UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

New Directors at UK Lawyers for Israel

We are delighted to announce that Dr Efrat Shaoulian Sopher and Daniela Vinkeles-Melchers have been elected as new directors of UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI Ltd).


Dr Sopher serves as Chair of the Board of Advisors at the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf States Research, and on the Executive Committee of the HMS Maritime Policy and Strategy Research Centre at the University of Haifa. She is also a trustee of the University of Haifa UK.

Dr Sopher is an adviser on foreign policy in the Middle East to governments and organisations. She is an active member of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) Jewish Diplomatic Corps and has represented the WJC worldwide, including at the UN Human Rights Council. She is also a Deputy at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and a Vice President of the Board of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community, the oldest Jewish community in the UK. She is the first woman to serve in this post in this community’s history.

Dr Sopher studied International Relations, earning a BA degree from the University of Southern California. She then obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the College of Law, London, and qualified and practised as a solicitor.  She subsequently returned to an academic career with postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she received her MSc, MPhil and PhD, specialising in Israeli foreign policy towards Iran 1948-1979.  Her doctoral thesis revealed and analysed documents that had previously been sealed from public view. She continues to research and write on foreign policy matters relating to Iran and the Gulf, and on battling antisemitism.


Daniela Vinkeles-Melchers has worked with UKLFI on several projects, including opposing an anti-Israel exhibition at UCL and assisting with research regarding the International Criminal Court.

She has worked as a project consultant with clients including Linklaters, Deloitte, KPMG and Allen & Overy. She is also the author of a book titled “Rule of Law School: How to get through law school”.

She obtained an LLB at the University of Amsterdam and an LLM in International Commercial Law at The City University, London.  She speaks five languages and is an ardent  Zionist.


Mary Regnier Leigh has retired as director of UKLFI, and we would like to express our thanks for her contribution during the years that she served as a director.