The Bronx Defenders Legal Fellowship

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Published 25 days ago

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – invites third year law student and recent law school graduates to work with us as Legal Fellows.  

 Candidates should develop project proposals for submission to Equal Justice Works, Skadden, and similar programs, including law-school specific fellowships, related to legal work in one of our practice areas— Criminal Defense, Family Defense, Immigration Defense, Civil Action, Impact Litigation, or Policy, while remaining flexible to change based on the needs of our organization and the Bronx community. The Fellowship would begin in the Fall of 2023 and run for one or two years, depending on the terms of the funder. 

  The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 400 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have developed a groundbreaking, nationally recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for the people we represent.  

 Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, child welfare, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic change at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the people we represent and communities we work with to launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change. 

  Examples of successful fellowship proposals from prior years include: 

  •  Developing a program to help people litigate in small claims court if they suffered injuries or other damages in encounters with the police (Skadden Fellowship
  • Working on ending New York’s practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of individuals who cannot afford to pay traffic tickets through direct representation, litigation, and legislative advocacy (Equal Justice Works Fellowship
  • Providing direct representation to fathers in neglect, abuse, and termination of parental rights proceedings, as well as conducting Know Your Rights As Fathers trainings to prevent the unnecessary disruption of the father-child relationship and reduce children’s placement in foster care (Skadden Fellowship
  • Providing holistic legal representation to immigrant parents navigating family and/or immigration court, combining immigration and family defense to maintain family unity (Equal Justice Works Fellowship
  • Providing direct representation to individuals experiencing employment discrimination due to criminal convictions by offering assistance in obtaining Certificates of Rehabilitation as well as educating employers and community groups about the employment rights of formerly incarcerated people (Skadden Fellowship


 To be eligible, applicants must be: 

  •  Third-year students in, or recent graduates of, law school 
  • Admitted or eligible for admission to the New York State bar  

All applicants must demonstrate: 

  • Commitment to challenging systemic injustice and defending marginalized peoples ensnared in carceral systems    
  • Commitment to fierce advocacy, and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of the people we represent 
  • Experience working in and with racially and ethnically marginalized communities targeted by systemic injustice 
  • Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate and connect with people with various backgrounds, identities and experiences  
  • Ability to work well independently as well as collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and non-lawyers 
  • Ability to multitask, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment  
  • Meticulous attention to detail 
  • Ability to think quickly, critically and creatively under pressure 
  • Strong legal analytical skills  
  • Effective research, writing, and advocacy skills 
  • Thoughtfulness in engaging non-legal resources to support the people we represent 
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues 
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback, demonstrate introspection and shift behavior accordingly 
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level 
  • For Legal Fellows in the Immigration Practice: 
  • We are specifically seeking applications from candidates with Spanish language skills and/or those from racially/ethnically marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the immigration legal system, whose lived experiences contribute to more culturally conscious client representation 
  • A valid driver’s license, or the ability to obtain one, is required as the role sometimes requires travel to detention facilities outside of NYC to meet with the people we represent 

 Applicants, if hired, must: 

  • Sit for the next administration of the New York State Bar Examination, or  
  • Submit the materials necessary for Pro Hac Vice admission or waiver 

 This is a hybrid position that will require in-person work and contact with staff and community members. As of October 29, 2021, all city-funded employees with any potential of in-person contact with clients, community members or staff are required to show proof of full vaccination. You can find more details regarding this mandate here. Please let us know if this presents an issue. 

 If selected for a fellowship and sponsorship with The Bronx Defenders, we will supplement the fellowship compensation to ensure a salary consistent with our salary scale, which starts at $74,322. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; and a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended.   

 Approximately 70% of The Bronx Defenders' staff, including attorneys and non-attorneys, are represented by UAW Local 2325 - Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO). This position is within the bargaining unit.

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – invites third year law student and recent law school graduates to work with us as Legal Fellows.  

 Candidates should develop project…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Application Deadline
    August 11, 2022
At least USD $74,322
/ year


Excellent benefits

Excellent benefits


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Bronx, NY
Associated Location
360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451, United States

How to Apply

To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If writing a cover letter is not accessible to you, you may upload your resume as a document and separately upload a video or audio statement instead of a cover letter if that is more accessible to you. Your cover letter or video/audio statement should share why you want to do this work at our office, some key lived and/or professional experiences that have prepared you for this position, and any additional information you would like for us to consider. This information allows us to understand your distinct perspective, experience, and potential beyond the work history summarized on your resume. Your cover letter may be up to one page if written or up to 3 minutes if an audio/video statement. Please remember that you may submit a written cover letter or an audio/video, but not both, and applications without either will not be considered. The start date for this position is immediate or as soon as possible.

The Bronx Defenders will offer an online information session about fellowship applications on July 20, 2022, 1-2PM EST.  Please contact Robyn Mar at for more information if you are interested in attending. 

Applications will be accepted through August 11, 2022. Those selected for interviews will be informed by August 19, 2022 and the selection process will conclude by the end of August.  

 The Bronx Defenders is an equal opportunity employer and is cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities and are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce. We do not discriminate against and in fact specifically encourage applicants from marginalized communities to apply, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, disabled, neurodivergent and those directly impacted by criminal, civil, family and immigration legal systems. We value lived as well as professional experience and particularly welcome applications from the Bronx community that we work with.

To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If writing a…

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