The Bronx Defenders

Family Defense Practice Staff Attorney

Posted Date 1 year ago(2/23/2022 2:54 AM)
Job ID


The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks passionate attorneys with a commitment to public defense to join our Family Defense Practice 


The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal 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 400 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, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we developed a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for the people we defend.  


Each year, we defend more than 20,000 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 transformation at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the people we defend and communities that we work with and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change. 


Family Defense Practice 


The Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Practice (FDP) provides legal representation and social work support to parents charged with child abuse and neglect, and who are at risk of losing custody of their children. Family Defense Attorneys at The Bronx Defenders are at the forefront of a movement to provide holistic, institutional representation to parents in Bronx County Family Court who are fighting allegations of child abuse and/or neglect. They are dedicated to fighting on behalf of parents whose parental rights are in peril while creating long-term solutions for the reunification and stability of families. Family Defense Attorneys primarily litigate abuse and neglect cases, but will occasionally appear in concurrent matters including custody, visitation, and termination of parental rights cases.


  • Zealously represent parents in child protective proceedings in Bronx Family Court and any concurrent matters including custody, visitation, and termination of parental rights cases 
  • Litigate legal matters in abuse and neglect proceedings in hearings and trials in family court - orally and in writing 
  • Effectively communicate and negotiate with judges, caseworkers, child attorneys, and representatives of the Administration for Children’s Services on behalf of parents 
  • Assist parents in accessing appropriate resources and services to restore full parental rights 
  • Collaborate with social workers and parent advocates in the Family Defense Practice, as well as attorneys and advocates in the  criminal defense, civil action and immigration practice on enmeshed issues that arise in other venues 
  • Collaborate to provide coverage for cases to ensure that all client needs are met 
  • Maintain client case files and data in BxD’s case management system 


To be eligible, applicant must be: 


  • Graduate of an American Bar Association-accredited law school OR Barred attorney with the ability to practice in New York or to be barred upon hiring


Applicants must demonstrate: 


  • Commitment to defending parents charged with abuse and/or neglect in child welfare proceedings  
  • Experience working in and with racially and ethnically marginalized communities of color targeted by systemic injustice 
  • Commitment to zealous advocacy and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of the people we represent
  • Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with people from various backgrounds and experiences 
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively with lawyers and non-lawyers alike from various practice areas in an interdisciplinary team-based environment 
  • Effective research, writing, and courtroom advocacy skills 
  • Ability to think critically and creatively in fast-paced settings 
  • Strong legal analytical skills  
  • Thoughtfulness in engaging non-legal resources to support clients 
  • Strong communication and active listening skills 
  • Ability to effectively multi-task, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high stakes environment  
  • Meticulous attention to detail 
  • Ability to receive feedback constructively, reflect and shift behavior accordingly 
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues 
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level 


Preferred, but not required:


  • Spanish language proficiency is highly desirable
  • Experience working in the child welfare system, in the field of Family Law, or a related field is preferred


Applicants, if hired, must: 


  • Sit for the New York State Bar Examination (if applicable at the time) or 
  • Submit the alternative appropriate materials necessary for admission or waiver   


For candidates with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $71,436 - $92,500. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy; and a professional development fund. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended. 


Please read carefully:

To apply, please click APPLY TO THIS JOB ONLINE and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If writing a cover letter is not accessible to you, you may upload your resume as a document and separately upload a video or audio statement instead of a cover letter if that is more accessible to you. Your cover letter or video/audio statement should share why you want to do this work at our office, some key lived and/or professional experiences that have prepared you for this position, and any additional information you would like for us to consider. Your cover letter may be up to one page if written or up to 3 minutes if an audio/video statement. This information allows us to understand your distinct perspective, experience and potential beyond the work history summarized on your resume. Please remember that you may submit a written cover letter or an audio/video, but not both, and applications without either will not be considered. The start date for this position is immediate or as soon as possible. 


Applications will be accepted and interviews will be conducted virtually on a rolling basis. Please contact Nicole Velazquez, Deputy Director via email at with any questions regarding the position. 


The Bronx Defenders is an equal opportunity employer and is cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities and are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce. We do not discriminate against and in fact specifically encourage applicants from marginalized communities to apply, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, disabled, neurodivergent, and those directly impacted by criminal, civil, family and immigration legal systems. We value lived as well as professional experience and particularly welcome applications from the Bronx community that we work with.


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