Who We Are
Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) represents over 35,000 clients in criminal, family, immigration and civil cases annually. Our staff of 300 includes 180 attorneys as well as social workers, investigators, paralegals, re-entry specialists, jail liaisons, education, community organizers and policy specialists.
The mission of Brooklyn Defender Services is to provide high quality legal representation and related services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney. We fight in court to ensure that everyone’s legal rights to due process and human dignity are enforced and respected. Our attorneys are strong advocates in defense of our clients in multiple courts and venues.
BDS represents thousands of people each year charged with misdemeanors and felonies who are facing accusations that threaten their liberty. BDS’ criminal defense practice has a number of dedicated and specialized units which provide targeted services to adolescents, clients with mental illness, victims of trafficking, veterans and clients with overlapping criminal, family court, and immigration issues.
BDS’ Immigration Practice provides comprehensive and zealous representation to hundreds of immigrants. BDS’ NYIFUP Team provides universal representation to detained immigrants facing deportation at the Varick Street Immigration Court in New York City and represents them in bond hearings, merits hearings on their defenses to removal, and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). BDS also provides immigration assistance to hundreds of Brooklyn residents who have affirmative immigration remedies. We help apply for green cards, citizenship, and visas for our clients from other practice areas or through community referrals.
BDS’ Family Defense Practice provides high-quality representation to child welfare-involved families. Our interdisciplinary teams advocate on behalf of some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers to keep children out of foster care and safely reunify families as quickly as possible. We advance our clients’ due process rights in court, while helping them obtain the benefits and services they need out of court to keep their families safe and strong.
BDS’ Civil Justice Practice aims to reduce the civil collateral consequences for low-income clients who have had interaction with the criminal, family or immigration justice systems. Through legal advocacy in court and at various agencies, we assist people in remaining in their homes, maintaining their public benefits, staying in school, keeping their jobs, and protecting their consumer rights.
How to Get Help
We are offering remote services at this time with specific contact information available on our website, www.bds.org. Our attorneys, social workers and paralegals remain fully accessible to existing clients by phone, email and cell.
There is limited capacity to take on new education, housing, employment and benefits clients at this time and Brooklyn residents will receive priority.
Non-citizen clients are referred by our defense attorneys to our Immigrant Justice Attorney for legal assistance with civil immigration issues that may arise from arrest.
Criminal Defense and Integrated Domestic Violence clients are appointed to our attorneys by the Court upon determination that they cannot afford private attorneys.
Last Reviewed: May 4, 2020