The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing criminal, civil, and family representation to residents of Northern Manhattan 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 for a Community Outreach Coordinator within our Family Defense Practice. 


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 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.  The Community Outreach Coordinator will work closely with the Managing Attorney to develop relationships with community organizations for the advancement of our clients’ goals, build campaigns to inform impacted communities in upper Manhattan of their rights during ACS investigations and to educate others on the negative impacts of family policing, analyze data produced by ACS in support of campaigns.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Build FDP’s outreach efforts amongst the impacted communities of Upper Manhattan, including but not limited to raising awareness about FDP’s work, engaging with impacted communities, coalition building with partner organizations, and coordinating resource development;
  • Develop and implement a Know York Rights (KYR) program to empower impacted communities during ACS investigations;
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with:
    • religious and social institutions in Upper Manhattan where KYRs can be held;
    • impacted parent organizations and activists;
    • community organizations in New York City working to empower communities impacted by carceral systems and to reduce the harms of all kinds of policing, incarceration and punishment.
  • Support coordination of FDP-related advocacy and organizing campaigns at the city and state level;
  • Work with Out of Court Advocacy Staff to build a database of resources for clients including but not limited to genuinely supportive services, food and groceries, clothing and baby gear;
  • Support media engagement and narrative work as needed.

Desired Capabilities and Qualifications:

  • 3 years experience organizing in the New York City, preferably in Harlem and Upper Manhattan
  • Strong commitment to social justice, racial equity, and civil rights;
  • Proven track record of building strong relationships;
  • Ability to work independently, think creatively, and prioritize multiple tasks;
  • Ability to learn new skills and willingness to be coached and trained;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Openness and ability to adapt and respond to changes in the environment;
  • Flexible working hours, including some evenings and weekends (compensatory time is offered for evening and weekend work);
  • Proficiency with online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft 365/Microsoft Teams/Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Bilingual Spanish/English candidates highly preferred.


NDS offers a generous compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, 403(b) and vacation benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS Collective Bargaining Agreement with ALAA-UAW Local 2325.

How to Apply

Interested applications should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Zainab Akbar at with the subject line, “NDS FDP Community Outreach Coordinator Posting.” Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF. Applications will be accepted until May 15, 2022 and candidates will be interviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. For more information about NDS, please visit our website at

The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem is committed to maintaining a diverse environment that reflects the community we serve. NDS is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.  We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, orientations, experiences, and communities to apply.