POSITIONS AVAILABLE: Client Advocates, NDS Texas (Houston)

NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE has created NDS Texas, a new client-centered, holistic public defense office to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border by providing criminal defense representation and Padilla consultations to individuals arrested by Texas law enforcement along that border through Operation Lone Star. 

NDS represents non-citizen clients who are charged with crimes and who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Clients are represented by teams composed of lawyers, investigators, social workers, client advocates, and team administrators. 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 needs of clients. NDS Texas is funded by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

The first NDS Texas office is based in San Antonio and opened in January 2022. A second office will open in Houston in August or September 2022. Flexible work arrangements or telecommuting may be available for the right candidate. Periodic travel to border counties and frequent travel to the jails will be required. Most legal proceedings will initially occur via Zoom.


  1. Embrace NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence.
  2. Provide vigorous support with energy and enthusiasm to
  3. Work closely and collaboratively with team members to advocate for reduced sentences and/or alternatives to incarceration for clients. This advocacy includes:
    • Gathering factual mitigation through interviews and obtaining records;
    • Analyzing records;
    • Researching and recommending alternatives to incarceration;
    • Writing pre-pleading memoranda to judges and prosecutors seeking reduced sentences and alternatives to incarceration.
  4. Work closely with clients to:
    • Make appropriate referrals to address clients’ social service needs (drug treatment, mental health treatment, housing and other benefits);
    • Assist clients in navigating social service
  5. Advocate on behalf of clients to social service agencies.
  6. Advocate orally and in writing on behalf of clients to judges, programs and

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will bring:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal and immigration justice, indigent defense, racial equity, social justice issues, and a substantive understanding of the biases impacting our clients.
  2. Doggedness and resilience combined with people and situation
  3. An ability to quickly build relationships with people of varying identities, income levels, races, and ethnicities.
  4. An ability to work cooperatively in a team setting.
  5. A high level of organizational and administrative skills to handle a high caseload and multi-task in a very fast-paced
  6. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in
  7. A bachelor’s
  8. Spanish language fluency is required.

Compensation: Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale. Exceptional benefits package includes full medical and dental for employee and family, retirement, life and AD&D insurance, paid vacation, holiday, and sick time.

How to Apply:

Interviews are being held on a rolling basis, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume to texashiring@neighborhooddefender.org with the subject line, “Houston Client Advocate.” 

For more information about NDS, please visit our website at www.neighborhooddefender.org.

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.