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Statements of Candidacy

SABA-DC 2021 Board of Directors

Avani Uppalapati - Secretary

Dear SABA-DC community,

I would love to serve as your Secretary on the 2021 SABA-DC Board of Directors. I am a third year in the Litigation and the International Trade practice groups at Fried Frank. I have been fortunate in my pro bono work to be part of impact litigation related to voting rights and immigration rights, and to advocate for domestic violence survivors.

Being part of SABA-DC has been a highlight of my career as a young lawyer. I have found an invaluable and supportive community that inspires me to aim high. The various events – from weekend yoga sessions to career development panels – have been welcome additions to my days. I want to support the Board in continuing to provide these activities and finding ways for people to connect.

I began serving as a Co-Chair of my firm’s Attorneys of Color group this year, and have learned a lot about the work that goes into putting on an event and building a community, especially in a virtual setting. I have collaborated with various stakeholders and discussed how to navigate difficult situations with peers. I have thought deeply about and engaged others on the steps we could take as a firm and as members of the legal profession to improve outcomes for diverse associates. All while taking excellent notes along the way – a skill that I would exercise with fervor as Secretary of the Board. I am also a big fan of institutional knowledge and would endeavor to contribute to that in my role.

I have engaged with these topics from my days as a law student and am grateful to be building on my experience in that area. As Co-President of the South Asian Law Students Association at Georgetown Law, I was focused on ensuring a sense of belonging and opportunities for South Asian students. My board and I organized public and private-sector oriented events, sometimes in partnership with other organizations, and coordinated with University administration on diversity efforts.

Diversity and representation is a topic that is close to my heart and I would put that passion to work for the Board. Serving as a mentor to other students and summer associates has helped me to appreciate how overwhelming a new endeavor can feel. Lately, most of us feel like we are undertaking new endeavors daily. My goal as Secretary would be to facilitate the smooth running of the Board and the events it puts on. I would make sure to communicate effectively with fellow Board members and help bring the team’s ideas to life.

As someone who has always been active in her communities, I would continue to do the same as a SABA-DC Secretary. I would seek out and listen to members’ feedback and work with the Board to ensure a positive experience for the SABA-DC community.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Zain Jinnah - General Director

I would be honored to serve as a General Director for SABA-DC for the 2021 term.

I moved to DC in 2016 to work at White & Case LLP, where I practice international arbitration and litigation on behalf of foreign governments and multinational companies. My pro bono work also focuses on international and comparative law issues in developing and post-conflict countries, as I’m passionate about using international legal and policy frameworks to improve the quality of life for communities across the globe.

I feel that my strong international orientation would make me an excellent additional to SABA. Beyond my practice and extracurricular involvement, I have also worked and studied in several countries – I received my JD from Harvard Law School in the U.S., my MPP from Oxford University in the U.K., and my BA from the University of Calgary in Canada. I would love to contribute my global experience and perspective to SABA’s efforts.

I also have prior bar association leadership experience. From 2018 to 2020, I served on the board of directors of the Capital Area Muslim Bar Assocation – the DMV’s bar association for Muslim lawyers – including as the President of that organization. In that capacity I’ve built relationships with other bar associations both in the DMV area and across the country, and have organized a wide range of professional and social events for the DC legal community.

As a new board member of SABA, I believe that I’ll be able to contribute a fresh approach to SABA’s programming and community development. Some of the areas I’d like to help advance are:

  • Relationship-Building: SABA already does an excellent job of uniting the South Asian bar and working with other affinity bar associations. I feel that these efforts can be taken further by actively developing professional and social relations with South Asian affinity groups in DC representing different professions (let’s be honest – we all get tired of talking to lawyers at some point!).
  • Alternative Careers: Lawyers often contemplate changing course in their careers, whether to focus on different areas of the law or on different professions altogether. I feel that SABA can hold more events focusing on the intersections between the law and other professions, as well as on the varied career trajectories open to attorneys.
  • Mentorship: While SABA has already pioneered some mentorship opportunities, I don’t think there can ever be too much of this!
  • Novel Social Events: SABA is known for great social events, and I’d like to spearhead even more of these. For example, as a foodie and amateur chef, I’d love to organize SABA cooking classes and restaurant nights!

Having benefited greatly from SABA-DC’s many initiatives over the past several years, I would be humbled to have the opportunity to contribute to SABA’s programming. Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy!

Ravi Kambhampaty - General Director

Dear SABA-DC Members,

I am respectfully seeking your vote to serve as a General Director on the board of SABA-DC. I have been a proud SABA-DC t-shirt wearing member since 2016!

I hope to bring my experiences as a dedicated public service attorney to the leadership of this venerable organization. I currently serve as an attorney with the DOJ’s National Security Division, wherein I am counsel to the Division’s Records and FOIA unit and coordinate with various litigating sections of the DOJ as well different agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community on a variety of matters that often involve sensitive national security equities. I am also a Judge Advocate in the U. S. Army Reserves. In my Military capacity, I worked on counter-terrorism cases of certain detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Prosecutor with the DOD’s Office of Military Commissions. As an army Judge Advocate, I previously deployed to Eastern Afghanistan and Bogota, Colombia where I worked on a variety of international legal issues with partners across the U.S. government and with the host nation(s). Prior to joining the government, I was a Senior Staff-Attorney at a small non-profit on Long Island, NY that provided legal services to indigent immigrants.

I hope to bring my passion for public service and my varied experiences to help advance SABA-DC’s critical work in the arena of public interest. I wish to work on public interest initiatives that will encourage the next generation of South Asian attorneys to seek opportunities in public service. I would like to do this by working with the rest of the SABA leadership team to offer meaningful programming about the varied forms of public service one can pursue. I also hope to work on strengthening the mentorship program so more junior attorneys will have a sounding board by which to navigate the complexities of career choices.

I also hope to work on projects that will provide meaningful assistance to members of the South Asian community who may be in need. I hope to work with both the SABA-DC leadership team as well as to coordinate with outside organizations to work in furtherance of the foundational mission of helping our community. As a former non-profit attorney and a current government attorney with extensive inter-agency experience, I am well poised to effectively build and sustain the relationships needed to effectively do this.

Most importantly, I would like to always be available to listen to fellow SABA-DC members and ensure that their interests are heard and brought to the attention of leadership.   I hope to ensure that to the extent practicable, SABA-DC programing meets the professional and social networking needs of all of its members.  In order to do this, I plan to stay engaged with as many events as possible and to seek feedback from fellow members on how such events can be improved.  Thank you for your support!


Our goal is to address the needs and concerns of the South Asian American legal community in Washington, D.C. while providing our members with the knowledge and support necessary to reach their personal and professional goals.

You can find us here:

South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

P.O. Box 65349
Washington, D.C. 20035

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