Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

Legal Advocate, Civil Defense Practice – Collateral Consequences Team

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. NDS Clients are represented by multidisciplinary teams including attorneys, advocates and social workers. NDS is accepting applications for a Legal Advocate for the Civil Defense Practice.


The Collateral Consequences Team, part of NDS’s Civil Defense Practice, plays an integral role in NDS’s fulfillment of its holistic mission by working to prevent the unjust and destabilizing loss of housing, employment, property and benefits that our clients and their family members face as the result of contact with the criminal, child welfare, and civil systems. The Legal Advocate is responsible for handling a caseload involving advice and representation in administrative forums for matters involving public benefits access, property seizure, housing subsidy termination, employment license revocation, reentry, and other collateral consequences.


  • Provide excellent, client-centered representation in the full range of matters handled by the Collateral Consequences Team;
  • Be primarily responsible, with supervisory support, for all aspects of client representation from intake through case resolution;
  • Work across practices and disciplines to mitigate the collateral consequences of contact with the criminal legal and child welfare systems through fielding internal referrals and providing advice, plea consultations, brief services, and full representation where appropriate;
  • Collaborate with social workers, advocates, and other attorneys to secure optimal outcomes on behalf of clients;
  • Make regular appearances in administrative forums across New York City;
  • Demonstrate energy, enthusiasm and ingenuity in working on challenging cases;
  • Regularly staff community intake to screen and advise community members seeking civil legal assistance.


  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • A demonstrated commitment to social justice issues and experience working with individuals of diverse backgrounds.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to manage a diverse caseload.
  • Must be able to travel throughout New York City to the various courts, administrative agencies and to client appointments.
  • Must be able to work cooperatively with attorneys and other NDS advocates, and problem-solve independently.
  • Fluency in Spanish is strongly preferred.


Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale.  Full medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits, are provided. The salary, benefits, and employment policies relevant to this position are governed by the CBA between NDS and the NDS Union, part of ALAA UAW 2325.


Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume in a single PDF with the subject line, “Legal Advocate, Collateral Consequences Team” to: Due to the volume of applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. 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 encourages people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender fluid people to apply.