Current Councillors

Below are profiles of the ten Councillors who do not currently hold Office Bearer positions. Members of the Executive Council who are not Office Bearers are elected for a term of two years and must participate in and/or chair at least one Committee during their term.

Raymon Anderson

Raymon is a Special Counsel in the litigation team at Chambers Russell Lawyers. He has previously held positions such as Secretary of NSW Young Lawyers, Vice Chair and Chair of the CLE Committee, Vice Chair and CLE representative to the Property Law Committee and sat on the Law Society Indigenous Issues Committee and Ethics Committee and Solicitors Benevolent Association. He has contributed to many award winning NSW Young Lawyers publications and events and has previously been nominated for NSW Young Lawyer of the Year.

Raymon is passionate about empowering members to be involved, supported and encouraged in NSW Young Lawyers at whatever level is right for them. Having come through mental health/wellness issues in the past personally and with friends, colleagues and family, Raymon believes there is no place for stigma about these issues in the legal profession. Raymon wishes to be involved with events on life skills, career training, health and wellbeing and mental resilience. He hopes also to improve accessibility to information, programs and interaction through the use of technology so an increasing number of members have access to programs and have a safe environment to share and discuss the challenges they face.

In addition to his law degree, Raymon holds a Medical Science degree and a preliminary certificate in Theology.

Raymon’s other passions include his 1972 turbo mini, going to the beach, looking after his pet snake and embarrassing himself on the dance floor and at karaoke.

Email Raymon.

Simon Bruck

Simon is a Senior Solicitor at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) which is a community legal centre working for the rights of people seeker asylum. At NSW Young Lawyers, Simon holds the position of Vice Chair of the Human Rights Committee.

Simon co-coordinated the Refugee Assistance Project which assisted a proportion of people seeking asylum in New South Wales to meet their protection visa lodgement deadlines. This project won the 2016 and 2017 NSW Young Lawyers Patron Awards for Best Community Project and the 2017 Australian Young Lawyer Organisation Award from the Law Council of Australia.

As an Executive Councillor for NSW Young Lawyers, Simon wants to focus on improving the facilitation of committee led events and projects, and promoting access to justice and law reform.

Email Simon.

Svetlana Collantes 

Svetlana is a Senior Associate at Bannister Law, a firm which focuses on class action litigation including but not limited to shareholder and consumer law disputes.

Her previous experience extends to working as an Associate at Levitt Robinson Solicitors in the Class Action and Commercial Litigation Teams, a Consulting Lawyer in the Aviation Team at Carneys Lawyers and as an Evidence Specialist at Dodkin McBride Litigation Support. 

Svetlana is the Immediate Past Chair of the Business Law Committee and served as the Young Lawyers representative on the Law Society Business Law Committee for two and a half years.

In addition to her Postgraduate Law Degree, Svetlana holds a Masters of Law (Corporate and Commercial Law).

Svetlana is enthusiastic and passionate about mentoring and supporting law students, graduates and young lawyers, and encourages them to be actively involved in NSW Young Lawyers. Having mostly worked in Insurance Litigation her entire legal career, Svetlana is familiar with the pressures and stressful environments in the legal profession. Due to the increasing number of young lawyers and law students who today suffer from Depression or some form of mental illness, Svetlana introduced the Well-Being Discussion into the monthly NSW Young Lawyers Business Law Committee meetings (whilst acting as Chair) to allow a 'safe' forum for young lawyers and law students to speak openly about the difficulties and challenges they faced and to discuss self-help tools to manage stress and low self-esteem.

In her spare time, Svetlana also enjoys travelling, going to the beach, dancing and catching up with friends and family.

Email Svetlana.

Elyse Di Stefano

Elyse was admitted in 2018 and is currently a Tipstaff at the Supreme Court of New South Wales. She will soon move into practice to work in commercial property. 

In 2017, Elyse was the co-chair of the Special Committee of Law Student Societies (SCLSS), the student committee of NSW Young Lawyers made up of representatives from law student societies from around NSW. Prior to that, Elyse was involved in SCLSS in her capacity as President of the Notre Dame Student Law Society in which she organised the Student Golden Gavel which received an honourable mention at the Patron Awards for Best Community Project.

Elyse is committed to engaging law students and newly admitted lawyers in the organisation, and is particularly interested in bridging the gap between law school and the profession.

In her spare time, Elyse enjoys learning Italian, yoga, going on long coastal walks and spending time with her big loud family.

Email Elyse.

Melissa Mastronardi

Melissa is a Senior Associate at Duffy Elliott Lawyers in Dubbo. She was admitted to practice in 2010 and has worked exclusively as a family law solicitor since January 2011.

Melissa has been involved with NSW Young Lawyers since 2011. She is the current Chair of the BushWeb Regional Issues Committee. She is a former Vice-Chair of BushWeb Regional Issues Committee, Regional Delegate for South West Slopes and Regional Delegate for Orana. In 2016 Melissa was nominated for the NSW Young Lawyer of the Year.

Melissa was raised in Dubbo and, after studying in Canberra and practising in Wagga Wagga, returned to Dubbo in 2014. Melissa is passionate about supporting and engaging regional and rural young lawyers. Melissa developed the Guide to Living and Working in the Orana Region to assist young lawyers transitioning to life in the Central West.

As a regional family lawyer Melissa is also focused on improving family law services for regional clients. Melissa has been the Dubbo Representative to the Regional Committee of the Family Law Section since December 2015.

Outside of work Melissa enjoys quilting, history, spending time with her family and friends and is an avid supporter of the Sydney Roosters.

Email Melissa, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Simon McNamara

Simon is a Lawyer working at Clayton Utz, currently rotating in the commercial litigation team for the graduate program. He also has worked in private equity real estate, major projects & construction and administrative law.

Simon was elected to council in October of 2018, having been a General Delegate fos NSW Young Lawyers that year. Previously, he was the co-chair of the Special Committee of Law Student Societies in 2016, following his involvement on the committee as UNSW Law Society's Co-President in 2015. He graduated from UNSW with a combined degree in Law (Hons) and Arts (Distinction)  in 2016.

Simon is passionate about graduate outcomes for university students and mental health in the profession. He is also focused on achieving equity in the workplace and advocating for adequate community representation within the profession. In his spare time Simon enjoys playing blues guitar, reading science books and despairing over the Wallabies' latest loss to the All Blacks.

Email Simon.

Maria Nawaz

Maria Nawaz is the Law Reform and Policy Solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre and a Lecturer at the UNSW Human Rights Clinic. Maria has previously worked at the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department and Legal Aid NSW. Maria specialises in human rights, discrimination and employment law.

At NSW Young Lawyers, Maria is the Chair of the Human Rights Committee, and was previously the Vice Chair of that committee. She was part of the Human Rights Committee’s Refugee Assistance Project team which won the NSW Young Lawyers Patron Award for Best Community Project (2016 and 2017) and the Australian Young Lawyer Organisation Award (2017). Maria also sits on the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee.

On Executive Council, Maria aims to focus on increasing NSW Young Lawyer’s law reform and advocacy work and promoting access to justice.

Email Maria.

James Skelton

James is a member of Swaab Attorneys' commercial and intellectual property practice with a focus on the commercialisation of intellectual property rights, business advice and brand protection strategies. He also has significant experience as the in-house counsel to a large not-for-profit membership based organisation.

James was named the 2017 Australian Young Lawyer of the Year by the Law Council of Australia for his work on wellbeing and diversity in the legal profession and won the 2017 Lawyers Weekly "30 Under 30" Award for commercial law in Australia.

Having been an active member of NSW Young Lawyers since 2013, James has coordinated numerous submissions for the Communications, Entertainment and Technology Committee, which have been well regarded by both government and industry bodies. Some key areas of interest have been copyright reform in the digital age, serious invasions of privacy and changes to the innovation patent system in Australia. James is an advocate for positive wellbeing and strong mental health in the profession, and is keen to increase membership engagement across a number of practice areas and geographic regions.

James holds a Bachelor of International Studies and Juris Doctor from UNSW.

Email James, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Brecht Valcke

Brecht is a Belgian, Australian and New York qualified lawyer, educated in both common law (JD, LLM, GDLP) and civil law (Cand. Jur., Lic. Jur.) jurisdictions.  Brecht specialises in dispute resolution (international arbitration & litigation) and has a passion for public international law.  Prior to joining private practice in Australia, Brecht worked for the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in New York.  Brecht is also the current Chair of the International Law Committee of NSW Young Lawyers.  Outside of work, Brecht enjoys history, cooking and gardening.

Email Brecht.