The Bronx Defenders

  • Homicide Practice Social Worker

    Posted Date 4 weeks ago(10/24/2018 10:39 AM)
    Job ID
    Social Work
  • Overview

    The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a Masters level Social Worker with a commitment to social justice to join our Criminal Defense Practice as a dedicated Homicide Practice Social Worker.


    BxD is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the justice 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 300 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, all of whom collaborate to provide holistic legal and social service advocacy. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have pioneered a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for our clients.


    Each year, we defend 27,000 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 reform at the local, state, and national level. We take what we learn from the clients and communities that we serve, and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.


    Strategizing with lawyers and other advocates, the Homicide Practice Social Worker will assist clients with issues that precipitate and are exacerbated by contact with the criminal justice system and will support the development of the homicide practice group.

    Responsibilities and Duties:


    • Work with experienced attorneys to represent clients charged with homicide and serious felony offenses, from arraignment through disposition or trial
    • Interview and assess clients’ priorities and needs, and make referrals responsive to identified needs
    • Develop written mitigation and sentencing memoranda through extensive interviews, record review, and research
    • Maintain consistent contact with clients, including regular visits to NYC jail facilities;  provide extensive support and advocacy both in and outside the courtroom
    • Support clients through difficult decision making and trial
    • Build and maintain relationships with clients’ families and others to support case strategy and share information
    • Advocate for clients at criminal court or related appearances
    • Collaborate closely with attorneys on all aspects of case preparation, including developing case strategy, preparing for plea negotiations or trial, and identifying and collaborating with experts
    • Cultivate relationships with community programs and social service providers


    The Homicide Practice Social Workers at The Bronx Defenders must have:

    • At least three years experience working with clients charged with serious felony cases in a defense-based setting
    • Experience writing mitigation and/or sentencing memoranda for clients charged with crimes
    • Demonstrated skill in client interviewing and client-centered psychosocial assessment
    • Thorough knowledge of issues related to, and experience working in and with low-income communities of color disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system
    • A demonstrated interest in working with individuals charged with criminal offenses
    • Ability to collaborate in a client-centered practice
    • Demonstrate excellent discretion and maintain client confidentiality
    • Knowledge of issues related to substance use, domestic violence, and mental health systems
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
    • Strong written and oral advocacy skills
    • Excellent organizational and time management skills
    • Masters in Social Work from an accredited Graduate School of Social Work
    • Spanish fluency or high proficiency preferred
    • *New York State Licensure required within six months of hire


    To apply, please click APPLY FOR THIS JOB ONLINE and upload a cover letter, resume, and redacted writing sample as a single document when prompted. Applications missing any components or not submitted in the requested manner will not be considered.


    The application deadline is Wednesday, November 21, 2018, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. Please contact Caitlin Becker, Managing Director of Social Work, via email at with any questions regarding the position.

    The Bronx Defenders is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring, and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff.  We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, orientations, and communities to apply.


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