Need Help?

If you or someone you know needs help with housing, employment, asset forfeiture or other civil legal matters, please contact us at (929) 251-3307.

NDS’ Civil Defense Practice represents clients facing the loss of the essentials of life due to contact with the criminal justice system or child welfare systems. Our services include: immigration defense; eviction prevention; asset forfeiture; employment defense; school suspension; public benefits; healthcare advocacy and civil rights litigation.

The uniqueness of the practice, where attorneys, advocates and social workers collaborate on client representation, ensures comprehensive solutions to our clients’ needs. This innovative approach mitigates these consequences and can altogether prevent the destabilizing effects of family separation due to deportation or loss of housing and employment.


NDS’s Housing Defense Team, part of the Civil Defense Practice, is part of the pioneering movement toward a civil Gideon guaranteeing the right to counsel to any tenant facing eviction. Premised on the conviction that combatting gentrification begins with preserving existing affordable housing, the Housing Defense Team advocates on behalf of tenants to safeguard the right to secure, stable housing and to combat the destabilization and disintegration of the Northern Manhattan community .

The Housing Defense Team provides representation in a wide range of Housing Court proceedings. We specialize in combatting displacement through nonpayment and holdover proceedings –the primary vehicles of displacement. In addition we secure restoration for tenants who have been illegally locked out, demand safe, sanitary, and dignified conditions through actions for repairs, challenge rent overcharges and illegal rent setting, and combat landlord harassment. We additionally provide our clients with support in obtaining crucial public benefits and other forms of rental assistance to maintain their housing. As part of NDS’s holistic model, our clients have the benefit of representation by an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, advocates, and social workers working together to fight housing insecurity and help maintain the fabric of the Northern Manhattan community.  

The Housing Defense Team provides assigned counsel services through the Housing Court, but additionally provides advice and representation to members of the Northern Manhattan community seeking assistance through community intake. If you are in need of assistance, please contact our civil intake line at (929) 251-3307. 

Collateral Consequences

The Collateral Consequences Team, part of the Civil Defense Practice, represents clients facing the devastating civil consequences of contact with the criminal legal and child welfare systems.  

The American Bar Association estimates that roughly 45,000 collateral consequences of a criminal conviction exist across the United States. However, collateral consequences are not limited to instances of criminal conviction; a simple accusation within the criminal legal or child welfare system can trigger eviction proceedings, the loss or suspension of an employment license, school suspension, property seizure, benefits termination and more destabilizing effects. Often, these consequences linger long after someone leaves the criminal or family courthouse. The Collateral Consequences Team works to prevent and mitigate these extrinsic punishments and ensure our clients maintain stability not only throughout the course of their criminal and family proceedings, but also after their case concludes.

The Collateral Consequences Team represents clients of NDS’s Criminal Defense and Family Defense Practice with civil legal needs through NDS’s internal, team-based referral structure. The Collateral Consequences Team also advice and representation to members of the Northern Manhattan community seeking assistance through community intake. If you are in need of assistance, please contact our civil intake line at (929) 251-3307.