Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division Committee members

Dr Sam De Silva (chair)

Dr Sam De SilvaDr Sam De Silva is a partner at CMS, based in London. Sam specialises in complex and strategic IT, outsourcing and telecommunication projects and regularly advises on data protection, privacy and cybersecurity issues.

Sam is the Law Society’s representative on both the EU Commission’s Expert Group on Cloud Computing Contracts and the IT Law Committee of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

Sam is a former chair of the Law Society’s Technology and Law Committee and is on the Data Law Committee of the City of London Law Society. Sam is recognised as a leading individual for IT in the most recent edition of the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories.

Sam is named in the Who’s Who of Information Technology 2020, the Who’s Who of Data Privacy and Protection 2020, and the Who’s Who of Data Security 2020. He has also been listed in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Global Elite 2020.

As well as being a qualified English law solicitor, Sam is also a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia, having worked at leading law firms in New Zealand and Australia for five years.

Sam is passionate about BAME issues and is one of the BAME Partner Champions at CMS. 

Akilah Jeffers (vice chair)

Akilah JeffersAkilah is an associate at Keller Lenkner, a specialist class action and group litigation firm, where she specialises in investment fraud and miss-selling in the London office.

Passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion, Akilah established, and currently chairs her firm’s BAME committee.

Prior to her current role, Akilah trained at the Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance, and has since specialised in white collar crime, insolvency, and risk and compliance.

A former secondary school teacher, Akilah is also a mentor, school governor, and a trustee of an arts and education charity. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, horse riding and dancing.

Susanta Banerjee

Susanta BanerjeeSusanta is a solicitor-advocate and director-owner of SKB Legal. He practises all aspects of criminal defence work including regulatory and business crime having done so at various national law firms.

Over the years, he has carefully followed the interests of young people particularly those suffering with mental health issues to offer support. In addition, he has worked closely with community centres, outreach programmes including temples and other local agencies, assisting those from minority groups.

He has also recently given talks on an Asian radio forum to explain financial orders and court enforcement procedures. He is passionate about promoting the interests and concerns of BAME lawyers countrywide. 

John Benjamin

Bio will be updated shortly. 

Rebecca Burford

Rebecca Burford is a Black woman, wearing a white suit and smiling at the camera, with a office backgroundRebecca Burford is a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP who specialises in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and growth capital investments.

Rebecca is also chair of the Race Action Group at Charles Russell Speechlys and the firm’s diversity and inclusion partner for ethnicity, religion and belief.

Rebecca was recognised in The Lawyer’s prestigious Hot 100 List, is ranked in the recent edition Legal 500 directory as Next Generation Partner and ranked in the Chambers and Partners directory as Up and Coming.

Rebecca has also been shortlisted on a number of occasions as Corporate Lawyer of the Year at the South East Insider Deal Maker Awards.

Rebecca is passionate about improving diversity in the legal profession and creating more inclusive workplaces in the legal sector. She joined our Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division (EMLD) committee in 2021.

Sujata Das

Sujata is an Asian woman in a dark pink shirt, smiling at the cameraSujata is a solicitor with a commercial and regulatory background, has worked in-house at various organisations including HP, Shell, the Financial Conduct Authority and JP Morgan, and is a consultant legal counsel.

She has also been involved in writing and editorial work, and has written legal articles and reports for the Financial Times.

Sujata is a member of a Law Society diversity and inclusion committee as she has a strong interest in equality, fairness and progressiveness in the workplace. 

Jacqueline P. Devonish

Jaqueline Devonish is a black woman, wearing a yellow ruffled top and gold necklace, she's smiling at the cameraJacqueline Devonish has general private practice, prosecution, regulatory and governance experience – having been a principal of her own firm in London, a member of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for 14 years, and now a full-time coroner.

She works passionately at everything she undertakes and has joined our EMLD Committee to share her skills in influencing change to promote equality and inclusion across the legal profession and wider community.

Hekim Hannan

Hekim HananHekim Hannan is an associate solicitor and costs lawyer at Browne Jacobson based in Nottingham.

He has previously been chair of the Junior Lawyers Division, chair of the University of Law’s Student Associate Governing Board and is currently a committee member of Nottingham Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee.

He has a strong interest in social mobility and equality. Outside of work, he enjoys running and completed four marathons last year.

Shivani Jobanputra

Shivani Jobanputra is an Asian woman in a white shirt and blue blazer, smiling at the cameraShivani is currently a paralegal at In-House Legal Solutions in Liverpool and will be starting her training contract in December 2021.

She graduated at the University of Sheffield and studied law for one year at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland.

Shivani has a strong passion for the promoting equality and diversity in the legal field and hopes to provide useful insight from a paralegal perspective to assist the Law Society in tacking inequality.

Shivani sits on the EMLD Committee as an elected committee observer.

Council member: Muntech Kaur

Muntech Kaur is an Asian woman, wearing a suit, looking at the camera against a plain, white backgroundMuntech is an associate solicitor at a regional Legal 500 firm specialising in family law and features in the Legal 500 directory, being named Recommended Lawyer in 2018; Next Generation Lawyer in 2019; and Rising Star in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

In 2017, Muntech was elected as a committee member for the Society of Asian Lawyers (SAL) and subsequently elected as company secretary in 2018 and treasurer in 2019, a role which she currently serves. Additionally, Muntech mentors candidates referred via SAL’s mentoring scheme.

In 2019, Muntech took over SAL’s co-opted seat as a committee member on our EMLD and later was selected as a free-standing committee member.

In 2021, Muntech secured the Law Society Council seat for Ethnic Minorities, a role which she commenced in October 2021.

Muntech took part in our national brand advertising campaign, appearing in advertisements on public transport and online. Muntech has also appeared on BBC Essex Radio in 2018 and 2019.

During her career, Muntech has undertaken pro bono work at multiple organisations, including Citizens Advice Bureau, Shepherds Bush Housing Association and Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Muntech continues to dedicate her time to the community by way of volunteering including with Nishkam Sikh Welfare and Awareness team (SWAT), Sikh Shaadi and fund raising for charitable causes.

Dee Sekar

Dee Sekar is an asian woman, wearing a dark floral blouse, smiling at the cameraDee Sekar is a UK-qualified lawyer and global diversity and inclusion (D&I) expert.

She is global senior manager at British American Tobacco’s (BAT) London HQ focusing on development, inclusion, talent and operational excellence.

Prior to joining BAT in 2021, she was the global diversity and inclusion (D&I) director for a legal research organisation, and was responsible for driving the internal and external D&I strategy, change and transformation.

She is passionate about corporate social responsibility and pro bono. Dee is a trustee at Spitalfields City Farm and actively partakes in legal pro bono matters for charities and community organisations.

Outside of work, Dee is passionate about music and the arts.

Victoria Teymourian-Yates

Victoria Teymourian-Yates is a woman with curly hair, wearing a grey jacket and smiling at the cameraVictoria is an associate solicitor specialising in family law, based at Laurus in Central London.

Victoria is passionate about diversity, inclusion and raising awareness of the issues facing ethnic minority lawyers in the profession.

Throughout her studies and career, she has assisted various pro bono organisations to provide legal advice and representation to vulnerable clients and those in need who cannot access legal services.

In her spare time, Victoria enjoys travelling abroad, road trips and scuba diving.

Clive Wong

Clive Wong is an Asian man wearing a suit, smiling at the cameraClive is a capital markets associate at Latham & Watkins, based in London.

He graduated with a LLB degree from the University of Birmingham, followed by a LLM degree from the University of Cambridge. He qualified as a solicitor of England and Wales and as an attorney of the State of New York, USA, both in 2020.

He is passionate about diversity issues and is an active member of the pro bono practice of his firm, having been involved in various pro bono projects ranging from asylum applications to legal clinics.

Cindy Yip

Cindy Yip is an Asian woman wearing a blue top, smiling at the camera with a plain white backgroundCindy Yip is senior legal counsel at Google and is based in the London office. Prior to joining Google, she trained and qualified in the City at Simmons & Simmons.

She has a strong interest in supporting ethnic minority students and lawyers in the legal profession and is passionate about progressing social mobility.

In her spare time, Cindy loves to read and discuss books that she's enjoyed as well as go on long countryside walks.

Binte Zahra

Bio will be updated shortly.

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