Attorney Employment, Criminal Defense

As of February 25th, 2014 BDS Criminal Defense practice is fully staffed and we are no longer accepting resumes or job inquiries for the fall of 2014. We are currently reviewing the applications we have received and interviews we have conducted throughout the fall and winter, and hope to be able to make final decisions by the end of March 2014.

We anticipate beginning a new cycle of interviewing for the fall of 2015 in August of 2014. While we will focus our effort on interviewing at law school campuses and selected public interest career fairs, there will be other avenues for submitting an application. Check this page of our website again during August 2014 for details of our recruiting plan for the 2014/2015 season.



BDS Immigration Unit Internship Announcement


The Immigration Unit of Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) seeks summer 2014 law student interns.


Description and Responsibilities


The primary focus of the Immigration Unit is to advise noncitizen clients of the immigration consequences of their criminal cases. Immigration Unit attorneys work in close collaboration with BDS defenders to avoid or minimize the negative immigration consequences of their noncitizens’ criminal cases. In a limited number of cases, immigration unit attorneys continue to advocate for BDS clients in the immigration system even after the criminal case is disposed. We advocate against our clients’ immigration detention, defend them in immigration removal proceedings, and provide assistance applying for immigration benefits.


In addition, BDS is part of the New York Family Unity Project. This city-funded project is the first of its kind in the United States. BDS immigration attorneys provide counsel to indigent individuals at Varick Street Immigration Court using a model similar to the system in New York City’s criminal courts. BDS immigration attorneys staff this project, providing ongoing representation to clients facing immigration detention and deportation.


Finally the immigration unit provides limited community based lawyering clinics for Brooklyn residents. In the past, this has included Temporary Protected Status application assistance for Haitian nationals and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“Dream Act”) application assistance.


Immigration Unit interns will be incorporated into the broad work of the unit, working with multiple attorneys according to interest and need.




We seek dynamic individuals with a demonstrated commitment to defending immigrants accused and/or convicted of crimes. Applicants should have a strong substantive background in immigrant rights, criminal justice, and/or social justice issues. Applicants should also possess the ability to perform nuanced legal research and writing, to communicate clearly and effectively with clients, and to be a team player.




All internships are volunteer positions. However, BDS will work with students to secure funding from outside sources or class credits where available.




Spanish, Mandarin or Russian fluency is preferred but not required.


Application Instructions


To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and at least two references to Marie Mark at with the subject line “Summer 2014 Internship”. We will accept applications until December 31, 2013 however, applicants will be interviewed and decisions made on a rolling basis.

Immigration Practice – Immigrant Youth Project Attorney Position

Job Description

Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) seeks to hire an immigration attorney with at least two years of relevant experience for our Immigrant Youth Project.

BDS is one of the largest public defense providers in the United States.   We represent more than 43,000 clients per year in a variety of legal proceedings in New York City, primarily indigent criminal, family, and immigration defense.  We believe all people—regardless of economic means—deserve respect, individualized care, and the fullest extent of legal protections whether accused of a crime or facing a civil legal obstacle to justice and opportunity. 

Our Immigration Practice currently has a staff of eleven attorneys, a BIA accredited representative, two paralegals, and an administrative assistant.  We advise our criminal defense colleagues and help devise strategies to minimize the immigration impact of our clients’ criminal proceedings.  We help clients apply for citizenship, greencards, visas for domestic violence or trafficking victims, and other immigration benefits.  Finally, we have a robust removal defense practice; we secure our immigrant clients’ release from immigration detention and defend them against deportation, arguing in immigration court for a finding of non-deportability, and applying for Cancellation of Removal, Adjustment of Status, and other discretionary waivers of deportation based on favorable factors in our clients’ lives.  Most recently, since November 2013 BDS has been serving as assigned counsel under the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project—a first-in-nation program that provides legal representation for indigent New Yorkers in detained removal proceedings at the Varick Street Immigration Courts.

Our Immigrant Youth Project, an integral part of our Immigration Practice, provides a full range of immigration legal services to our young immigrant clients.  Launched in 2012, our Immigrant Youth Project has been designed to provide legal assistance to a greater number of BDS’s young immigrant clients—identified in-house through our criminal and family defense practices—to pursue affirmative immigration benefits such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and to defend our young clients who are placed in removal proceedings.  In pursuit of SIJS, we also represent clients in their family court custody or guardianship proceedings to obtain special findings for SIJS.  Finally, in addition to our in-house work, we hold external DACA clinics in close partnership with numerous community-based organizations.  


We seek a dynamic lawyer with at least two years of post-J.D. experience representing immigrant youth in proceedings before USCIS and/or EOIR or in family court proceedings.  Applicants must be admitted to practice law in New York State, and must have significant experience representing clients in SIJS-related family court proceedings, in particular. We seek an individual with a demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights, criminal justice, and/or social justice issues. The ideal candidate would also have a strong desire to develop a holistic practice dedicated to immigrant youth.  The job requires a proactive ability to solve problems under time pressure, enthusiasm, and the strongest commitment to clients. The applicant must possess a demonstrated ability to perform nuanced legal research and writing at the highest standard, to communicate clearly and effectively both orally and through writing, to be a team player, and to have the strong organizational skills required to represent numerous clients at a time. Clinical or professional background in family, immigration, and/or criminal law is preferred.

Language(s): Fluency in Spanish is preferred.

Application Instructions: 

Applicants should email a cover letter, resume, at least two references, and a writing sample to Nyasa Hickey at  Include "BDS Immigrant Youth Project Attorney" in the subject line.  No phone calls, please.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  However, submission by Monday, April 21 at 9:00 a.m. is highly encouraged.


Salary will be commensurate with experience and within the parameters of BDS’s compensation scale.

BDS currently accepting applications for the Summer 2014 Criminal Defense Internship Program

Brooklyn Defender Services offers full-time summer criminal defense internships to law students with a commitment to public defense. The internship program is a ten week program. Intern duties may include legal research and writing, representation of clients in arraignments (under supervision), court appearances, client and witness interviews, trial preparation and investigation assistance.

The program is extremely competitive and positions are limited. To apply, please send a cover letter and a resume to Jillian Modzeleski at We will accept applications from September 3, 2013 until November 1st, 2013. Selected applicants will be interviewed and decisions made during November 2013.

All internships are volunteer positions. However, BDS will work with students to secure funding from outside sources or class credits where available.



Investigative Assistant Internship with BDS

The internship description is listed below.  Please feel free to contact Jacqueline Romero directly via email at


The internship has a rolling admission deadline. Start date will vary.


There is a 20-hour per week minimum requirement (however we can be flexible).  Our normal office schedule is Monday- Thursday, 9am-5pm and Fridays from 9am-3:30pm. It would be most convenient if students would be available Monday-Thursdays.  The first two weeks will mainly be training.  We are hoping to take 2-3 students per semester year round with preference to students in criminal justice, law, or forensic related fields.


The application process proceeds as follows: An application is submitted and reviewed, and if selected, an interview is scheduled. The interview will be conducted by two members of our department at least one of which will be a current Investigator.  Once all interviews are complete, a decision is made as to which applicants will be offered a position as an Investigative Assistant.


After they are offered the position, I will schedule an orientation and training date for the new intern. The orientation allows the intern to become familiar with our building, attorneys, and other investigators, etc.  I also talk about job expectations, and have a training session, and discuss hours. After this, the interns will be under my direct supervision, until I feel comfortable that they are prepared to proceed on their own.


The investigative assistant internship consists of reviewing a case (trespass, burglary, assault, etc.), deciding what course of action is needed, and performing a follow-up investigation of that case. The interns will contact complaining witnesses and eyewitnesses and interview them appropriately (either by phone or in person).  They may need to contact businesses, and ask for surveillance videos, or customer entry logs, etc. The interns are expected to have excellent note taking skills, and are required to document every action taken during this investigative process.


Here is a list of some other responsibilities an Investigative Assistant may be responsible for:


    -Shadowing senior investigators

    -Running background checks on witnesses or police officers

    -Reviewing surveillance

    -Completing transcriptions of audio recordings

    -Administrative work: filing, copying, faxing


To apply, click here for an application.




Candidates for the position of Trial Attorney at BDS should possess qualities that clearly demonstrate they will excel as career public defenders in one of the nation's premiere criminal defense law firms.

Students will have ideally taken trial advocacy, evidence, ethics, criminal law and criminal procedure courses leading up to their J.D. degree. We are particularly interested in students who have participated in clinical programs involving client representation at those law schools who offer such programs. We also seek candidates with a demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest, as expressed by coursework, internships, and extra-curricular activities. Prospective attorneys at BDS will need to have an appreciation of, and ability to relate to, the obstacles faced by our indigent clients, both in their Brooklyn neighborhoods and in negotiating the vagaries of New York's criminal justice system. Candidates whose own background and experience reflect the diversity of Brooklyn's communities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Candidates who are already admitted attorneys and practicing criminal law should demonstrate a history of excellence in advocating for their clients in all aspects of their criminal cases. They should also be adept at handling the myriad collateral consequences arising from a criminal case in the organic fashion for which BDS is renowned.



Attorney Training

Brooklyn Defender Services’ intensive training program is designed for recent law graduates and attorneys who are new to the practice of criminal law in New York. Attorneys spend the first few weeks of their practice attending in-house lectures on various aspects of criminal defense, shadowing experienced attorneys and practicing their skills through simulations of various aspects of criminal practice.


Within the first month, new attorneys begin building their own caseload  while simultaneously conducting case reviews with their supervisors and mentors. Throughout the first year of their practice the process continues with an intensive trial advocacy training program. Attorneys conduct simulated hearings and trials from fact patterns derived from their own cases and work on the necessary skills for effective courtroom advocacy.


After approximately a year and a half, BDS attorneys are introduced to felony practice with another formal training class that familiarizes them with the intricacies of Supreme Court practice, including Grand Jury Practice, Felony Sentencing and other relevant topics.


All attorneys on trial are intensely supervised, which includes detailed preparation and full observation of the trial by a senior or supervising attorney.


With the wealth of experience due to the large number of senior attorneys, we are able to mentor and monitor new attorneys quite effectively, assuring that clients receive the best possible representation from start to finish.




Brooklyn Defender Services is an equal opportunity employer and fully subscribes to the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action to insure that all applicants and employees are considered for hire, promotion and job status without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex or physical handicap.