Brooklyn Bridge

New York

A small, dedicated staff at the ILF’s headquarters in New York City provides strategic leadership and direction to the organization, leads its global advocacy initiatives, engages in fundraising, and oversees the legal work, operations and administration of its country programs.


Jennifer Smith

Executive Director

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.

Liz Riegel

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.

Nicole Taylor

Program Director

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.

Shama Farooq

Deputy Program Director

Shama Farooq is an experienced public defender and manager, having served as a Deputy Public Defender in the U.S. state of Virginia for the past eight years. Prior to that, she worked as the Civil Rights Director for the Maryland and Virginia chapter of a national civil rights organization that served the needs of the Muslim community of the area. Shama has knowledge of the ILF’s programs, as she was an International Fellow in the ILF-West Bank office in 2013. She went to law school at Tulane University.

Betsy Walters

Program Officer

Betsy Walters joins the ILF after working as a Legal Fellow for the documentary film NGO p.h. balanced films, and as a consultant to the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. She has extensive experience in domestic and international policy advocacy, media outreach, and creating multi-stakeholder coalitions. She received her B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, and her law degree, with a Certificate in Human Rights Law, from the University of Connecticut.

Wasif Sindhi

Director of Finance and Administration

Wasif Sindhi brings extensive finance and administrative management experience to the ILF, having most recently worked as director of finance administration for a large New York State nonprofit organization called the Empire State Pride Agenda. Prior to that he worked as a finance manager for the Climate Group. Wasif graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Accounting.

Shelley Azumbrado

Grants Administrator

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.

Natalie Stephenson

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.

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