Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc.

The Power of Public Defense

aka Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS), NDS Detroit, NDS Texas   |   New York, NY   |  http://www.neighborhooddefender.org

Mission

NDS' mission is to make justice a reality for those farthest from its reach. Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) is known nationally and internationally for its innovative, community-based, holistic public defense practice. Our dedicated staff is committed to providing unparalleled legal representation. NDS clients have an entire team fighting on their behalf, including criminal and civil attorneys, advocates, social workers, investigators, paralegals, law school and social work interns, and pro bono attorneys. NDS deploys all of these resources on behalf of our clients, addressing the underlying issues that bring them into contact with the criminal legal system. We use our engagement as an opportunity to disentangle them from the system completely.

Ruling year info

1991

Executive Director & CEO

Mr. Rick Jones

Main address

317 Lenox Ave., 10th fl.

New York, NY 10027 USA

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EIN

06-1296692

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

Civil Liberties Advocacy (R60)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Immigration Defense Practice

For a significant percentage of our clients, a current or prior contact with the criminal justice system can result in a serious risk of a denial of an immigration benefit, immigration detention and/or deportation.

The Immigration Defense Practice works to minimize the immigration consequences of touches with criminal justice and child welfare systems. Additionally, NDS’ immigration attorneys represent those in need of deportation defense in Immigration Court removal proceedings. Representation and assistance are also available to clients seeking U.S. Citizenship and immigration services for benefits such as adjustment of status, work permit renewals, green card renewals, naturalization, asylum and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Our immigration advocates and attorneys consistently connect with our community to ensure our practice evolves along with our neighbors. We provide Know Your Rights training to community organizations, share our expertise with students and parents at community schools and participate in legal information fairs and clinics throughout Northern Manhattan.

NDS is a member of the Keep Ice Out of Courts Coalition, a group of legal service providers seeking to prevent ICE from targeting immigrant New Yorkers at court appearances. It is also a supporter of the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which would protect clients from civil immigration arrests at court.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Immigrants and migrants

Unlike most traditional public defender offices, NDS can begin representation before a client is arrested. Early entry can dramatically improve the outcome of a case. We can intercede on the client’s behalf with law enforcement, negotiate surrenders where appropriate and enhance public safety for our clients, their families and communities.

Early entry into a criminal case allows NDS attorneys to interview clients and witnesses earlier, begin investigations, negotiate with law enforcement, and make other preparations before the client goes to court for the first time. NDS can also arrange a client’s surrender to law enforcement, facilitating a safe interaction with police for our clients. Occasionally, NDS’s ability to enter into a case early results in the police not making an arrest.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Incarcerated people

At NDS, each client is represented by a team, rather than by an individual attorney. NDS defense teams are made up of attorneys, investigators, social workers, team administrators, and often law school and social work interns. We strive to provide the best possible services to our clients by combining the knowledge, skills, and attention of all of the team members. We devote significant resources to investigators to help our lawyers vigorously defend our clients.

NDS social workers also provide intensive services for our clients including advocacy for alternatives to incarceration, educational support, psychiatric and psychological referrals, and drug treatment placements.

Team administrators act as the lynchpins that hold the teams together, coordinating between attorneys, clients, their families, the courts, and outside social service providers. Our criminal defense teams also work closely with other NDS programs to ensure that our clients receive effective and efficient legal representation.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Incarcerated people

NDS offers full representation on Family Court cases brought by the New York City Administration for Children’s Service (ACS) alleging abuse or neglect against a parent. Keeping families together and communities intact.

Being arrested and brought to criminal court can often lead to ACS involvement, and serious, unjust repercussions in a client’s family structure and daily life. Having ACS in one’s life can lead to long-lasting negative effects for families, including unnecessary, traumatic removals of children and lengthy, intrusive Family Court proceedings that often ultimately show no wrong-doing by a parent.

NDS offers family defense services to our existing criminal clients, but also to other members of the upper Manhattan community. We aim to enforce a family’s constitutionally-protected rights to privacy, integrity, and contact, and to help families navigate the complicated and interrelated systems of Family Court and ACS.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Incarcerated people

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 representation in: 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’ and community 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.

Our advocates and attorneys can be found working on behalf of our clients related to Housing, Employment, and Asset Forfeiture.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Incarcerated people

Young adults are at once the most hopeful segment of our population and at the same time a disparately targeted group within the criminal justice system. The Youth Law Practice provides the benefits of NDS’s team-based representation to those aged 7 through 18 who are criminally accused, whether they are prosecuted as adults in Supreme Court or as delinquents in Family Court.

Youth law attorneys coordinate with a team of social workers, investigators, and the housing and immigration attorneys on the NDS staff. They also work with educational and mental health specialists, as well as with community organizations and with professors and law students from local law schools and universities.

Nationally recognized as pioneers in this area, the Youth Law Practice brings NDS’ early-intervention and interdisciplinary approach to the defense and rehabilitation of young adults. Our goal is to work with the accused young adult, including his or her family and community, in the broadest manner by combining educational advocacy, social services, and the highest-quality legal representation.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Incarcerated people

Where we work

Financials

Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc.
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Operations

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Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Pamela Lipp-Hendricks

T. Rowe Price

Term: 2019 - 2022

Steve Fishman

Attorney-at-Law

Saul Green

Miller Canfield

Shawn Holley

Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP

David Kalal

The Futures

Warren Kohlman

Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Carla Walker-Miller

Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/16/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability