Neighborhood Defender Service is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office in Wayne County and we are expanding our services. We invite you to join our team as we build a Civil Defense Practice, where our goal is to decrease housing insecurity and safeguard our clients’ right to secure, stable housing while combating the destabilization and disintegration of Wayne County’s diverse communities. 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 highly organized, self-driven, and resilient individual dedicated to our mission.

The Civil Defense Practice will collaborate with the Criminal Defense Practice at NDS Detroit, which represents residents of Wayne County who are charged with felony crimes and cannot afford to hire a lawyer. NDS adheres to a client-centered approach to representation that emphasizes a heightened responsiveness to clients’ 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 ideal Housing Defense Attorney is an experienced attorney who demonstrates a commitment to serving marginalized persons and communities, preferably with experience in a public defender office or fast-paced legal services organization. The Housing Defense 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 Housing Defense Attorney approaches the cultivation of a positive office culture and the representation of indigent clients with equal rigor and commitment.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Embody NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence.
  2. Provide vigorous advocacy work with energy and enthusiasm to clients and their families in Wayne County who face housing insecurity.
  3. Engage in frequent court appearances and litigation, including legal arguments, hearings, and trials.
  4. File motions, briefs, and other related documents on a frequent, timely basis.
  5. Provide effective oral advocacy in negotiations, hearings, and trials.
  6. Advocate for clients to access and obtain benefits, subsidies, and other services to resolve Housing Court proceedings
  7. Interview clients and their families in person and through virtual means, conduct legal research and write pre-pleading letters, pleadings, motions, and memoranda on behalf of clients.
  8. Coordinate work performed by team members (social workers, client advocates, and team administrators).
  9. Work with cross-practice colleagues (criminal/civil defense) to obtain positive and comprehensive legal outcomes for clients.
  10. Represent NDS at community-based initiatives on housing issues on an as-needed basis.
  11. Develop forms, processes, and procedures to implement within the project.
  12. Evaluate and monitor the implementation process through use of an internal case management system (defenderData), including generating and using reports to identify trends, meet reporting requirements, and continually improvement the delivery of services.

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will bring:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal justice, indigent defense, civil Gideon, racial equity and social justice issues, and the communities of Wayne County.
  2. Experience with landlord/tenant, subsidized housing, and foreclosures.
  3. Knowledge regarding rapidly changing executive orders and agency policies, particularly eviction moratoriums and eviction diversion programs, both state and federal.
  4. 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.
  5. An ability to quickly build relationships across varying identities, income levels, races and ethnicities.
  6. A high level of organizational and administrative skills to handle a high caseload.
  7. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  8. Doggedness and resilience combined with people and situation smarts.
  9. A license to practice law in Michigan. Attorneys admitted to the Michigan Bar with experience in housing court in Wayne County (and Michigan generally) are strongly encouraged to apply.
  10. Bilingual (Spanish or Arabic) individuals 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 DetroitHiring@ndsdetroit.org with the subject line, “Eviction Defense Practice Staff 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.