New Program Director

Job Type

Full Time




315 West 39th Street
Suite 507
New York
New York
United States


Job Description

New Program Director


Reports to:                Managing Director

Latest update:          September 24, 2018

The International Legal Foundation (ILF),, the leading global advocate for the right of the indigent accused to legal representation and a provider of legal aid services in post-conflict and transitioning countries around the world, is hiring a program director to lead its public defender initiatives worldwide. Driven by the belief that every person accused of a crime, no matter their ability to pay, deserves to be represented by a well-trained lawyer, the ILF has established pioneering public defender programs in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Tunisia and the West Bank that are leading the fight for equal access to justice for poor and vulnerable accused. The ILF’s uniquely practical and effective approach focuses on incrementally developing the knowledge and skills of local lawyers through mentoring—not simply dropping in and providing one off trainings—while collaborating with government and justice sector stakeholders to advocate for systemic changes. In addition to its ground-up work establishing effective legal aid systems, the ILF also engages in high-level global advocacy, pushing countries, international institutions, and donors to prioritize legal aid as a fundamental human right.

The program director will help pioneer the development of effective legal aid systems worldwide by leading the ILF’s long-term efforts to build a culture of defense, primarily through the day-to-day, case-by-case mentoring of local legal aid lawyers. This is an ideal position for passionate, committed advocates who understand the importance of quality criminal defense and are interested in transforming legal systems around the world. The ideal candidate will be an experienced public defender and trainer who is excited about teaching lawyers in post-conflict and transitioning countries to use the law to increase access to justice and respect for the rule of law.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop effective litigation strategies to advance the rights of the criminally accused by addressing entrenched rights violations and gaps between the law and actual practice.
  • Oversee the development and updating of the ILF’s practice manuals, training guides and sample motions for existing country programs and/ or develop practice manuals in new countries that will assist in the mentoring of the local staff and identify key issues to be litigated under the specific laws of the country.
  • Provide support to the ILF’s International Fellows Program, which places volunteer lawyers in our country offices to provide intensive mentoring to local lawyers.
  • Assist in developing and overseeing the ILF’s monitoring and evaluation systems, including the case management systems used by the ILF’s country programs in an effort to ensure accountability and to track continuous improvement and impact.
  • Assist in supervising, supporting and mentoring the management teams at the ILF’s country offices, both individually and as a group both on-site and long-distance.
  • Help guide growth, expansion and sustainability of the ILF’s public defender programs.
  • Implement activities in coordination with police, prosecutors, judges, various ministries and other civil society organizations that support the ILF’s litigation strategies.
  • Bring innovation and creativity to interventions and initiatives that aim to build justice sector understanding of the right to counsel and their role in ensuring access to justice.
  • Work effectively with the ILF’s Executive Director and Managing Director, and program and communications staff as necessary and appropriate, in supporting country office staff.
  • Travel to ILF country offices for periodic short-term and often extended periods of time to support program implementation for an average of six months per year of field support.
  • Assist with report writing and the development of publications that further the ILF’s advocacy.
  • Represent the ILF globally, including at conferences and other advocacy forums.

Skills and Experience:

  • Law degree and at least 5 years (preferably more) of practical experience in criminal defense
  • Strong preference will be given to candidates with appellate and public defender experience
  • Strong and demonstrated commitment to the ILF’s mission and goals necessary
  • Familiarity with case management systems utilized by public defender offices preferred
  • Practical lawyering skills training experience preferred
  • Familiarity with performance standards and guidelines for quality defense representation
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as in teams
  • Ability to work within strict timelines and handle multiple tasks
  • Experience working in an international setting preferred
  • Ability and willingness to travel to post-conflict/transitional countries
  • Ability to travel for extended periods of time to the ILF’s country office locations
  • Knowledge of French, Arabic or Spanish preferred.


The ILF provides medical insurance and a 403(b) plan.

Level of Language Proficiency

English fluency

Working knowledge of French, Arabic or Spanish preferred

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter by November 16, 2018 to: HR Director at

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

The International Legal Foundation is actively seeking diverse candidates for this position. We do not discriminate in hiring practices and encourage candidates of all abilities, ages, gender identities and expressions, national origins, races and ethnicities, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations to apply. The International Legal Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.