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 a leading international expert in the field of legal aid and an experienced criminal defense lawyer. She has worked on legal aid reform in a number of countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa and is regularly called upon as an expert by the United Nations, governments and organizations around the world. Previously, as the ILF’s advocacy director, Ms. Smith established the ILF’s global advocacy program. At the ILF, Ms. 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 United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, the first international instrument on legal aid, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2012. She was also the driving force behind the first-ever international conference focused on criminal legal aid, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2014.

Before joining the ILF, Ms. Smith lived in China for five years, where she ran the China Defender Program of International Bridges to Justice. Prior to that, Ms. Smith served as a public defender in New York for the Legal Aid Society and in Massachusetts for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), where she represented hundreds of indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor cases at all stages of the criminal process. Additionally, Ms. Smith founded the immigration impact unit at CPCS, an office responsible for assisting defense lawyers to advise noncitizen clients of the immigration consequences of their criminal cases. Ms. Smith also worked in Cambodia, assisting the development of the first local nongovernmental public defender office. Ms. Smith is a graduate of Boston College Law School.

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.

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.

Andrew Reisman

Communications and Advocacy Officer

Prior to joining the ILF, Andrew was the Junior Fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law, where he contributed research to The American Exception: Terrorism Prosecutions in the United States, and an Events and Marketing Associate for Foreign Affairs magazine at the Council on Foreign Relations. He received a B.A. in History with a minor in Communications from Tufts University in 2013.

Clarissa Malibiran

Director of Finance

Clarissa brings to the ILF over 15 years of experience in nonprofit financial management. Originally from the Philippines, Clarissa graduated from the Philippine School of Business Administration in Manila with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a major in Accounting. She then worked as an accountant in both private and public sectors before immigrating to the United States. In the United States, she completed a training in computer programming at the Chubb Institute before joining the New York City Bar Association as an accountant. Clarissa spent 15 years working at the New York City Bar Association, where she was primarily responsible for its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the City Bar Fund (CBF).

Cecille Trinidad

Grant Accountant

Cecille has over 20 years accounting, budgeting, and auditing work experience in both commercial and nonprofit sectors. Prior to moving to the US, she taught Accounting & Taxation at the college level for almost 13 years. Ms. Trinidad has also previously worked as the Finance Officer for the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), an international NGO in the Philippines. She was also employed by the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)-National Secretariat as an Accountant in the late ‘80s. After passing the CPA Licensure Exams, she started to work as an Internal Auditor for a marketing group of companies and then in a commercial bank. She graduated from the Philippine School of Business Administration in Manila with a degree in Business Administration, as an accounting major.

Natalie Stephenson

Director of Administration

Natalie Stephenson, the ILF’s Director of Administration, 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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