Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
Who We Are
The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is known nationally and internationally for its innovative, community-based, holistic public defense practice. Our dedicated staff is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to residents of upper Manhattan. NDS opened its doors in 1991 to address some of the long-standing problems facing public defender providers. In contrast to traditional public defense practice, NDS clients are represented by a team that includes criminal and civil attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, law school and social work interns, and pro bono attorneys. NDS deploys all of these resources in the aggressive defense of its clients. Additionally, through our Pre-Arrest Services, NDS can begin representing a client before there has been any contact with law enforcement, allowing us to better protect our client's rights.
A core aspect of our holistic approach to public defense is a commitment to search for the underlying issues that bring our clients into contact with the criminal justice system, and providing comprehensive social service support to avoid or minimize future problems. Furthermore, when our clients face collateral consequences with their employment, schooling, or in family, housing, or immigration court, NDS strives to help our clients resolve those issues, either through direct representation or referrals to appropriate service providers.
NDS has also demonstrated a commitment to the community which it serves. Our offices are located not by the courthouse, but in central Harlem, allowing us to establish meaningful relationships with our clients and the members of their families who are also affected by their problems. NDS engages in Community Education activities to make sure community residents are aware of our services, and to help them better understand how the criminal justice system operates.
How to Get Help
Please call (212) 876-5500.
Who We Serve
- New York (Manhattan) County
- Language(s) Spoken
- Spanish / Español
- Is this organization accessible by wheelchair?
- Does this organization provide access for the hearing impaired?
Type of Help
- This group provides the following types of services based on your legal needs and its resources:
- Full Legal Representation
- Brief Advice
- Description of Services
NDS social service staff also supports clients and their families throughout the life of a criminal matter, and even after the case is resolved. They help clients get drug programs, find a doctor, obtain health insurance, and find a place to get counseling. NDS social workers help clients determine their eligibility for public or subsidized housing, find job training or employment programs, or re-enroll in school or obtain a GED.