Employment Opportunity: International Legal Foundation Seeks Executive Director

The International Legal Foundation (ILF), an international, nongovernmental organization based in New York, assists post-conflict and transitional countries to establish public defender systems that provide free, quality criminal defense services to the poor. It achieves this by setting up public defender offices and mentoring local lawyers to provide proactive criminal defense services in countries where no culture of defense exists. Founded in 2001, the ILF has established public defender offices in Afghanistan, Nepal and the West Bank that have represented over 22,000 men, women and children. In addition, the New York office of the ILF engages in global advocacy to promote the rights of indigent accused persons.

The ILF is seeking a capable and resilient leader with knowledge of the international rule of law sector. Candidates should have a strong intellect and the ability to grasp complex legal issues quickly. The next executive director will represent an international organization credibly amongst a global stakeholder community, acting as a powerful advocate for quality criminal defense services for the poor. Strong communication and interpersonal skills will be essential. Most importantly, the executive director must share ILF’s passion for the role that law plays in protecting the rights of the accused and be inspired by this opportunity to achieve lasting results for the ILF and the countries in which the organization works.

The executive director is based in New York, but is required to travel frequently, including to remote and conflict affected areas.


  • Coordinate defense and advocacy efforts at the country and international levels; take ultimate responsibility for all ILF operations; report to the ILF board of directors
  • Lead management teams in New York and in the country offices; maintain a professional culture and a work environment that challenges, engage and retain staff
  • Cultivate existing and new government, multilateral and private donors
  • Build collaborative relationships with others in the international development community, and assist country offices in building relationships with key stakeholders to facilitate the eventual transition of ILF offices to sustainable local management
  • Speak and write widely to enhance the reputation of the ILF
  • Oversee all external communications, including with the media
  • • Conduct effective, ongoing strategic planning


  • Proven track record in management of a complex, internationally-oriented organization
  • Broad knowledge and understanding of NGO management, international development and rule of law initiatives
  • Experience working in developing and challenging country settings
  • Values and development philosophies consistent with the ILF, in particular a proven commitment to results driven and locally-owned programs
  • Expertise in budget planning and oversight, as well as grant compliance and reporting
  • Experience in fundraising
  • Law degree and practical criminal defense experience preferred
  • Outstanding verbal and written skills; fluency in English is mandatory; French, Arabic, or other language skills an advantage
  • Willingness to undertake significant international travel (~ 50% time).

The ILF offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits.

To be considered for this position, please submit: (a) your CV/resume, (b) cover letter, and (c) an essay of no more than one page discussing your views on whether ILF lawyers should be providing representation to persons accused of 1) gross violations of human rights; 2) violence against women; and 3) petty theft. Send all documents to the Search Committee at by 5 November 2012.

No telephone inquiries please. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

The International Legal Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.


October 30, 2012 | Namati