisors and employees in accordance with NDS’ policies and procedures; and develop resources for optimal job performance of direct reports as needed.
4. Foster a spirit of teamwork and unity among team members.
5. Provide direct representation to a limited number of clients.
6. Plan and maintain work systems, procedures and policies that enable the optimum performance of the Criminal Defense Team.
7. Contribute leadership and coordination of the integrated holistic services that NDS provides to clients throughout our criminal defense practice.
8. Maintain employee work schedules including assignments, training, vacation and paid time off.
9. Prepare periodic reports for management, as necessary or requested, to track strategic goal accomplishment.
10. Communicate regularly with other managers, the managing director, the executive director, and other designated contacts within NDS.


The ideal candidate will bring:

1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal justice, indigent defense, racial equity and social justice issues and Wayne County communities.
2. Extensive experience representing clients in criminal cases, including substantial trial experience and knowledge of criminal procedure from arraignments to appeals (preferably in a public defense setting).
3. A track record of strategically guiding cases, projects and teams; applying good and practiced judgment; and routinely pushing through roadblocks to achieve your goals.
4. Management experience and a coaching mindset, preferably in a public defense, criminal defense, and/or notfor-profit setting.
5. An ability to quickly build relationships across varying identities, income levels, races and ethnicities.
6. A high level of organizational and administrative skills.
7. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
8. A license to practice law in Michigan or in another state; and/or the capability of becoming licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan within six months. Attorneys admitted to the Michigan Bar with experience in the criminal courts of Wayne County (and Michigan generally) are strongly encouraged to apply.


Compensation is commensurate with experience. Full medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits, are provided.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to with the subject line, “Criminal Managing Attorney.” Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF.

The Neighborhood Defender Service is committed to creating a diverse environment that reflects the community we serve. NDS is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. NDS values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender fluid people.