The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing criminal, civil, and family representation. NDS Clients are represented by multidisciplinary teams. NDS is accepting applications for the position of Managing Director of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem office.


NDS is known nationally and internationally for its innovative, community-based, early-entry holistic public defense practice. Our dedicated staff strives to provide the highest quality legal representation to residents of Northern Manhattan, where our office is located. For 30 years, 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.

A core aspect of our holistic approach to public defense is a commitment to search for the underlying issues that bring our clients into contact with the criminal legal system, and to 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.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for implementation and oversight of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem’s program services.
  • Responsible for community outreach and partnerships.
  • Responsible for hiring and retaining a talented and diverse staff.
  • Responsible for participation on state and local boards, organizations, etc.
  • Will provide programmatic reporting to the NDS Harlem management board and funders.
  • Responsible for communication with Managing Attorneys, Supervisors, and Staff.
  • Reports to NDS, Inc.’s Chief of Staff.
  • Direct reports include the Managing Attorneys and General Counsel.
  • Ability to maintain productive, professional relationships with the local management board, Executive Director, Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, local staff, clients, community partners, and elected officials.
  • Responsible for staying within the approved budget.
  • Responsible for ensuring high-quality representation.
  • Responsible for promoting wellness of staff.

Desired Capabilities and Qualifications:

  • At least ten years’ experience in public defense in a criminal, parental representation, or
    civil defense setting;
  • Experience in supervision, management, administration in a non-profit organization or
    defender office.
  • Must possess strong organizational skills;
  • Must possess excellent interpersonal, analytical, writing, and communication skills;
  • Applicants must possess a demonstrated commitment to civil rights, indigent defense, social justice issues and/or the communities of Northern Manhattan; and
  • Must be able to work cooperatively in a team setting.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume and writing sample to with the subject line, “Managing Director.”

Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.