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

Upon completion of my degree, I hope to start a career in commercial law as a corporate solicitor at an international law firm, with a particular focus on legal tech. During my career, I hope to meet people around the word and build lasting relationships.

Girish Sirwani, PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL AWARENESS SOCIETY

My ultimate aim is to set up my own Environmental Law Foundation and focus on helping the most vulnerable people and areas.

Ishika Roy, 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

Upon graduation, I will be pursuing a career as a commercial lawyer in an international firm in London. I am interested in commercial law, especially in the debt capital markets and the M&A area.

Riki Story, 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 specialise in medical intellectual property law. As the research area of focus in my dissertation, I aspire to build on my initial professional experience in the private sector to later combine theory and practice by working both in the UK and abroad. It is with this calling where I believe I can make the most positive difference through medical law to as many as possible.

Isuru Athukoralage, President, Medical Law Society

I aspire to be more than just a trusted advisor to my client and to be able to continue to inspire and learn from colleagues around me.

Nikitha Lenus, President, Pro Bono 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

Upon completion of my degree, I aim to have secured a training contract with a city law firm; but more importantly I hope to be healthy, happy and doing something that I love.

Isabelle Ford, President, Unity and Diversity in Law

I am currently working towards a successful career as a corporate solicitor at a City firm. I enjoy transactional work and the ‘back and forwards’ between parties when drafting a contract, so this is an area I intend to explore further. But firstly, I hope to travel the world!

Darcey Pilkington, 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!

Girish Sirwani, Commercial Awareness Society

Hello! My name is Girish Sirwani and I am the President of the Bristol Commercial Awareness Society. I developed my commercial awareness by attending numerous open days, events or workshops, insight schemes and negotiation competitions throughout the year. Having realised the importance of this skill, as the President, I am excited to help members build their business acumen effectively and and encourage them to apply this skill to any career. I am also excited to build on the success of the previous year and provide members with a number of interesting opportunities relating to law, business and technology - we look forward to meeting you!

Ishika Roy, Environmental and Energy Law Society

Hi everyone! My names Ishika Roy and I am really looking forward to be the President of EELS this year after being the former General Secretary last year. I am determined to pursue a career in Environmental law as a solicitor in a Bristol law firm and wish to do pro-bono work with environmental organizations. This is due to my strong interest in protecting the environment, especially from big corporations that are liable for most carbon emissions. My main goal for The EELS is to provide students with a great platform with different opportunities and skills to pursue a career in environmental law, especially though our relationship with UKELA, MAPS, several law firms and barrister chambers. I hope to inspire more and more students to explore and gain knowledge about the crucial links between policies, laws, adjudication and protecting the environment since climate change is only becoming worse. 

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.

Riki Story, Law Conference

I’m Riki Story, the President of the Bristol Law Conference and on behalf of our committee, I would like to welcome you all. This year’s Conference is themed “Success in a Post-Pandemic Legal Landscape: COVID-19, ESG & Legal Tech'' and will be hosted virtually on the 20th of November. The Bristol Law Conference is an annual event attracting more than 200+ students. This year we are inviting prominent speakers, encompassing broad backgrounds, from MP’s to large law firm partners. Irrespective of your degree, if you are interested in the legal world or keeping up with current commercial affairs, please come online and join us on November 20th!

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!

Isuru Athukoralage, Medical Law Society

Hey everyone, my name is Isuru Athukoralage and I am the President of the University of Bristol Medical Law Society (UBMLS) for 2021/22. Having developed a keen interest in medical law after studying it in my second year, I regularly attended UBMLS events in 2020 and was genuinely taken back by the friendly, engaging, and diverse atmosphere. I intend to build upon this culture by leading our newly expanded committee to provide exclusive opportunities and valuable experiences in medical law to our members. Finally, as a third year Law LLB student, I have lived through the ups (and sometimes downs) of studying a law degree. As such, I want to be a friendly face on campus and social media who you can approach or contact at any time to ask questions, so come say hi!

Nikitha Lenus, Pro Bono Society

Hi all, my name is Nikitha Lenus, the president of the Pro Bono Society for 2021-22. I am an international student and a third culture kid from Dubai who is still in the process of exploring her interests and goals. The time spent at law school allowed me to understand that working at your own pace is seminal to your growth as an individual. Taking on this leadership role was a part of widening my horizons, which further allows me to do the same for my members. I am a firm believer in the saying “work for a cause, not for applause” – that is precisely what our society strives to achieve. We offer our members hands-on experience through are multiple partnerships, allowing them to think synthetically and analytically in response to the ever-changing social and economic conditions.  

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

I am Phoenix, a third-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.

Darcey Pilkington, Women in Law Society

Hello! My name is Darcey Pilkington and I’m so excited to be president of Women in Law. Having been exposed to the male-dominated legal industry through various work experience opportunities, I decided that it is absolutely crucial to empower women to overcome the barriers that we will inevitably face as lawyers. Hence, I will be focusing on four main aspects as president. These are friendship, employability, education and skills-building. I hope to support women and other gender minorities in these areas by hosting various inclusive events, expanding on the amazing legacy that Women in Law has already left since 2017. I am particularly excited to host Women in Debating, which is an eight-week programme that debuted last year! I can’t wait to help more women feel comfortable in their progression to the legal profession, whichever pathway they choose to take. 

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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