THE NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE is building a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office in Wayne County and we invite you to join our team as we represent our clients with excellence. 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 team of highly organized, self-driven, and resilient individuals dedicated to our mission. The Criminal Defense Practice at NDS Detroit will represent residents of Wayne County who are charged with felony crimes and cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Clients are represented by teams composed of lawyers, investigators, social workers, client advocates, team administrators and paralegals. 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 and social service needs of clients while treating each client with dignity and respect.

The Social Work Supervisor is part of the visionary leadership team at NDS Detroit. The Social Work Supervisor is a professional who has a strong knowledge of the criminal legal system; understands the principles of servant leadership; and is an experienced leader of people and teams. The Social Work Supervisor will manage a team of social workers and client advocates in supporting our clients. As a leader at the organization, the Social Work Supervisor will help shape our present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping shape our practice and our culture in alignment with our values. At NDS Detroit, how we represent our clients is as important as individual case outcomes and our ideal Social Work Supervisor approaches organizational culture and staff supervision with equal rigor and commitment.


  1. Embody NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence.
  2. Manage a team of social workers charged with advocating for reduced sentences and/or alternatives to incarceration our clients.
  3. Provide leadership, clinical supervision and consultation to social workers in their advocacy on behalf of clients.
  4. Train and supervise staff, including attorneys, social workers, case advocates, investigators, and team administrators.
  5. Provide vigorous advocacy work with energy and enthusiasm to citizens in Wayne County’s criminal courts in a limited number of cases.
  6. Ensure the coordination of work performed by social work team members and ensure collaboration within the practice and with cross-colleagues (immigration defense/civil defense/family defense) to obtain comprehensive legal outcomes for clients.
  7. Meet with stakeholders to develop partnerships and identify ways to collaborate, innovate and address service gaps within Wayne County

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will bring:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal justice, indigent defense, racial equity and social justice issues and the Wayne County communities.
  2. Extensive experience advocating for clients in a public defender office or similar direct client services context. Formal training in social work supervision is preferred.
  3. Comprehensive knowledge of social casework objectives, principles and methods; casework management and organization; community resources; and interviewing techniques and problem solving methodology.
  4. A track record of strategically guiding casework and relationships; applying good and practiced judgment; and routinely pushing through roadblocks to achieve your goals.
  5. Management skills and a coaching mindset.
  6. Doggedness and resilience combined with people and situation smarts.
  7. An ability to quickly build relationships across varying identities, income levels, races and ethnicities.
  8. A high level of organizational and administrative skills.
  9. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  10. A master’s degree in social work combined with valid clinical social work licensure or certification in Michigan.
  11. 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 with the subject line, “Detroit Social Work Supervisor.”  Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF. 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.