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 are expanding 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 will represent 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, team administrators and paralegals. 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 Chief Investigator is part of the visionary leadership team at NDS Detroit. The Chief Investigator is a professional who has a strong knowledge of the criminal legal system; understands the principles of servant leadership; and is an experienced leader of people and teams. The Chief Investigator will manage a team of investigators in supporting our clients. As a leader at the organization, the Chief Investigator 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 Chief Investigator 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 a team of investigators charged with preparing clients’ cases.
  3. Provide leadership, supervision and consultation to team members in their investigative work on behalf of clients.
  4. Develops policies and procedures for the team.
  5. Train and supervise staff, including attorneys, social workers, case advocates, investigators, and team administrators.
  6. Provide vigorous investigative work with energy and enthusiasm to citizens in Wayne County’s criminal courts in a limited number of cases, including the most complex cases requiring advanced knowledge and experience in investigative methods and techniques.
  7. Ensure the coordination of work performed by investigative team members and ensure collaboration within the practice and with cross-colleagues (immigration defense/civil defense/family defense) to obtain comprehensive legal outcomes for clients.


The ideal candidate will bring:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal justice, indigent defense, racial equity and social justice issues and the Wayne County communities.
  2. Extensive experience in criminal investigations, including knowledge of investigation techniques and procedures; knowledge of laws governing arrests, rules of evidence and court procedures; knowledge of techniques of securing and preserving evidence, and presenting it in physical, oral or written form. Experience in a public defender office or similar professional context is preferred.          
  3. Comprehensive knowledge of investigation techniques, principles and methods; case management and organization; community resources; interviewing techniques and problem solving methodology.
  4. A track record of strategically guiding projects and relationships; applying good and practiced judgment; and routinely pushing through roadblocks to achieve your goals.
  5. Management skills and a coaching mindset.
  6. Doggedness and resilience combined with people and situation smarts.
  7. An ability to quickly build relationships across varying identities, income levels, races and ethnicities.
  8. A high level of organizational and administrative skills.
  9. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  10. A Bachelor’s Degree.
  11. Bilingual (Spanish or Arabic) individuals are encouraged to apply.


Compensation is commensurate with experience. Full medical and dental benefits, as well as retirement plan with company match, robust time off perks, paid parental leave and other benefits, are provided. The salary range for this position is $57,300 – 91,500.


Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to with the subject line, “Detroit Chief Investigator, Criminal Defense Practice.”  Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF. For more information about NDS, please visit our website at

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.