The Bronx Defenders

Civil Action Practice Staff Attorney

Posted Date 3 months ago(12/21/2022 1:18 PM)
Job ID


The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a passionate advocate with a commitment to social justice to fill a staff attorney position in the Civil Action 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 have 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 reform at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the people we represent and communities that we work with and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change. 


Civil Action Practice 


The Civil Action Practice (CAP) provides comprehensive legal services to the people we represent and their families by fully integrating civil representation with our criminal, immigration, and family defense practices. Our goal is to minimize the severe and often unforeseen fallout from legal system involvement and facilitate the seamless reintegration of the people we represent into their communities. 


Our Civil Action Practice attorneys and legal advocates represent people in every forum in New York City – administrative, state, and federal – to address these problems, and provide comprehensive representation to assist people in overcoming civil legal barriers to housing, eviction, employment, and public benefits, as well as addressing instances of police misconduct, criminal record errors, and civil forfeiture.    


The Civil Action Practice seeks a staff attorney to provide comprehensive advocacy and representation to help the people we represent resolve a broad range of civil legal problems. 


  • Engage in client intake, counseling, research, writing, oral advocacy and negotiations as a part of legal representation 
  • Zealously advocate for individuals navigating proceedings related to barriers to obtaining housing, eviction from housing, loss of employment licenses, correcting criminal record errors, loss of public and disability benefits, forfeiture of property and government misconduct 
  • Identify holistic needs and legal goals of the people we represent, make referrals, and work with other attorney and non-attorney advocates to address and mitigate the enmeshed consequences of legal system involvement  
  • Effectively litigate, confidently negotiate and skillfully advocate in administrative judicial proceedings and trial with a particular concentration in housing, employment, public benefits and forfeiture proceedings 
  • Provide comprehensive, team-based representation collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of attorneys and advocates to assess and address needs of the people we represent and goals 
  • Participate in trainings within the office and facilitate community trainings and public education on civil legal issues 
  • Effectively litigate, confidently negotiate and skillfully advocate with judges, prosecutors, and other actors within the systems the people we defend navigate, including having the opportunity to co-counsel cases in other venues (e.g., Family Court, Civil Court, Administrative Hearings) as necessary and desired 
  • Participate in holistic advocacy within the practice and in the office 
  • Participate in internal working groups to develop best practices across referral relationships 
  • Participate in trainings within the office as well as, on occasion, external community events, conferences and webinars in which BXD is participating or presenting 
  • Maintain case files and data in BxD’s case management system 


To be eligible, applicants must have: 


  • J.D. and sit for the upcoming New York State Bar Exam, or 
  • Admitted to practice in New York or eligibility for admission to the New York State Bar Pro Hac Vice 


Applicants must demonstrate: 


  • Commitment to social justice, racial justice, and housing justice issues 
  • Experience working in and with racially and socioeconomically marginalized communities 
  • Ability to work well independently and collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and non-lawyers in criminal, immigration, and family practices 
  • Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate and connect with people from various backgrounds, identities and experiences  
  • Strong oral and written advocacy skills 
  • Ability to think critically and creatively on their feet 
  • Ability to multitask, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment  
  • Meticulous attention to detail  
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback, demonstrate introspection and shift behavior accordingly 
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues 
  • Commitment to fierce advocacy, and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of the people we represent and staff  
  • Strong analytical skills and capacity to employ non-legal resources 
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level 
  • Spanish fluency is preferred but not required  


This is a hybrid position that will require in-person work and contact with staff and community members.


Approximately 70% of The Bronx Defenders' staff, including attorneys and non-attorneys, are represented by UAW Local 2325 - Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO). This position is within the bargaining unit.  


This position is exempt. By law, nonexempt employees are compensated hourly based on their annual rate and therefore are entitled to overtime, whereas exempt employees are not.  

Salary is commensurate with experience.  For candidates with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $72,865 to $94,350. 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.   


To apply, please click APPLY TO THIS JOB ONLINE and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If you would prefer to send in a video or audio statement in lieu of a cover letter, you may upload your resume as a document and separately upload a video or audio statement instead of a cover letter. 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 statement, 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 considered on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified. Please contact Runa Rajagopal, Managing Director, Civil Action Practice, 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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