Matthew Smerdon

Matthew joined TLEF in October 2013 as its first chief executive.

He has had longstanding involvement in the role of law as a tool for social justice, both through grantmaking and work in delivery charities. Matthew has worked in the foundation sector since 2004 when he joined the Baring Foundation as deputy director.

Previously, he was director of community work at Community Links in east London, where he continued as an advisor from 2004-2012; and, from 2007-2009, was seconded to the Prime Minister’s Council on Social Action. He is the author of publications on legal advice, social action, public services, the voluntary sector and grant-making.

In September 2013, Matthew was appointed to the Civil Justice Council. He is the vice-chair of governors at a primary school local to his home in Hackney.

Belinda Berry

Belinda is the administration manager and has worked at TLEF since 2012.

She is part of the administration team that provides a wide range of support to our governors and executive team, which includes grant administration and systems, facilities management, HR and diary management, collating and producing meeting papers and helping to organise special events, including the Justice First Fellowship conferences and annual dinner.

Belinda previously worked at the College of Law, first in student services, and then as assistant college secretary, providing admin support to the trustees and board of management.

Jennifer Burgess

Jenny is an administration officer and joined TLEF in 2017.

She is part of our team that provides a wide range support to TLEF’s governors and executive team, which includes helping to organise the Justice First Fellowship conferences and dinner, co-ordinating the fellowship interview process, and collating meeting papers.

Natalie Byrom

Dr Natalie Byrom is Director of Research at The Legal Education Foundation) where she leads work on their Smarter Justice programme. In 2020, the Foundation announced the development of a new strategic initiative, the UK Access to Justice Lab, which aims to improve the evidence base for what works in assisting individuals understand and use the law, and address gaps in research about the outcomes people secure in relation to their legal problems. Dr Byrom is part of the BBC Expert Women Network and her writing has been featured in the national and legal press. She sits on the Administrative Justice Council and has been seconded to the UK government as Expert Advisor on Open Data and Academic Engagement. Her final report to government set out a series of recommendations for the ways in which the data architecture underpinning online court projects should be developed to ensure that access to justice is upheld and enhanced. In 2020 she led a rapid consultation for the Civil Justice Council which aimed to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the Civil Justice System.

Carol Coe

Carol joined TLEF in 2012, and is part of our finance team, which provides a wide range of support to TLEF’s grantees, governors and executive team, including payment of invoices and review of grant payments.

She previously worked at the College of Law as an accounts manager.

Jill Gale

Jill helped establish TLEF’s administration team and to organise the move to our current head office in Shalford in 2013.

She is now head of administration, overseeing the general administration of TLEF and the Justice First Fellowship. She has overall responsibility for grant administration, websites, IT, insurance, HR, and health and safety. She and her team organise the Justice First Fellowship conferences and dinner, external university talks, and other special events. She is responsible for the fund administration of TLEF’s investments, and is secretary to the trustees of the College of Law pension scheme.

Jill was previously deputy secretary at the College of Law.

Tracey Gyateng

Tracey Gyateng joined in 2021 and leads on developing data and evaluation support programmes to non-profit organisations providing access to justice services; and improving the availability of data to address access to justice challenges as part of the Justice Lab initiative.

She is a quantitative social researcher and specialises in the access, collection and management of quantitative data to inform decision making. Tracey has a passion for the use of data science and general quantitative techniques to support people in their lives. She was the data science manager at DataKind UK and worked with not for profit organisations to ethically and legally utilise their own and/or open data; and was programme manager for New Philanthropy Capital’s ‘Data Lab’, which brought non profit and UK government departments together to responsibly share data for project evaluation.

Alan Harlow

Alan joined TLEF in 2015. He is responsible for the development, maintenance, and integration of our IT systems, including Salesforce, SharePoint, and Office 365’s suite of programmes. He is also responsible for TLEF and the Justice First Fellowship’s websites, the fellowship clearing house, grant-automated reporting systems, and IT security.

Previously, Alan worked for over 20 years with major UK defence contractors on a number of large scale, real-time software development programmes, where he was involved across the full software development lifecycle.

Alan Humphreys

Alan is a qualified accountant, and oversaw the establishment of TLEF.

He is responsible for all our support operations, including finance, administration, IT, HR, property, contracts and investments.

Earlier in his career, he was group finance director of an international service organisation, before joining the College of Law as deputy chief executive, in charge of its non-academic operations. Alan oversaw the sale of the College of Law training operations, the proceeds from which provided TLEF’s £260m capital fund.

Alan is also a trustee of the College of Law pension scheme, and responsible for fund administration and investments.

Clare Johns

Clare joined TLEF in 2012 as financial accountant, and was made secretary in November 2019.

She qualified as a chartered accountant with Baker Tilly, before joining the College of Law’s finance team. In this role, she was responsible for financial reporting, and was involved in systems development. She also served as trustee of the pension scheme.

Clare has also worked as finance director of a small private college in London, providing accounting services on a self-employed basis, and was secretary to the Central Applications Board. In 2019, Clare became a trustee of a local Citizens Advice.

Sheena Khanna

Sheena joined TLEF in September 2020.

She is experienced in grant-making, having previously held positions in arts funding. At Arts Council England she worked on project grants, the National Portfolio, and project managed the Artists’ International Development Fund (co-funded by British Council).

Prior to joining TLEF, Sheena spent five years freelancing in the arts, working with contemporary performance companies, venues and independent artists as producer, project manager and fundraiser. Sheena specialised in disability arts and freelanced at Unlimited, a funding and commission programme for disabled artists.

Clare Killeen

Clare joined the TLEF team in January 2020.

She is experienced in grant-making, having previously worked at the Clothworkers’ Foundation, a city livery company, where she supported small- and medium-sized charities through the grants process.

Before that, Clare worked in charities and social enterprises, particularly supporting people in the criminal justice system. Originally from Ireland, Clare has been a Londoner since making the move after completing a BA in politics, sociology, philosophy and human rights in 2013. Clare is also a regular volunteer at the Irish Film Festival London.

Jake Lee

Jake joined the foundation in 2016.

He spent 10 years at A&O, initially as an EU lawyer, before managing its global pro bono and charity programme. He has particular expertise of immigration systems from his role at Unbound Philanthropy (part-time).

Jake has worked with multiple trustee boards and advisory committees, including advising on the incorporation of Justice Collaborations, which hosts Justice Together, a funder collaboration that helps people who use the UK immigration system to access justice and thrive.

He was the first in his family to attend university, and understands the barriers people face entering and progressing through the legal profession. He was closely involved in the creation of the Justice First Fellowship, and continues to seek new ways of ensuring sustainable careers for social justice lawyers.

Nikki Letley

Nikki joined TLEF in 2013, and is part of our administration team, providing a wide range of support to TLEF’s governors and executive team, including grant administration and organising special events.

She previously worked at the College of Law as administration manager for the assessment office and student services.

Emily McCarron

Emily McCarron joined the Foundation in 2021.

She is a policy professional, researcher and lawyer advocating for equality, access to justice and human rights. She has previously held policy roles at Age UK, the Law Society of England and Wales, and the Legal Services Commission and prior to this, worked as a socio-legal researcher at the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales where she conducted research on the legal needs of disadvantaged people. Originally qualifying in Australia as a solicitor, she has volunteered at various community legal centres in Sydney and most recently served as a Trustee for Equally Ours (London).

When she can get there she loves spending time in the mountains and is a volunteer rep for the Ski Club of Great Britain.

Rachael Takens-Milne

Rachael joined TLEF in 2018. She oversees our grant-making and support to grantees.

She previously spent more than a decade at Trust for London, assessing and managing grants tackling poverty and inequality in the capital, supporting grantee organisations and leading programmes on safeguarding children’s rights, modern slavery, child sexual exploitation and the Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants. She was closely involved in the creation and development of London’s Poverty Profile, including managing its website. Prior employers include Lloyds TSB Foundation, Citizenship Foundation, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Charity Commission.

Rachael is a longstanding trustee (and formerly treasurer) of Women for Refugee Women, which supports and empowers refugee women to tell their stories and make the case for a fairer asylum system.

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