Our Staff

Natalie Barefoot

Executive Director


An attorney barred and based in Florida, Natalie spent over a year in the field working with scientists and others on the frontline of cetacean research and conservation to understand first hand the issues that cetaceans face. This included working with orca whales in New Zealand and humpback whales in the Cook Islands.

During this time Natalie logged over 400 hours on research boats tracking, observing and collecting data on cetaceans, including observational data, photographic data, acoustic data, and DNA samples. She also gained hands on experience with handling whale strandings, performing field necropsies, satellite tagging, and the filming of documentaries. After her time in the field, Natalie founded Cet Law to address a need for high-end legal research and resources.

News Screen Shot - Farewell Spit stranding with Cody - calf

Natalie has worked for United Nations Environment Programme based out of Switzerland as a programme officer specializing in general legal and environmental law issues. Prior to joining UNEP, Natalie was an attorney with Hogan Lovells, LLP in their Miami office, focusing her law practice on environmental litigation in U.S. state, federal and appellate courts. Before embarking on a career as an attorney, Natalie worked as a financial specialist and grants manager in international development with Pact, Inc., based in DC and then Harare, Zimbabwe implementing USAID funded projects.

Natalie graduated from The George Washington University magna cum laude with a BAccy and received her Juris Doctor magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from the University of Miami School of Law. During her time at UM she was the Executive Editor of the Law Review.

Natalie is a Member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and on the Whale Heritage Steering Committee of the World Cetacean Alliance. She is a certified PADI Divemaster, AIDA 2 freediver and a volunteer diver for coral restoration.

Sarah Hanners

Sarah Hanners

Sarah is a HOPE Fellow and third year law student at the University of Miami School of Law, volunteering for Cet Law as a certified legal intern. She is a Miami Scholar and a student editor on the Inter-American Law Review, where her article about deforestation in lowland Bolivia and Paraguay will be published next year. Prior to attending law school, she worked for ComunidadInti Wara Yassi, an environmental and animal welfare nonprofit in the eastern Bolivia, and is the co-founder and director of the Bolivian Amazon Land Trust Alliance. Sarah hopes to continue her work as an advocate for environmental justice after graduation.



Orca the cat never likes to be left out of a conference or Skype call, often making her presence and thoughts known. She is a fierce defender of cetaceans and their habitats, taking after her namesake as an intelligent, social, cultured, beautiful being, albeit with stinky fish breath. Orca likes her time “on” the computer as well, assisting to draft and send emails in an untimely manner and adding interesting perspectives to legal documents. Orca is well-known for her glow-in-the-dark dolphin collar, ladylike lounging and making sure that the Cet Law team is up and ready at the crack of dawn, whether they like it or not.