Essex Law Clinic

Our team

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Essex Law Clinic Staff

Meet the team behind the successful Essex Law Clinic

Our team members are made up of academics and students. Our academics have extensive knowledge and experience in the legal profession and are best placed to lead the clinic and oversee the high-level training our students both receive and deliver to the local community.

Clinic Core Team

Professor Donald Nicolson


Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Awarded an OBE in 2011 for his services to the legal profession, Donald became Director of the Essex Law Clinic in 2017 after founding both the University of Bristol Law Clinic and the multi award winning University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. Donald sat on the Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee and was a founding Director of LawWorks Scotland, and is still a Trustee of the Clinical Legal Education Organisation.

 Elizabeth Fisher-Frank

Acting Director

Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Liz's interests include social welfare law, family law, care proceedings and children’s rights. She set up and managed projects aimed at improving access to justice for vulnerable young people, particularly those in care, in both a local law firm and national charities. She is a member of The Law Society’s specialist Family Law Committee which considers law and policy on a national basis, and is a former member of its Children Law Sub Committee and Children Panel. Liz has campaigned on access to justice issues, particularly around children and young people.

 Lucy Davies


Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Lucy’s interests are in social welfare law, focussing on housing law and issues relating to homelessness. She brings practical experience in legal aid housing law provision, welfare benefits, and debt advice from her previous work with Shelter and Citizens Advice. She balances her work at the Law Clinic with her role as the Housing Legal Aid Supervisor at Suffolk Law Centre, the sole legal aid housing provider across Suffolk and North Essex. Within the Law Clinic, she supervises advice, public legal education, and the homelessness and housing project and runs a weekly advice outreach at a homeless support centre in Colchester.

Dr Olayinka Lewis


Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Olayinka worked as Academic Director of The Law Clinic at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. There, he implemented the expansion of the Law Clinic’s clientele, advice provision, and volunteer numbers. ‘Yinka previously worked as a solicitor for a number of years within the UK and abroad in various areas of law including petroleum law, commercial law, civil litigation, and immigration and asylum law. He has interests and expertise in immigration and asylum law and is passionate to provide immigration advice and training.

Dr Michele Stephens

Law Clinic Administrator

Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Michele Stephens holds a PhD in Latin American History from the University of Oklahoma and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. Michele has taught Latin American and Native American history at the university level for more than a decade and is looking forward to working with Law students and faculty in a different capacity. She is especially interested in learning more about England’s legal system and the needs of the Essex community, particularly in matters relating to women’s access to justice.

Ellie Reynolds

Student Director

Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Ellie is a third-year undergraduate LLB student. Ellie spent her first year of university in the Essex Law Clinic working on the innocence project assisting a criminal appeal, her second year on the domestic and sexual abuse project and is now a paralegal for a pro bono clinic, a connection she acquired through the Law Clinic. Her love for criminal law is prominent and growing each day, and a passion for helping those who are in need. Ellie recognises and appreciates the work the Clinic does and is more than proud to be on this journey with the hope of becoming a criminal barrister. She is a friendly and warm character, who will be a familiar face for anyone around the Clinic.

Ethan Naish

Deputy Student Director

Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Ethan is a third year undergraduate LLB Law student. Ethan joined the Law Clinic in his first year of university on the case work project, working through cases on issues such as housing, wills and probate, and family disputes. He is passionate about working within the local community and recognises the wider impact the Clinic has and is passionate about promoting social justice. After graduating Ethan hopes to train to become a barrister practising in traditional chancery and criminal law.

Malaika Somji

Deputy Student Director

Essex Law Clinic, University of Essex

Malaika, currently in her third year of undergraduate studies in LLB Law and Human Rights, has been an active member of the Clinic since her first year at the university, initially joining as part of the casework project. Her dedication to legal aid expanded into the realm of immigration, and this year, she will lead the Immigration Unit as the project leader. Committed to assisting individuals, Malaika recognizes the Clinic's pivotal role within the community, especially amidst the scarcity of available legal assistance. After graduation, she aspires to become a solicitor, channelling the valuable knowledge and experience acquired to continue making meaningful contributions to the legal field.

Essex Law Clinic Group Members
Where it all began

From it's launch in 2008, the Clinic's objectives are to enhance access to justice while providing students with experience in putting their legal knowledge into practice, learning legal skills and developing ethical awareness. In 2022, this remains a fundamental objective of the Essex Law Clinic.

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Essex Law Clinic students
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