Neighborhood Defender Service is 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 families impacted by the child welfare system in Wayne County. We are seeking a team of highly organized, self-driven, and resilient individuals dedicated to our mission.

The Civil Defense Practice at NDS Detroit represents clients  in landlord-tenant issues, misdemeanor and ordinance violations in district courts, housing issues, immigration issues, assistance in obtaining public benefits, driver’s license restoration, obtaining social security benefits, guardianships, divorce, resolution of domestic violence issues, substance abuse issues, assistance in providing supplemental parent support, and other ancillary matters pertaining to the resolution of matters with respect to the parent’s involvement with the Court and ancillary matters.  At NDS Detroit, clients and their families will have access to a suite of holistic legal and social services to address their complex needs.

The Civil Defense Attorney demonstrates a commitment to serving marginalized persons and communities and an enthusiasm for holistic defense. The ideal Civil Defense Attorney is an experienced attorney who demonstrates a commitment to serving marginalized persons and communities, preferably with experience in a public defender office, in a public interest organization, or in the civil legal services context. The Generalist Attorney will help shape our present and future—contributing to a collaborative environment and culture of excellence in alignment with our values. At NDS Detroit, how we represent our clients is as important as individual case outcomes and our ideal Staff Attorney approaches the cultivation of a positive office culture and the representation of indigent clients with equal rigor and commitment.


  1. Embrace NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence by providing vigorous representation with energy and enthusiasm to the residents of Wayne County.
  2. Engage in frequent court appearances from intake through final disposition.
  3. Interview clients and their families in the office or local jails, conduct legal research and writing on behalf of clients.
  4. Coordinate work performed by team members (social worker, client advocate, and team administrator).
  5. Work with cross-practice colleagues (criminal defense) to obtain favorable, comprehensive legal outcomes for clients.
  6. File motions, briefs and other related documents on a frequent, timely basis.
  7. Provide effective oral advocacy in negotiations, hearings, and trials in various civil proceedings.
  8. Work primarily at NDS’ main office when not in Court.

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will bring:

  • A demonstrated commitment to social justice, indigent defense, and racial equity and the Wayne County communities we serve.
  • Experience representing clients in a variety of civil legal proceedings. Experience handling family law cases and knowledge of civil court procedure from filing of complaint to trial is preferred.
  • A track record of strategically guiding casework, projects and/or relationships; applying good and practiced judgment; and routinely pushing through roadblocks to achieve your goals.
  • Supervisory skills and a coaching mindset are a PLUS.
  • Doggedness and resilience combined with people and situational smarts.
  • An ability to quickly build relationships across varying identities, income levels, races and ethnicities.
  • A high level of organizational and administrative skills to handle a high caseload.
  • Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  • 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 civil courts of Wayne County (and Michigan generally) are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish or Arabic) attorneys are encouraged to apply.

Compensation: 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, “Civil Defense 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 encourages people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender fluid people to apply.