Jennifer Smith, the ILF’s executive director, is an experienced criminal defense lawyer with extensive international development experience. She was previously the ILF’s advocacy director. At the ILF, Smith has spearheaded efforts to strengthen international support for the right to quality legal representation for poor persons accused of crimes. She played a key role in drafting the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, the first international instrument on legal aid. Before joining the ILF, she ran the China Defender Program of International Bridges to Justice, based in Beijing. Prior to that, Smith served as a public defender in New York and Massachusetts. Smith also worked on juvenile justice reform in Cambodia. Smith is a graduate of Boston College Law School.
Advocacy and Communications Officer
Advocacy and communication officer Blake Trettien graduated from NYU Law School in 2010, where he focused his studies on criminal and international law. Blake has held several legal internship positions in the field of indigent criminal defense, working on criminal appeals in New York, advocating for children in prison in Cambodia, and investigating death penalty cases in Alabama. Before attending law school he worked as a policy researcher and community organizer. Blake holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Nicole Taylor is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has practiced in the Philadelphia area for the past eight years. Most recently, she was an associate attorney at the law firm of El-Shabazz + Harris, LLC. Prior to that, she worked as a staff attorney at the Public Defender Association of Philadelphia. She spent a summer interning with the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons in Cape Town, South Africa where she researched prison reform post apartheid. Nicole is a graduate of Howard University School of Law and Spelman College.
Outreach and Communications Associate
Liz Riegel, the ILF’s Outreach and Communications Associate, was previously the Development Assistant at the International Center for Transitional Justice. Before her work at ICTJ, she interned at the Chicago History Museum and Queer Comrades Beijing. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a second major in anthropology.
Shelley Elizabeth Azumbrado, the grants administrator, has over 20-years experience in the non-profit sector. She has a Bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in Mathematics from the City University of New York (Baruch College). Upon graduating college, she also studied in Perugia, Italia and worked in Milan, Italy for four and a half years as a Systems Engineer.
Finance Associate and Fellows Coordinator
Natalie Stephenson, the ILF’s finance associate and the fellows coordinator, studied Philosophy and French at the University of NH. After graduating, she continued her studies in Philosophy at Sorbonne IV and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. From 2000-2002 she studied Chinese Language at the University of Peking. Before coming to the ILF, she wrote and coordinated grants for NYC public schools.