Ryan Craig Ishmail

Lawyer & Acting Magistrate at Department of Justice and Constitutional Development


  • LLB (2008)
  • LLM (2014)

Ryan Craig Ishmail matriculated from Kimberley Boys’ High School in 2003 as one of the top 20 black learners in the Northern Cape. He graduated with an LLB degree at the UFS in 2008. On completion of his articles in 2009, he was admitted as attorney at the age of 23 and started working at the UFS Law Clinic. 

 In 2010, he joined Legal Aid South Africa as a Professional Assistant, providing services to clients who could not afford legal representation. He obtained his master’s degree in Labour Law (LLM) in 2014. After his tenure at Legal Aid South Africa ended in 2015, he started his own practice, RC Ishmail Attorneys, where he is currently still the Director. In the same year, he won an award for the best business plan for a start-up law firm. He was admitted as a notary public in 2015 and as a conveyancer in 2018. 

Mr Ishmail was appointed supervising attorney at the UFS Law Clinic in 2016. He served as Legal Officer in the Directorate for Student Discipline and Mediation from 2016 until the end of 2017, chairing and initiating disciplinary hearings for UFS students. In 2018, he lectured Criminal Law to second-year LLB students, as well as Labour Law in the UFS Business School. He currently serves as chairperson in staff hearings on the UFS Human Resources panel and the Directorate for Student Discipline and Mediation. 

During the annual UFS Law Faculty Open Day, Mr Ishmail assists prospective LLB first-years and their parents regarding the LLB degree. He has been a guest speaker on various platforms, such as the Law Faculty Dean’s Awards and the annual event where LLB students take their oath as future legal professionals. 

Upon opening his practice, he appointed a paralegal from the LGBTQI+ community who was unable to complete his degree due to financial problems. Mr Ishmail took it upon himself to fund this student, who will complete his LLB at the end of 2019. 

Mr Ishmail was the youngest ever magistrate in the Free State at the age of 31. He also serves as presiding officer at the annual National Schools Moot Court, and lectures Ethics and Constitutional Law to candidate attorneys. He has served as branch committee member of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) in Bloemfontein since 2016; during this time, he helped to establish a student chapter at the UFS. 

His hobbies include food and wine pairing, he is an aspirant wine connoisseur, does weightlifting, and enjoys adventures with his daughter.

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