Neighborhood Defender Service Inc

Staff Attorney and Fall 2024 Law Graduate - Family Defense Practice

Job Locations US-NY-New York
Position Type
Regular Full-Time


The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing the highest quality representation in criminal, civil, immigration and family courts to residents of Northern Manhattan and the Bronx who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. NDS clients are represented by multidisciplinary teams including attorneys, advocates, team administrators and social workers. NDS is accepting applications within our Family Defense Practice for Staff Attorneys to join immediately as well as for Law Graduates to join in Fall 2024. 




The Family Defense Practice at NDS represents parents in family policing cases (sometimes called “child welfare” cases) filed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) as well as related family court cases, including custody, visitation and termination of parental rights proceedings.  Through our holistic approach to representation, the Family Defense Practice provides parents with the help they need—both inside and outside of court—to keep their families safe and stable. Parents are represented not only by a high-quality attorney, but also social workers, team administrators, and parent advocates.  NDS is committed to advancing due process rights for parents by fighting unwarranted state intervention in their lives and advocating for related systemic change.



  • Provide excellent client-centered representation with energy, enthusiasm and a commitment to trauma-informed, anti-racist, intersectional, non-judgmental, and holistic advocacy throughout the case.
  • Take primary responsibility, with supervisory support, of all aspects of Article 10 and related custody, visitation, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights and other cases including motions practice, discovery, oral argument, settlement negotiations, and hearings and trials.
  • Engage in frequent in-person and virtual court hearings and litigation, often on an emergency basis.
  • Staff intake in person and regularly, as assigned.
  • Meet regularly with clients in-person in court and at NDS offices.
  • Be responsive to and communicate clearly with clients who are often under great stress.
  • Engage in formal and informal in-person and electronic advocacy with opposing counsel and attorney(s) for children.
  • File motions, briefs and other related court papers on a frequent, timely basis.
  • Provide effective oral advocacy in negotiation and argument in Family Court.
  • Collaborate with social workers, client advocates, and other attorneys to secure optimal outcomes on behalf of clients.
  • Work under high pressure in an atmosphere of frequent emergencies and tight deadlines.
  • Travel regularly to the satellite office in the South Bronx or Lower Manhattan and to Bronx or Manhattan Family Court and occasionally to the Central Office in Harlem.



  • JD. degree and admission to practice law in New York State or eligible for admission;
  • Demonstrated commitment to parents’ rights, indigent defense, social justice issues and/or the Harlem or Bronx communities;
  • Must be very flexible and possess a high level of organizational and administrative skills in order to handle a high caseload;
  • Must possess written and oral communication skills;
  • Must be able to work cooperatively with attorneys and other NDS advocates, and problem-solve independently;
  • Candidates with experience representing parents in Article 10 Abuse and Neglect proceedings or equivalent experience providing defense/direct representation are strongly encouraged to apply;
  • Lived experience with the Family Policing System and other systems impacting NDS’s clients strongly preferred;
  • Fluency in Spanish is strongly preferred.



Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale.  For this position, the salary range for attorneys with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience is $79,000 to $104,000. Full medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits, are provided. The salary, benefits, and employment policies relevant to this position are governed by the CBA between NDS and the NDS Union, part of ALAA UAW 2325.


How to Apply

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume in a single PDF. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


Don’t meet every single requirement? Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. At NDS we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyways. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.


USD $79,000.00/Yr.


USD $104,000.00/Yr.


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