The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office providing free legal representation to residents of Northern Manhattan. In contrast to a traditional public defense practice, NDS clients have an entire team fighting on their behalf, including criminal and civil attorneys, family defense attorneys, advocates, social workers, investigators, paralegals, law school and social work interns, and pro bono attorneys. NDS deploys all of these resources on behalf of our clients, addressing the underlying issues that bring them into contact with the criminal legal system. NDS staff use their engagement with a client as an opportunity to disentangle them from the system completely. This approach allows defense to extend well beyond the courtroom, with robust social services and comprehensive teams meant to protect our clients from the damages of criminal legal proceedings. When clients face consequences with employment, schooling, immigration or in family or housing court, or other destabilizing contact with the legal system, NDS works alongside them to resolve these issues.


NDS seeks a Litigation Supervisor to support the Civil Defense Practice in providing the highest quality legal services to its clients. The Civil Defense Practice plays an integral role in NDS’s fulfillment of its holistic mission. The practice works to prevent the destabilization that befalls clients and their families due to the harsh civil consequences of contact with the criminal legal and family court systems through affirmative and defensive representation in immigration housing, employment, benefits, forfeiture, reentry services, police misconduct and other collateral consequences matters. In addition, the practice is part of the monumental movement toward a civil Gideon, providing assigned counsel representation to low- and no-income tenants facing a wide range of eviction proceedings in order to safeguard the right to secure, stable housing and combat the destabilization and disintegration of New York’s diverse communities. The Litigation Supervisor will play an integral role in supporting all aspects of the Civil Defense Practice’s work by:

  • Developing and maintaining expertise in all substantive areas of work within the Civil Defense Practice to promote the provision of excellent, client-centered representation;
  • In collaboration with Supervising Attorneys, supporting and supervising novel and complex litigation through collaborating on case strategy, reviewing and supporting written submissions, and co-counseling trials and hearings;
  • Designing, implementing, and coordinating internal and external trainings and resources to promote practice development;
  • Identifying and supporting opportunities to challenge practices negatively impacting the Civil Defense Practice’s clients and promote better client outcomes, including through strategic litigation, amicus briefs, legislative advocacy, and coalition participation.
  • Providing additional supervision support as needed;
  • Carrying a modest caseload representative of the Civil Defense Practice’s varied practice areas.


  • A demonstrated commitment to social justice, civil legal services, and indigent defense.
  • D. Degree and admission to practice law in New York State or eligible for admission without examination;
  • At least eight years’ experience in most or all of the substantive practice areas of the Civil Defense Practice including immigration, housing, employment, benefits, civil forfeiture, and civil rights and police misconduct, and enthusiasm for gaining expertise in areas with less experience;
  • Comfort working across administrative, state, and federal forums;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to manage a diverse caseload;
  • Ability to work cooperatively with attorneys and other NDS advocates, and problem-solve independently.


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.


Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume in a single PDF with the subject line, “Litigation Supervisor, Civil Defense Practice” to: Due to the volume of applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

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. 


*Please note that NDS’s office is currently operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon reopening, the Staff Attorney position will be an in-person position based in NDS’s Harlem office.