Meet the Presidents

With an enviable reputation for excellence our award-winning student societies work closely with the School and our alumni network to keep relationships with the sector alive and strong. Here this year's presidents outline their goals for the year, talk about their personal aspirations - and how they are planning to work with us to create a community of scholarship in which all students can thrive.

  • 'Best Law Society Overall': UBLC, winners, LawCareers.Net Awards 2020
  • 'Best New Society': Bristol SU Society Awards 2020

I wish to practice as a corporate solicitor in the sectors of private equity, equity capital markets and M&A and to pursue and spearhead a few personal charitable projects on the side to support those in need of help with the knowledge I have developed during my legal career.

Rodger Nyioh, President, ADR in Law Society

I have learnt that dreaming big can never limit you. My ultimate goal is to eventually become a judge, maybe even a justice of the supreme court. But for now, I think I will stick to becoming a civil barrister.

Maja Koscicka, President, Bar Society

After graduation, I hope to qualify as a commercial solicitor in an international city law firm, working with and meeting people from all over the world. Eventually, I hope to start my own business as an entrepreneur or as an investor in a product or service that is of positive value to society.

Athens Kann, PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL AWARENESS SOCIETY

After my studies, I hope to secure a training contract and some years’ experience in practice with a Bristol-based firm. I hope to then make the jump to the British Army’s ‘Army Legal Service’ as a Legal Officer. I hope this career will allow me to live a fulfilling life, one where adventure and the legal profession intertwine.

Lewis Alderman, President, Environmental and Energy Law Society

I appreciate the value of representation and have a passion for travelling and learning about cultures. I aim to continue my studies abroad and hopefully become a successful diplomat one day.

Yasmine Saif, President ELSA Bristol

I am particularly interested in politics, and although I haven’t ruled out the prospect of legal practice, I envisage myself working in the public sector in the U.K. following the completion of my studies.

Ryan Macmahon, President, Law Clinic

I’m due to commence my training contract at a City law firm in London after graduation. I have a broad interest in commercial law, particularly around corporate/M&A, finance and capital markets.

Kiran Pillai, President, Law Club

Coming of age during a time of astonishing social, legal and political revolution, both globally and nationally has enhanced and deepened my desire to work in the commercial legal sector. I am fascinated by the intersection of law and technology, and hope to one day practice in Privacy or Technology Law.

Sophia Karim, President, Law Conference

I aspire to pursue a career either as a corporate solicitor or an international lawyer and potentially getting involved in the world of diplomacy. In other words, the beauty of a law degree is that it is very transferable and offers a variety of challenging career paths!

Branko Djustibek, President, Lawyers without Borders Student Division

After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in commercial law at a global law firm. I would like to experience different cultures therefore international secondment opportunities particularly appeal to me. In the long term I aspire to develop the knowledge and skills which will enable me to start my own businesses.

Emily Willcox, President, LegalTech Society

After graduation, I hope to start a career as a solicitor in a law firm specialising in the insurance sector, preferably working in more contentious areas of law as a litigator. Further down the line, I hope to specialise in personal injury or clinical negligence, working mostly within the healthcare legal sector.

Iffah Umairah Md Farid, President, Medical Law Society

The best way to predict the future is to create it. I aspire to greatly involve myself with court work, becoming a barrister, commercial litigator or Justice’s Law Clerk. These enable me to integrate the academia of law with the real world and hopefully, inspire change in future.

Phoenix Gay Xue Ke, President, University Research for Change Forum

After completing my studies, I aim to practice law – with a particular interest in commercial law in London. Hopefully, I will one day achieve my goal and become a fluent Spanish speaker – although it may take me a while!

Oscar Smith, President, Unity and Diversity in Law

Upon completion of my degree, I hope to train as a barrister specialising in criminal and human rights law. I am keen to explore working internationally, and hope to one day start a programme making a legal education more accessible to everyone.

Ella Regan, President, Women in Law Society

Rodger Nyioh, ADR in Law Society

Hello everyone! My name is Rodger Nyioh and I am international student hailing from Malaysia who has a strong interest in business and particularly the many public M&As that often-become attractive headlines across various news websites. Beyond this, I am also interested in charity and pro bono work, and my curiosity as to how ADR could help develop the charity sector and increase legal representation for the disenfranchised led me to apply for the position of President in this society! Hence, during my tenure, I hope to provide you all with a glimpse of exactly that - to demonstrate how diverse of a tool ADR is for any aspiring lawyer today and the ways that it is revolutionizing dispute resolution. We welcome members from all disciplines, so please do feel free to join us for the ride!

Maja Koscicka, Bar Society

Hi everyone! I’m Maja Koscicka and I’m very excited to be the President of the Bar Society for the year 2021/22. Being a first generation immigrant and the first to attend university in my family, my journey to the bar has posed some difficulties at times. However, I hope to show everyone that regardless of your background, there really is ‘no bar to the bar’ (which is our society’s unofficial slogan). I can’t say that I have been dreaming about being a barrister since the day I took my first breath, in reality, I always thought I was destined to become a solicitor. It was only when I discovered my passion for public speaking (and being my own boss) that I knew the court life was for me. Now, I really can’t imagine myself pursuing anything else. I’m looking forward to convincing even more students that being a barrister is really not boring contrary to certain beliefs!

Athens Kann, Commercial Awareness Society

Hello! My name is Athens Kann and I'm the President of the Bristol Commercial Awareness Society 20/21. I come from the tiny island state of Singapore and in my first year, I involved myself in the numerous opportunities the law school has to offer, such as the law clinic and the various mooting and negotiation competitions. I strongly encourage law students to take advantage of the unique opportunities available from the law school and the various law societies to enrich and complement your time at university. At the Commercial Awareness Society, my team and I have many exciting plans for the upcoming school year, and we look forward to meeting you at one of our events in Bristol soon!

Lewis Alderman, Environmental and Energy Law Society

I’m Lewis, a final year Law with Study Abroad student here at the University’s Law School and am the current president of the EELS (Environmental and Energy Law Society). I spent my last year on exchange with the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Alongside the EELS I am a Student Adviser with our University’s Law Clinic and a Student Ambassador for the University. I love the outdoors and sport, playing football for UBLC and spending my weekends with my UOTC unit. I have so far loved my time in Bristol, and hope to secure a training contract here.

Yasmine Saif, European Law Students' Association (Bristol) (ELSA)

Hello! My name Yasmine Saif. I am a final-year Law student and am very excited to be the President of the European Law Students’ Association (Bristol)! I am an international student from Jordan and come from a Palestinian-Swedish family. Having been part of ELSA Bristol as the VP for Marketing, I am very lucky to have experienced everything it has to offer and am looking forward to work with the team to provide more exciting events. I enjoy a challenge and am sure this year will not be easy, but I am certain ELSA Bristol will work hard to resume in-person events and improve all aspects of all our departments. Being Palestinian, I understand what it feels like being from a minority, therefore, I aim to introduce an even more diverse and inclusive environment where everyone and anyone can feel welcomed. My focus will be on expanding our membership base and maintaining our external relations to continue our society’s progression.

Ryan MacMahon, Law Clinic

I am the Student Director of the Law Clinic for this academic year, 2020/21. I’m from the North West of Ireland and have both U.K. and Irish citizenship. My role at the Clinic involves being the primary contact between the Law School, our sponsor Osborne Clarke, our staff and our students. I also oversee the student management committee, the Law Clinic’s media and publicity, external partnerships, and the competitive recruitment process for the appointment of Advisors from law students. This will be my third year with the Law Clinic, in which time I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of real cases, and advised many different clients, under the supervision of the qualified solicitors who work in our Clifton office. Last year I was on the Committee as the Student Outreach Manager and had specific responsibility for the daily management our partnerships with charities and non-profits across Bristol. This year I look forward to working with the rest of the Student Committee to help the Law Clinic in the provision of high-quality legal advice, improving access to justice, and facilitating the valuable opportunity to work on behalf of real clients for students at Bristol Law School.

Kiran Pillai, Law Club

My name is Kiran Pillai and I am President of the University of Bristol Law Club (UBLC) for 2021/22. I am a final year law student and future trainee solicitor at a Magic Circle law firm in London. Having been a law student at Bristol for two years now, and having gone through the City law application process myself, I wanted to join the UBLC committee to strengthen the UBLC as the source of extra-curricular and employability opportunities for our members. I have been involved with the UBLC’s events, competitions and programmes since my first year of university. I truly believe that we provide a first class offering to our members and look forward to further developing this over the coming year.

Sophia Karim, Law Conference

Hi I’m Sophia, this year’s President of the Bristol Law Conference. My legal education thus far at Bristol has compelled me to challenge and question current opinions of legal scholars and authorities in a time of rapidly changing social evolution under the guidance of academic scholars who push me to develop my legal thinking even further. Growing up in the vibrant city of multicultural London as a British born Asian, I hope to provide a fresh perspective and deliver a diversified panel of speakers for this year’s Conference. This year’s theme is “Crime, Harm and Power” where we will be discussing a range of topics including Grenfell and Corporate Manslaughter, modern slavery and white-collar crime. The Committee and I have spent the past few months planning an exciting virtual event that will consist of lectures, panel sessions, live-streamed Q&As and interactive tools such as polls and breakout sessions. We hope to see you there!

Branko Djustibek, Lawyers Without Borders

My name is Branko Djustibek, I am the President of the Lawyers Without Borders Bristol Student Division and I would like to welcome you all on behalf of the 2021/22 LWOB Committee! Coming from a war-torn country in the Balkans, I have developed a strong interest in international affairs and human rights. For me, human rights and international law has always been an area of great interest as I recognize their vital importance in achieving a just and fair societal structure. This is the reason I am so passionate about LWOB’s mission of upholding the international rule of law, through various pro bono activities. 

Emily Willcox, LegalTech Society

My name is Emily and I am a third-year law undergraduate and President of the University of Bristol LegalTech Society. This society is brand new to Bristol this year! I started the society in order to inform our members about the trends and technologies impacting the legal sector. Considering the recent impact of Covid-19 and the notable shift across many sectors to remote working, the development of technology within the legal sector has become increasingly more important. As President, I liaise with firms and network with external individuals to provide event opportunities and careers advice particularly within the area of commercial law. We encourage students from all disciplines who may be thinking about a career in law to join!

Iffah Umairah Md Farid, Medical Law Society

My name is Iffah and I am a second-year law student and the current President of the University of Bristol Medical Law Society (UBMLS). I started off on the committee as their First-Year Representative, and I am eager to ensure that UBMLS grows and engages more students of all disciplines to allow them to develop an interest in medical law. I, myself, am deeply interested in specialising in the personal injury and clinical negligence practice areas, and am incredibly grateful for the opportunities this society has provided which helped me learn more about the field and meet lawyers and professionals working in this sector. As President, I liaise with our sponsor firms (Clyde & Co and Irwin Mitchell), network with other external organisations/individuals for event opportunities and careers advice as well as oversee the overall running of the committee.

Phoenix Gay Xue Ke, Research for Change Forum (RfCF)

I am Phoenix, a second-year law student, and President of the University of Bristol Research for Change Forum (RfCF). My journey with RfCF started as a First-Year Representative where I soon found myself enthralled with academic discussions on legal developments. Coming from a little red dot known as Singapore, I realised that while strict laws bring about security, authoritarian laws may cripple the disempowered and truly innocent. Through organising forums such as exploring the intersection of human rights and law and recently having a partnership with ‘Empowering The Innocent’, I hope that RfCF can empower students to enact a positive change to their own societies. RfCF works closely with postgraduate students, connecting them with undergraduates through networking events and gives them opportunities to publish articles on RfCF’s blog. Students from any course are welcome to join us – we are excited to meet you!    

Isabelle Ford, Unity & Diversity in Law

Hi everyone, my name is Isabelle Ford and I am delighted to be the president of Unity and Diversity in Law. I am a second year law student, completing a four year law course, including a year abroad. After becoming a Hate Crime Volunteer, I soon appreciated the systemic challenges and obstacles facing minority groups in society. Acknowledging the stereotypes associated with a career in law, I wanted to work to destigmatise this career path. During my presidency of Unity and Diversity in Law Society, I am excited to continue our grassroots series, aimed at levelling the playing field prior to commercial law applications. We are also delighted to be implementing our Schools Outreach Programme, aimed at raising aspirations of sixth formers to consider further education and the legal industry.

Ella Regan, Women in Law Society

I am a second-year law student, and am honoured to have been elected as the President of Women in Law this year. As part of my role, I lead a dedicated committee of eight members, manage the society’s partnership with our sponsor firms and have responsibility over all of our events and workshops. Our ethos as a society is focused around ‘empowering women in the legal profession’- something which I, alongside my fellow committee members, am absolutely dedicated to. Having previously worked as a legal assistant at a firm where 96% of the staff were women, I hope to use my experience to create an educative, empowering space for future women lawyers. I see no reason why any women should face any barrier in the modern legal profession. Alongside my committee, this year I look forward to bringing a programme of intersectional and inclusive events so all women feel welcome in the legal profession.

Upon completion of my degree I want to pursue a career at the criminal bar.

Love Engman, President, Criminal Justice Society

Love Engman, Criminal Justice Society

Hi everyone, my name is Love Engman and I am a final year Law student. I am from Sweden and moved to England to pursue a career within the law in the United Kingdom. I am the founder and president of the Criminal Justice Society. I created the Criminal Justice Society to provide focused events and opportunities based on criminal justice, and to further to build a community of like-minded individuals. I have been an avid mooter throughout university and have undertaken multiple mini pupillages during the summer breaks. I have recently commenced my volunteer work with the Freedom Clinic, enabling me to move my legal knowledge on paper to a more practical level. Outside of the law, I love to cook and bake. I find that they are a great way to destress from studying.

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