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.


In the midst of an affordable housing crisis across New York City, the Civil Defense Practice represents tenants who face the incredibly destabilizing threat of losing their home, particularly due to contact with the criminal legal system.


One of the harshest consequences of contact with the criminal justice system is the loss of employment or the inability to find work due to arrest or conviction. The Civil Defense Practice works prevent destabilization of job loss through representation in license revocation hearings and affirmative lawsuits. In addition, the Civil Defense Practice provides clients with tools to reduce discrimination by obtaining certificates of relief and using sealing laws to prevent the dissemination of information about past arrests.

Asset Forfeiture

Commonly, property such as vehicles and cash will be seized when someone is arrested. For many clients, this property means the difference between maintain employment or being able to pay rent. The Civil Defense Practice advocates for the return of essential property in a host of forums. Providing this critical service, where clients would otherwise be unrepresented, ensures that their rights are protected.