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Jennifer Smith

Executive Director

Jennifer Smith is the executive director of the International Legal Foundation. An international expert in the field of legal aid and an experienced criminal defense lawyer, Ms. Smith has worked on legal aid reform across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. She is regularly called upon as an expert by the United Nations, governments, and organizations around the world. At the ILF, Ms. Smith has spearheaded efforts to strengthen international support for the right to quality legal representation for poor and vulnerable persons accused of crimes. She was one of the key drafters of the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, the first international instrument on legal aid (adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2012), and has contributed to a number of UN guidance tools that assist governments and other stakeholders in the implementation of the right to legal aid for the criminally accused. She was also the driving force behind the first-ever international legal aid conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2014, now a biennial event. She holds a law degree from Boston College and received the institution’s Hon. David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award in 2019.

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