The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing criminal, civil, immigration and family court representation to residents of Northern Manhattan who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. NDS clients are represented by multidisciplinary teams including attorneys, advocates and social workers from across practices. NDS seeks to hire an experienced attorney for our Civil Defense Practice.

The Civil Defense Practice plays an integral role in NDS’s fulfillment of its holistic mission. In addition to providing zealous representation to clients in criminal court or facing termination of their parental rights, NDS’s Civil Defense Practice represents clients facing the collateral consequences that stem from contact with those systems. We provide services in eviction prevention, employment matters, asset forfeiture proceedings, public benefits hearings, and civil rights in order to prevent and mitigate collateral consequences and provide essentials of life stability for clients, their family members, and the residents of Northern Manhattan.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Work as part of an interdisciplinary team that encompasses NDS’s Criminal Defense, Family Defense, and Immigration Defense practices and includes other attorneys, social workers and non-attorney advocates;
  • Collaborate with attorneys and advocates in NDS’s other practice areas to mitigate the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal justice and child welfare systems;
  • Conduct client intake;
  • Provide representation to clients in an array of collateral civil consequences, with an emphasis on arrest-based housing loss and exclusion, criminal records-based employment barriers, property forfeiture, government misconduct and reentry, as well as eviction defense cases assigned through New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel program;
  • Act as lead counsel in administrative hearings, civil court proceedings, Article 78 petitions, and appeals.


NDS is looking for attorneys with a demonstrated commitment to civil defense and social justice issues. The job requires energy, enthusiasm, a commitment to excellence and an unwavering commitment to clients and NDS’s holistic mission.

The ideal will applicant will:

  • Be admitted to the New York State bar or be eligible for admission;
  • Have a minimum of 2 years experience in civil legal services or other related experience;
  • Possess knowledge of and/or willingness to learn about the criminal justice and/or child welfare systems and their intersection with civil issues;
  • Foreign language fluency, particularly Spanish, is highly desirable


NDS offers a generous compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, 403(b), vacation and other benefits.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume as one PDF with the subject line, “Staff Attorney, Civil Defense Practice” to: We are looking to fill this position immediately.

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