The PILnet Board of Directors is pleased to announce a few exciting changes at our organization.
After five years of service as Executive Director, Garth Meintjes has elected to assume a new role at the organization, stepping down as Executive Director and assuming the position of Senior Consultant.
Garth will be responsible for leading a two-and-a-half-year partnership between PILnet and Fordham University’s Leitner Center to launch an “Innovators Program” to train Chinese public interest lawyers. He will also pursue his long-held interest in developing a course in public interest law that can be adapted throughout the world. The Board thanks Garth for his many significant accomplishments during his tenure and particularly his steady leadership of the organization during turbulent times such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful that PILnet will be able to continue to count on Garth’s contributions in his new role.
We are also excited to announce that Leila Saad has accepted the role as our next Executive Director, commencing June 15, 2021. Leila served most recently as Deputy Director, with responsibility for operations, program oversight and outreach to law firms. She brings seasoned experience in the nonprofit and foundation sectors, with particular focus on law and social justice. Among her many accomplishments to date, she oversaw the creation of PILnet’s stronger on-line presence, pivoted PILnet’s Global Forum to a highly successful virtual format in 2020, revamped and upgraded its website, and assisted Garth in strengthening and managing the organization to position it for future growth.
Leila is a creative problem solver with a focus on collaborative team leadership and relationship building, skills we think are critical for the success of a global organization, such as ours, with three principal hubs in Hong Kong, Budapest, and New York. As Executive Director, Leila hopes to “strengthen PILnet’s ability to play a leading strategic role in identifying challenges and fostering effective solutions for public interest and pro bono lawyers to support and protect communities and societies where they live and work.” Under Leila’s leadership, PILnet will continue to work to increase access to justice, to support and strengthen civil society, and innovate in the sphere of pro bono and public interest law.
Leila will be supported in her role by our excellent and dedicated legal, program, finance, and support staff who make up the global PILnet team, including Julia Mayerhofer, Director for Asia, based in Hong Kong, and Andrej Nosko, Director for Europe, based in Budapest. Among many issues, our Asia Office is pursuing global refugee and anti-trafficking work and our Europe Office is currently exploring the use of technology to advance pro bono work and ways to aid communities being affected by climate change and environmental challenges.
PILnet’s annual Global Forum will be held virtually from October 18-20, 2021. We hope you will join us as we are planning to offer a wide range of engaging, interactive opportunities for our partners, stakeholders and practitioners to foster conversations on how best to engage lawyers in protecting the planet, supporting refugees and displaced persons, protecting civic space for activism and dissent, advancing digital innovations that serve the public interest, and more. Experts and practitioners will be invited to dialogue together on innovations in access to justice, such as the use of evidence-based tools to measure pro bono impact, and approaches to engage in pro bono around climate change. “See” you there!
Please join us in thanking Garth Meintjes for his five years of dedicated leadership and in welcoming Leila Saad as PILnet’s next Executive Director. We are excited about the future of the organization and look forward to continuing to improve and expand legal resources for civil society around the world in collaboration with our close partners like you.
Heng-Pin “Ping” Kiang, PILnet Board Co-Chair
Eric S. Koenig, PILnet Board Co-Chair