Jill Thompson is the Directing Attorney of the new Audrey Irmas Project for Women and Girls’ Rights at Public Counsel. A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Thompson has more than twenty years of professional experience in the United States and internationally, working to protect human rights and advance equality for women and girls. Her legal experience includes five years as a litigator in private practice at Farella Braun & Martel in San Francisco, and as a legal services attorney for the L.A.-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. From 1998-2000, Ms. Thompson worked for the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw as Advisor on Human Trafficking Issues, followed by fourteen years in Sub-Saharan Africa as a gender specialist, legal & policy consultant and project manager with various international and non-governmental organizations, including USAID, UNODC, Population Council and IOM.
A recognized expert on sexual and gender based violence, reproductive rights, and human trafficking, Ms. Thompson has extensive experience designing, managing, and evaluating international rule of law and human rights programs, as well as expertise in training, research, and legislative and policy reform. In South Africa, she served as the Justice and Human Rights Advisor for USAID Southern Africa, managing USAID’s $12 million dollar Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative. Her experience also includes drafting national legislation and policies to address human trafficking, and teaching Gender Based Violence courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone.
Jill Thompson graduated, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she served as executive editor of the Women’s Law Journal.