NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE has created NDS Texas, a new client-centered, holistic public defense office to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border by providing criminal defense representation and Padilla consultations to individuals arrested by Texas law enforcement along that border through Operation Lone Star.

NDS represents non-citizen clients who are charged with crimes and who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Clients are represented by teams composed of lawyers, investigators, social workers, client advocates, and team administrators. 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 needs of clients. NDS Texas is funded by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

The office is based in San Antonio and opened in January 2022. Flexible work arrangements or telecommuting may be available for the right candidate. Periodic travel to border counties and the jails will be required. Most legal proceedings will initially occur via Zoom. 

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Embrace NDS’ philosophy of client-centered, community-based, holistic representation and commitment to excellence.
  2. Work closely with team members to advocate for reduced sentences and/or alternatives to incarceration for clients. This advocacy includes:
    • Gathering factual mitigation through interviews and obtaining records;
    • Analyzing records;
    • Researching and recommending alternatives to incarceration;
    • Writing pre-pleading memoranda to judges and prosecutors seeking reduced sentences and alternatives to incarceration.
  3. Work closely with clients to:
    • Make appropriate referrals to address clients’ social service needs (drug treatment, mental health treatment, housing, and other benefits);
    • Assist clients in navigating available social service agencies;
    • Advocate on behalf of clients to social service agencies.
  4. Advocate orally on behalf of clients to judges, programs, and prosecutors.

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidates will bring:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to criminal justice, indigent defense, racial equity, and social justice issues, and a substantive understanding of the biases impacting our clients.
  1. An ability to quickly build relationships with people of varying identities, income levels, races, and ethnicities.
  2. A high level of organization and administrative skills to handle a high caseload and multi-task in a very fast-paced environment.
  3. Clear and effective communication skills, both orally and in writing.
  4. An ability to work cooperatively in a team setting.
  1. An MSW degree.
  2. Spanish language fluency is required.

Compensation: Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale. Exceptional benefits package includes full medical and dental for employee and family, retirement, life and AD&D insurance, paid vacation, holiday, and sick time. 

How to Apply:

Interviews are being held on a rolling basis, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume to texashiring@neighborhooddefender.org with the subject line, “Texas Social Worker.” Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF.

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 values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, queer, transgender, gender non‐ conforming, and gender fluid people.