Posting: Social Worker - Northeast Michigan Regional Defender Office

July 26, 2022


Starting Salary $42,000 - $50,000 D.O.E.

The Northeast Michigan Regional Defender Office is a non-profit organization providing indigent criminal defense services in Alpena and Montmorency Counties. The office envisions a holistic model of representation, integrated with local human service organizations to attend to the whole client, beyond the strict confines of a particular criminal charge.

General Summary:

Under the supervision of the Deputy Chief Defender, the Social Worker plays an integral role in providing holistic defense services throughout the duration of the attorney/client relationship.  As part of the defense team, the Social Worker will focus on addressing clients’ risks and needs; collaborating with our defense attorneys, building relationships within the community, and assisting with sentence mitigation.

Essential Functions:

  • Reviews indigency applications and evaluates assigned clients at intake to determine level and type of assistance required (e.g. substance abuse, mental health) and makes referrals to appropriate agencies.
  • Provides ongoing case management and referral services to clients and their families.
  • Identifies and conducts interviews with family and friends, employers, and other support system members who can aid in clients’ success.
  • Develops and maintains working relationships with area resource agencies.
  • Facilitates communication between the client and our staff, medical care and treatment providers, courts, probation, Community Corrections, and community contacts.
  • Prepares clients and their families for court appearances and accompany clients to court as requested by defense attorneys.
  • Maintains timely documentation; prepares case plans, reports, and enters case notes for attorneys and staff. Assists with the collection and maintenance of statistical records.
  • Administers psycho-social assessments as requested by defense attorneys.
  • Collaborates with attorneys to assist with defense strategies and sentence mitigation.
  • Gathers and presents information, prepares reports, and/or provides expert testimony in court at the direction of defense attorneys.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

This list may not be inclusive of the total scope of job functions to be performed. Duties and responsibilities may be added, deleted, or modified at any time.

Employment Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, or related field of study.
  • Strong interest in serving the indigent criminally accused.
  • Two years of experience working with individuals involved in legal proceedings and/or mental health or substance abuse treatment.
  • Ability to work compassionately and respectfully with clients in crisis
  • General understanding of the criminal legal system.
  • Ability to maintain accurate and detailed records.
  • Superior writing and presentation skills; ability to produce clear, concise, and effective materials in multiple formats and for multiple audiences.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and willingness to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to operate computer systems, software applications, and office equipment.
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree.
  • Work experience within the criminal justice system.
  • Strong community ties and established relationships with local service providers.

Additional Qualifications:

The qualifications listed above are intended to represent the minimum skills and experience levels associated with performing the duties and responsibilities contained in this job description. The qualifications should not be viewed as expressing absolute employment or promotional standards, but as general guidelines that should be considered along with other job-related selection or promotional criteria.

Physical Requirements:

This job requires the ability to perform the essential functions contained in this description. Reasonable accommodations will be made for otherwise qualified applicants unable to fulfill one or more of these requirements.

Working Conditions:

  • Works in office/courtroom setting; and will also meet with clients in jail. May sit or stand for long periods.  May be required to testify in open court.
  • Includes some travel between the covered counties and may include meeting with individuals at their homes, places of employment, etc.
  • May be required to lift up to 20 lbs.
  • Exposure to individuals charged with and/or convicted of serious criminal offenses.


Competitive salary, attractive benefit package.

Supportive team environment and positive workplace culture.

Opportunity to effect visible and measurable positive change within the community.

How to Apply:

Please send cover letter, resume, and college transcripts to Rick Steiger, Chief Defender at

The Northeast Michigan Regional Defender Office is an equal opportunity employer.


Apply now

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