Social Worker - Civil 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 including attorneys, advocates and social workers. NDS is now accepting applications for a Social Worker for the Civil Defense Practice.


The Civil Defense Practice plays an integral role in NDS’s fulfillment of its holistic mission. Our practice, consisting of immigration and civil practitioners, seeks to address the harsh collateral consequences that stem from interaction with the criminal justice and child welfare system.

Our immigration practice consists of consultation services, advice and legal representation in immigration proceedings to NDS clients who are non-citizens, and to immigrant communities throughout Northern Manhattan. For a significant percentage of our clients, a prior criminal conviction or an ongoing criminal case often results in a serious risk of immigration detention and/or deportation.

The civil practitioners seek to prevent the unjust loss of housing, employment and benefits that our clients and their family members face as the result of a criminal case. This mission is rooted in an understanding that stability minimizes the devastating impact an arrest or conviction can have on the lives of our clients and their families.


The social worker will be part of an interdisciplinary team, including attorneys and other non-attorney advocates, to determine case strategies for clients. Additionally, the social worker will:

·        Demonstrate energy, enthusiasm and ingenuity in working on challenging cases;

·        Conduct thorough psychosocial assessments; offer brief treatment, crisis intervention, and/or short term counseling as required;

·        Appear with attorneys and advocates on behalf of clients in Immigration and Housing Court and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) administration proceedings;

·        Submit written advocacy and assessments to court as necessitated by case needs;

·        Identify and secure placement of clients in programs to address problems such as mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, educational and vocational training needs;

·        Communicate effectively with clients, their families, and agency case workers; and

·        Develop service plans for clients and provide crisis intervention management.


NDS is looking for a social worker with a demonstrated commitment to civil and immigration defense and social justice issues. In addition, the job requires energy, enthusiasm, a commitment to excellence and an unwavering commitment to clients. Applicants:

·        Must have a Master's Degree in Social Work;

·        Must be licensed or willing and eligible to become licensed within 6 months of employment;

·        Must have experience working with clients experiencing psychiatric and/or psychological struggles and clients who have intellectual or developmental disabilities;

·        Must possess excellent interpersonal, analytical, writing, and communication skills;

·        Must possess strong organizational skills in order to navigate a fast-paced environment;

·        Must be comfortable in a court environment; and

·        Possession of a driver’s license highly encouraged.


Compensation is commensurate with experience and is in adherence to the NDS compensation scale. 

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

Spanish language fluency is required.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume as one PDF with the subject line, “Social Worker, Civil Defense Practice” to: We are looking to fill this position immediately. For more information about NDS, please visit our website at