The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing civil, criminal and family representation to residents of Northern Manhattan. NDS seeks to hire an experienced attorney for our Housing Defense Team within the Civil Defense Practice.


The Housing Defense Team plays an integral role in NDS’s fulfillment of its holistic mission and in realizing the right to counsel in housing proceedings. 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 Staff Attorney is responsible for providing client-centered representation to the clients of the Housing Defense Practice.


  • Provide excellent, client-centered representation to individual tenants in Housing Court; proceedings including non-payments, holdovers, and HP actions from intake through case resolution;
  • Conduct client intake and screen for representation;
  • Regularly appear in Housing Court to conduct routine appearances, argue motions, and engage in trial practice and other litigation;
  • Advocate for clients to access and obtain benefits, subsidies and other services to resolve Housing Court proceedings;
  • Work as part of an interdisciplinary team to secure the best outcomes for clients;
  • Demonstrate energy, enthusiasm and ingenuity in working on challenging cases as assigned by supervisors;
  • Represent NDS at Coalition meetings and community-based initiatives on housing issues on an as-needed basis.


  • J.D. Degree and admission to practice law in New York State or eligible for admission;
  • Experience providing direct services to low-income tenants, with preference given to applicants who have at least two years of experience in legal services;
  • 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 as one PDF with the subject line, “Staff Attorney, Housing Defense Team” to: 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.