Arraignment Staff Attorney-Criminal Defense Practice

Job Type

Full Time


Details: depends upon experience



Start Date


Application Deadline



317 Lenox Avenue, 10th Floor
New York
United States


THE NEIGHBORHOOD DEFENDER SERVICE OF HARLEM (NDS) is a community-based, client-centered, holistic public defense office located in Harlem, providing criminal, civil, and family representation.  NDS Clients are represented by multidisciplinary teams.  NDS is accepting applications for the position of Arraignment Staff Attorney with the Criminal Defense Practice.

The Criminal Defense Practice at NDS represents residents of Northern Manhattan who are charged with crimes and cannot afford to hire a lawyer.  Clients are represented by teams composed of lawyers, investigators, social workers, client advocates, and team administrators. NDS also provides pre-arrest representation to clients under threat of arrest. 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. 


1.     Provide vigorous representation with energy and enthusiasm to residents of Northern Manhattan in Manhattan’s arraignment courts.

2.     Interview clients and their families in the holding pens and courthouse, and engage in vigorous oral advocacy on behalf of those clients.

3.     Identify support tasks that require immediate attention of investigators, social workers and team administrators.

4.     Identify clients’ cross-practice legal issues, including family defense, immigration defense, housing defense and other civil defense.

5.     Communicate clearly with clients who are often under great stress.

6.     Appeal bail decisions, as necessary.


1.     A minimum of five years’ demonstrated commitment to public defense, social justice, and racial justice issues and/or the communities of Northern Manhattan;

2.     New York State bar admission (or ability to waive into New York State from another jurisdiction);

3.     Knowledge of relevant New York State laws including evidence laws, criminal and constitutional laws, statutory interpretation, sentencing and ethical principles contained in the Rules of Professional Conduct;

4.     Must possess the level of organizational and administrative skills required to handle a high caseload and the fast-paced practice in arraignment court parts in Manhattan;

5.     Experience interacting with staff in the Office of Court Administration, the District Attorney’s Office, other institutional providers, the 18B panel and other stakeholders involved in criminal court arraignments, including the Criminal Justice Agency, various bail funds and Alternative to Incarceration providers;

6.     Strong written and oral advocacy skills.

7.     Bi-lingual (Spanish) attorneys are encouraged to apply.

Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Full medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits, are provided.

Level of Language Proficiency

 Bi-lingual (Spanish) attorneys are encouraged to apply.

Professional Level

Entry level

Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume to with the subject line, “Arraignment Staff Attorney, Criminal Defense Practice.” Please send your application as one document, preferably PDF.